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The wood pigeon is a regular (almost too regular) visitor to my garden, but last week I saw a different kind of pigeon. Rather than assume it was a feral pigeon I took a look at the RSPB bird identifier and learnt something new… there is such a thing as a stock dove. I had never before come across a stock dove – I was only familiar with turtle dove and collared dove, but I’m pretty sure this is one…

Any dove experts care to confirm?

IMG_4627 copy

Last week I looked up from my desk to see a nuthatch on our bird feeder.

I have always liked the nuthatch and the way it resembles a woodpecker with it’s sleek shape, and it’s tendency to feed upside down. I didn’t expect we would see one in the garden!

I managed to grab this blurry photo on my phone through the binoculars!


This photo (not mine!) does it more justice…

Photo by Paweł Kuźniar

I am too excited! On Sunday we will be meeting Lola – the new addition to our family! Lola is 10 month old terrier-cross from Many Tears Animal Rescue and we cannot wait to meet her!



When I was a child, I remember regularly asking my parents “Can we get a dog?” and them responding “You can get a dog when you have your own house”.  Well, the time has come.

Friends and family encouraged use to get a rescue dog, and many times I have trawled the Dogs Trust website, or the Many Tears Facebook page, but so often they recommend rehousing with other dogs (which we don’t have).

But then I saw Lola. Previously known as Lushious (spelt incorrectly) her foster carer has fortunately renamed her Lola. Since she’s still a puppy and doesn’t seem to have had a troubled past (as so many dogs from Many Tears have) they were happy to re-home her with us.

There has been quite a process to secure her, including an online application, a telephone call, a chat with her foster carer and a home visit, but the staff and volunteers at Many Tears do such a great job, and have all been so helpful.

Finally on Sunday we get to go and meet her, and hopefully take her home! I feel like an excited child!

We may find that there are many more blog posts about Lola in the future…

The latest addition to the list of birds in my garden is the Goldcrest. At least, i’m 90% sure it is!

Goldcrest © Francis C. Franklin

Goldcrest © Francis C. Franklin

Two very small, chirping birds passed through the garden yesterday, flitting through the lower branches of my fruit trees as I was walking down the garden path.

They were definitely wren-sized, but i’ve seen plenty of wrens before and am pretty sure I would recognise it with it’s cocked tail.

I’ve also seen a good few goldcrests before and I’m pretty sure I glimpsed the gold crest on top of it’s head (you’d never guess where it got its name!).

I just wish i’d had a few seconds longer, or a few footsteps nearer to be 100% sure.

Hopefully it will re-visit soon and reaffirm it’s place on the list!

Now we’re at 24 species:

  1. Robin
  2. Wren
  3. Dunnock
  4. House Sparrow
  5. Blue Tit
  6. Great Tit
  7. Coal Tit
  8. Long-tailed Tit
  9. Blackbird
  10. Starling
  11. Goldfinch
  12. Chaffinch
  13. Greenfinch
  14. Blackcap
  15. Chiffchaff
  16. Willow Warbler
  17. Bullfinch
  18. Great Spotted Woodpecker
  19. Magpie
  20. Wood Pigeon
  21. Jackdaw
  22. Sparrowhawk
  23. Jay
  24. Goldcrest


It’s been a while since I picked up a pencil and drew something. But that changed this week… I bought a new sketchbook and started drawing.

And i’m enjoying it (and am quite pleased/surprised with the results).

Drawing of a Starling

My attempt at a Starling

I used to love art at school, and I almost chose it at A-level after doing it at GCSE. But I didn’t. And when I didn’t have to draw, I stopped choosing to draw.

It’s always been something that I wished I’d continued (or wished i’d return to) and i’m pleased that i’ve started, and i’m hoping to continue!

It’s a great way to relax and reflect on the things that I enjoy. You will notice that birds feature quite prominently.

This week's drawings

This week’s drawings

I’m still experimenting with different styles, and i’m hoping to try out a lot more (i’m sure with mixed results!).

I’ve always been a bird-lover.

As a child, my parents took me on lots of walks with the binoculars and the bird book. I didn’t realise at the time that I was learning so much, and I am now quite proud of my ability to tell a Blackbird from a Blackcap.

I get a lot of enjoyment from seeing my feathered-friends in the garden, and whilst as a teenager I used to hide my bird knowledge, I am now happy to embrace and share it with others.

I’m so lucky that we have a lot of bird visitors to our garden in Sutton Coldfield. By my reckoning, we’ve had over 20 different species of bird in our back garden since we moved in at the start of February 2015.

Firstly, the usual garden suspects – the Robin, Wren, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, and Starling.

A pair of Goldfinches

A pair of Goldfinches

Next up, the slightly less usual suspects… The Goldfinches are a daily visitor to our nyger seed feeders – one day I counted as many as 11. We’ve also had the Chaffinch, Greenfinches and a Blackcap. Just today, I was sat at the top of the garden beneath our blossom trees and the Blackcap was just metres over-head, checking out the flowers for insects.

The Chiffchaff and the Willow Warbler are the next on the list. The Chiffchaff (recognisable by it’s call) has been spotted once, but it’s hard to distinguish from some of the less common warblers. So when I saw what I assumed was a Chiffchaff but without any chiffing or chaffing I had to look it up online. I’m pretty sure it was the Willow Warbler.

Next up, my best spots – the Bullfinch and the Great Spotted Woodpecker. The bold and bright Bullfinch visited the garden on 24th March. I assumed it was a one-off, but I have seen it a couple more times since, along with the female (recognisable from it’s more muted colours). The male recently visited the bird feeders whilst we were pottering around in the garden. Obviously not quite as shy as I thought.

And perhaps the visitor who bought the most excitement – the Great Spotted Woodpecker. On Easter Sunday (5th April), my parents were visiting for dinner, and Mom spotted it enjoying it’s Sunday lunch on the fat ball feeder. It’s visited a couple more times since and one day visited three times for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Finally, the bigger birds – the Magpie, Wood Pigeon and Jackdaws. Our house has three chimneys, and two of them have Jackdaws nests (as do many of the other chimneys in the road)! I’ve also seen a male Sparrowhawk sitting on the garden fence – as beautiful as he is, I hope he’s not a regular visitor!

Last but not least, one of my favourite birds – the Buzzard. There’s a nature reserve not far away so we often see up to three Buzzards circling high above the garden. And sometimes they are much lower in the sky, at which point the Jackdaws mob them and chase them from their territory.

I think that makes 22 in total. I haven’t included the Buzzard in my bird count since it’s not technically in my garden. Maybe one day it will be (but I doubt it).