As we were thawing out over coffee yesterday we became aware that dozens of birds were feeding in the alders outside the front door, where we have hung a large dried sunflower head and a fat-ball feeder. As well as the usual bluetits, great tits, goldfinches, greenfinches and robin, there were some round, plump, bright greenish-yellow stripy small birds wearing black berets. They foraged over the alder seed heads, never staying in the same place for long.
|Female siskin - well stripy|
Siskins (Tarin des Aulnes, carduelis spinus) had come to visit us again. We blogged about them in 2010 here, here,(with pictures) in 2011, here and here in 2013, but we missed them last winter, when it was mild all the time. I make no excuses for doing another post about them.
|Acrobats on the alder - male siskins|
They cling, bobbing up and down, to the skinniest twigs to pick out the alder seeds, and twist themselves into knots to get at their favourite food. Their name in French means "Alder Finch".
Today they came back, and explored the cherry tree and the willows as well as the alders. In the sunlight they looked even prettier. The males were in one group and the females in another, in different trees.
|female siskin - one of my favourite photos|
|Male siskin - bright colours aren't everything you know!|
|Now let me see....|
|I know there's a seed in there|
|Alder seed on its way down|
Always they were in the company of other birds, mainly goldfinches and sparrows.
|Goldfinch selecting an alder seed|
|Goldfinch - slightly unusual view, of the back of the neck|
|My picture of the day. Just an ordinary sparrow.|