Away from home – some English garden birds

While I’m here exploring southern England, John Beer sends regular messages from his house and garden near Turrialba. At the same time, the third of our regular  birding trio, Larry Waddell, sends news from Minnesota of recent arrivals from the south. Here’s the English part of this trilogy.

Rio Vereh (26)

Here we are, together at Rio Vereh, Costa Rica, with Milena Beer unfortunately boxed in between Larry and John

This first post presents 4 common but very pretty British birds that I see every day here in Somerset; photos were taken by John in Wales. Males and females of these species are identical.

Tit, Blue, Wales (3)

Blue Tit (Parus caeruleus)

The Blue Tit is  impossible to miss in English gardens and is equally well-known throughout most of Western Europe. It is one of 6 common paridae found in Britain. I remember how in harsh winters in Yorkshire this species would peck open the tops of milk bottles on the doorstep to get at the cream. After the House Sparrow (Passer domesticus), the Starling (Sturnus vulgaris), the Robin (Erithacus rubecula) and the Blackbird (Turdus merula) it is perhaps the best-known English bird. It is  often accompanied by the equally common but larger Great Tit (Parus major):

Tit, Great, Wales (2)

Great Tit feeding on peanuts at a feeder; English feeders are remarkably well stocked and organised

Much less common is the European version of North America’s chickadees, the Coal Tit (Parus ater):

Tit, Coal, Wales

The Coal Tit is at least as small as the Blue Tit but lacks the former’s bright colours

Another very typical bird of the English countryside, though of late much reduced in numbers, is the modestly attired Hedgesparrow or Dunnock (Prunella modularis):

Dunnock, Burrington (3)

Hedgesparrow at Burrington, Devon

I found this bird very easily in Sussex, but here in Somerset it seems to be much less in evidence. My next post will feature John’s and Larry’s news from Costa Rica and Minnesota respectively.

3 thoughts on “Away from home – some English garden birds

  1. What do you mean unfortunately? I’d say Milena is extremely lucky to be between two such charming fellows! Those are pretty birds, I must admit, I’ve never seen them in person. Good to see the blog rolling again.


  2. Hello, PAUL, from Flagstaff, Arizona, where we recently arrived in our RV. Our campground host reported a peregrine falcon atop one of the tall ponderosa pines. Looking forward to more posts from Sussex.


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