A fleeting visitor

Yellow Hammer

Last night we had a different kind of snow, and wakened this morning to about six inches of what looks for all the world like icing sugar.  Not the large white fluffy flakes of a couple of weeks ago.  In fact when I looked out this morning it was like a sand storm – only it was snow!

For the birds another spell of hard work to find food so I raided the local shop of sunflower seeds and poured them into two nets and set them on a small tree in the garden.  Then spent most of the afternoon being distracted by the activity.

Watched blue tits and great tits enjoy a feast – giving each other room, and taking turn at swinging on the net, then going back a little to hold the seed between their feet and enjoy.  Some chaffinches joined in fluctuating between perching on the tree and scuttering around in the snow picking up the sunflower seeds that were falling from the net.

Whilst watching this melee I was struck by the yellow hammer that arrived – its plume in full vibrant yellow and chestnut.  It poised on the tree for no more than half a minute, then moved to the wire and flew off to some unknown destination.  I was surprised to discover that a bird which was plentiful in my childhood is now on the RSPB red list – so I’m delighted to have seen one this afternoon – even if it did not stay to eat!

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