The Yellow Hammers
The Yellow Hammers
This cold snap has caught us all out, (Jan 2010) as it continues on and on, and the birds and animals are suffering too, with deep snow covering most of the country, but Bute is at hand to help them out. How? read on.
Bute had a bit of snow which did not last long,, then it thawed out a wee bit then it froze solid , but with increasing sunshine many of the fields are clear, showing up green from high up where the birds that are looking desperately for food can spot them.
Not just our local birds or the ones that appear here every winter, but ones that should not be here at all, they should many many miles away enjoying warmer climes, but their warmer climes are covered with the white stuff,so they can't feed, so they head up high and wander about looking for the green stuff, which they found on Bute, and even better, as the ground is hard, the farmers can now get onto their fields that until recently were sodden with the heavy rain, but now can attack their piles of dung that have been stockpiled there. Load onto the dung spreader and spread it over the fields, and that dung which has laid there for months is full of food like worms etc that birds like. It will supplement the loss of earthworms to the birds that will now be deep in the ground away from the frozen surface
Now there are birds that don't like the smell of dung or slurry, so they land on stubble fields and feed there, or go for the berries.
Birds that I have seen since the New Year started are,
Yellowhammers, which is now even rare to see them in the Summertime never mind just now, and I have seen them near the Straad and at Kingarth and also got photo's of them.
I have also seen 58 Golden plovers which are even more rarer that the Yellowhammers. And Woodcock, Reed buntings, Skylarks,80, and one birder saw 350 in one field , and a big influx of Lapwings, not our usual ones that are here all the time in flocks but sometimes individuals and up to about 20, hardly a field without at least one, plus Fieldfares, Redwings, Mistle Thrushes, hundreds of Chaffinches, the list goes' on and hopefully we may see many more rarities here like the Waxwing.
Some of those that I have mentioned are here every year , but not in the amounts that are here at the moment.
Like you I don't want this harsh weather to last and last, but while it is here I and other bird-watchers will make the most of it.
And why are our fields clear of snow? Maybe it is because of Bute's other name.
“The Maderia of Scotland”
First Published in the Buteman 2010.