Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 7 April 2014

Tree Following With Lucy: April


My photo is a little out of synch with Lucy's Tree Following day as I take mine on the 23rd of the month, the day anniversary of when the rest of the tree came crashing down in our garden last December. However, I went out in the rain to inspect my ash tree yesterday and can confirm nothing's changed in the intervening time. Whether the same can be said for April/May remains to be seen.

This time Mr and Mrs pigeon have indeed paired up for the season as I thought they might last month. It's unusual to see them acting as kind of bookends on the tree as they're usually much closer. We've observed pigeon pairs being quite devoted to each other and these two are proving to be no different.

The tree's also been host to some rare visitors to our garden since last month. We don't usually see bullfinches,* but we've had four of them parading around the garden lately - one proud and very fat male plus 3 females. I've tried to find out if bullfinch males have more than one mate, but to no avail. I suspect he was sussing out his 3, to see which one finally took his fancy.

Quite a few of the trees in our neighbourhood are sporting their first of their spring green fuzziness this week. My ash is still resolutely in winter mode; it's large black buds are yet to burst free and I need to check its progress for the annual tree race - my ash versus the oak up at the allotment. More on that next month.

* = unlike my dear friend Threadspider when she lived at the top of the hill - I was convinced she had our share of them as well as her own.

23 comments:

  1. Lucky you having bullfinches, they're so pretty. It's so nice to see the trees starting to come alive at this time of year. I especially like those first buds on new bare root plants. They're not just dead sticks, hurray!

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    1. Hi CJ, yes I always have a fear I've bought a bundle of sticks when I buy bare rooted plants. In fact I always manage to convince myself all my plants have died over the winter and I'm pathetically grateful when they stir back into life at this time of the year :)

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  2. We get occasional bullfinches which fortunately seem to stay around the bird table rather than fruit trees.

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    1. It surprised me Sue - we have plenty of fruit trees around here, yet it was the ash tree plus the birch at the bottom of the garden which were getting all their attention. I even had a couple of nectarines in flower at the time, but they left them well alone.

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  3. I'm disappointed to read you think he was merely checking out the talent. I'd built up an image of a proud-chested bullfinch, possibly wearing a waistcoat, marching round with a harem in tow.

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    1. Well Lucy, that's exactly how he looked! It's why I tried to find out if bullfinches have more than one mate. He was puffing his chest out like mad and all the females were all paying him a lot of attention!

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  4. Oh lucky you. Bullfinches are some of my favourite birds. In winter they often seem to hang out in groups, one male and several females, or lots of males and even more females. Once they start choosing a partner they only partner with one bird and sticks with that one during mating and bringing up the young. Whether they actually stay with the same partner year after year is not quite proven yet.

    Helle (Helen)

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    1. Excellent information Helle, thank you :-)

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  5. Nice post. Lucky indeed, I've never seen any bullfinches. Flighty xx

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    1. It's a privilege having them in the garden :-)

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  6. All the birds are pairing up just now, I'm sure your bullfinch male will have made his decision by now!

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  7. We have bullfinches regularly in the garden. I eventually dug up a forsythia as they stripped all the flower buds every year, then they stripped my amelanchier, but since then, they come for the sunflower hearts that they find on the bird table and the amelanchier is left alone thank goodness! As for the pigeons, He just won't leave Her alone, poor thing!

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    1. Our pigeon pair are exactly the same Pauline

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  8. Well let's hope your oak will be out before your ash so that we will only get a splash.
    I haven't seen bullfinches here for ages. Lucky you.

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    1. Wel, the ash was out before the oak, so I'll be seeing if the saying's true...

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  9. Lovely photo of lovely birds, I guess the tree is just taking its time to unfurl the leaves.

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  10. No growth on the tree I'm following either, still a bit to early in my part of the world. Nice to see bullfinches, hope they stay around.

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    1. Lots of bird activity lately Linda, but no bullfinches. I'm sure they'll be back :-)

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  11. I've not seen any bullfinches here so far, but then again I don't put out bird feed - I envy you the sight, and rather like the thought that the three females might turn up their beaks at the male and look for someone better, he sounds a tad arrogant ;-) Interesting that elms come in to leaf late, I am still learning my way round the sequence in this garden, the sycamores are just starting to leaf up, the willows are well under way, but the beeches are still bare.

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    1. I don't put out bird feed either Janet because we've had such problems with the local squirrel population. We're lucky in that out garden borders on public land with plenty of trees + the nearby stream has plenty of trees along it. We seem to be an extension of the resultant wildlife corridor :) We've had owls hooting lately...

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    2. How magical, only thing better than hearing owls is seeing them, with that wonderful near-silent glide. I am hoping for bats this year.

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