Monday, 24th October 2005

nuthatchA dull morning with rain from the east leaving silver drops all over the patio windows but amongst the usual crowd on the bird feeders - goldfinches and great, willow, coal and blue tits - there's a new species: a nuthatch.

nuthatchIt's slaty grey on the back, pinky buff beneath, and it has a neat black eye-stripe. It reminds me of a small woodpecker in its wedge-shaped silhouette, its chisel-shaped dagger of a bill and the way moves, both while perching and in its dipping, direct flight-path.

wood pigeonIt flies back and forth at intervals for much of the day to the sunflower hearts on the tray attached to the bird feeder. I don't normally put anything on the tray because the wood pigeon used to come and fill its crop but I'm going to keep it stocked up now as I'd love to have this dapper bird as a regular visitor.

This is the first time we've seen a nuthatch in the garden and in twenty odd years I remember seeing the species in the nearby wood only once, although we have seen them probing crevices in the bark of the boughs and trunks of the mature trees in local parks, such as at Thornhill. Next Page

Richard Bell,