Monday 22 March 2021

Brambling and Siskin - and other colourful garden birds

10th March - like many, Andy M has been working from home during lockdown, and is lucky enough to have a good view of the birds coming and going in his garden. 

Despite the somewhat drab weather, a colourful selection of birds were seen during the week, including a male Brambling - a more unusual finch that visits the UK during the winter. In this case, it appeared to be part of a mixed flock of mainly Chaffinch under the feeders. The male Brambling is similar to a Chaffinch, but has a streaked brown back, and a characteristic rufous-orange shoulder patch. The grey head, sometimes has the first patchy signs of the black head of its summer plumage showing through.

Another winter finch, the Siskin, has also started appearing on feeders in increasing numbers across the village in the last week or two. The male Siskin is a small, but strikingly-coloured finch, with a smart black cap, bright yellow-green cheeks and rump, a green streaked back, contrasting black and yellow wing pattern, and an obviously forked tail.

A pair of Red-legged Partridge also appeared under the feeders, along with a pair of male Reed Bunting, both being unusual visitors to Andy's garden.

Male Brambling (far right), similar to the male Chaffinch (centre), 
but with a mottled back and rufous orange shoulder patch

Male Brambling (centre), with Chaffinch (left and right), and Greenfinch (far left)

Male Brambling (facing away centre), with Chaffinch and Greenfinch

And here come the Red-legged Partridge, sneaking down the garden towards the feeders

Red-legged Partridge - an unusual visitor to Andy's garden

Red-legged Partridge 

The small but strikingly colourful male Siskin (left), and a Goldfinch

Male Siskin showing the characteristic yellowy-green
streaked back, strongly yellow cheeks and rump, and 
pronounced black and yellow wing markings

Two male Reed Bunting - note the chestnut-streaked back, dark head and 
characteristic white neck ring and moustache

Male Reed Bunting


No comments:

The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here:>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (