They think it is Spring…

We have been having very cold temperatures here recently, but the birds seem to think it is spring.  Taking the dog for his walk at lunchtime, the sun was shining and the noise from the bushes and shore was deafening!  In the bushes, loads of starlings and SBJs were singing and squabbling fit to burst – hundreds of them over a 50 metre stretch – while on the shore a selection of waders, including a dozen Red Shanks, enjoyed rich pickings.  On the water a variety of gulls came and went, and the first Eider ducks of the season were in evidence.

We have two populations of birds here: those who stay all year and those who come for a season, either summer or winter.  And some species have populations which do both, like the Oyster Catcher.  These are waders, with black and white plumage – and bright red bill, legs and feet.  And I mean BRIGHT RED!

They breed here in the summer and most then disappear in the autumn.  However, some stay on all winter.  I am always amused when the summer migrants come back.  The ones who have been here all year get together and moan about the upstarts.  There is no other way to describe it.  Just like a group of old men moaning about some group of lads daring to come into their patch.

At present the birds are mainly feeding and preening.  Later on we get nothing but sex and violence.  But it is still a bit cold for that.

I have added a short video of a couple of Oyster Catchers in the bay to You Tube (I am northernlace there too!).  You can see the ice on the shore – that is salt water.  It was taken at the end of Front Road, outside what was The Galley for those of you who know the place…

Re-reading, I should perhaps mention for those not in the UK that ‘SBJ’ stands for Small Brown Jobs – the terms used by ornithologists for those small brown birds it is difficult to identify.  Here it includes sparrows, chaffinches, warblers of various types and others.


7 thoughts on “They think it is Spring…

  1. I always thought it was ‘LBJ’s not ‘SBJ’s – as in little brown jobs. Pity you translated it – it would have been intersting to see how many people wanted to know.

    The air’s changed round here – there’s very little actual green stuff growing freshly, apart from snowdrop and the odd beginning daffodil-type-thing – but the birds know the season’s changed and the air is warmer and smells different.

    It’s been a long winter, but it was lovely on the river this afternoon. Nearly warm!

  2. Mushroomers use similar terminology – LBMs are “little brown mushrooms”, mostly not edible and only distinguished by microscopic details of spores.

  3. Yours must be the Yorkshire dilalect form – or mine is the Orkney form!!

    It isn’t much warmer here and there are no other signs of spring. But here gardening is always about 4 weeks behind you and 6 weeks behind the south of England – if a seed packet says sow in late February, here we sow in mid April!


  4. I love to see your wildlife pictures…you live in an incredible place! I do hope that Spring is here, too!

  5. I saw robins (NA robins) both male and female , this weekend. Courting will commence soon. And the starlings are absolutely deafening in the creekbed trees near the office.

    They are driven out periodically by the crows (ravens) that nest on our building’s roof. We have a mated pair that nests there every year. I saw both of them this morning rummaging for sticks in the pile of ice downed twigs in the little park area between the office parking and the bank. Spring’s not here, but it’s on the way!

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