One of the best things about birdwatching is that you can do it "anytime, anyplace, anywhere". The garden therefore, is always a great spot for a bit of "birding therapy".
As I've mentioned before, I've been actively recording the birds in my garden as part of the BTO's Garden Birdwatch Scheme since 1999. As such it was that this morning I was watching the antics of the local Woodpigeons, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Dunnocks, Robin (back down to single figures, now the cold weather has gone), Chaffinches, Collared Doves etc when I spotted an old friend, the white Blackbird first seen back in September and written about in this blog on 27th December. After a period of about 2 weeks with no sign of him, he's suddenly reappeared in the garden, as bossy and argumentative as ever!
This sighting, however, was totally overshadowed, when I looked up into the trees to see a gorgeous male BRAMBLING. This species is usually recorded once or twice a year in the garden, but more often than not in late March/early April when birds are presumably on the move back north. As such, this record is very early, but nevertheless, very pleasing and will find its way into both the Garden Birdwatch archives as well as the Bird Atlas. Note the white rump which can just be seen between the wings and the orange "shoulder", which help seperate it from the much more common Chaffinch. Just managed to grab a quick, pretty awful, photo before it disappeared.
As evidence that Spring is just around the corner, a pair of Magpies, are busy rebuilding last year's nest in the tree at the bottom of the garden. I know they're not everyone's favourite, but I say "live and let live".