A starling invasion

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s walk home from Street. I like this pastoral scene a lot. There is a river running through it.

We had a cold, damp, windy day with very little or nothing to be said in its defence. We walked to church under umbrellas, and found ourselves part of a tiny choir. There was a good congregation in attendance as it was a christening service so it was a double pity that the choir was so small and the hymn singing was bedevilled by technical hiccups in the screens used to display the words to the congregations, a remnant of Covid restrictions when hymn books were banned.

On the plus side, it had stopped raining when as we walked home.

After a cup of coffee, I prepared mince and vegetables for the slow cooker, and then looked at the birds but only found a couple of sparrow to watch . . .

. . . so I went out to prospect for new growth in the garden.

A second oriental poppy, the first rose of the year, new rhododendron flowers and another blue aquilegia were to be found . . .

. . . along with increased productivity from peony, rhododendron, potentilla and Veronica.

For me the star of the day was this azalea . . .

. . . but it was damp, so I didn’t stay out long.

There are no tadpoles in our pond but I saw some tadpoles in the dam before I went back in and practised songs for the Carlisle Choir.

When I had another look at the birds after lunch, siskins and redpolls had turned up.

They hadn’t quite got the idea of living in harmony with each other.

The siskins and redpoll did not stop long, as young starlings arrived . . .

. . . and they in turn left to make room for an adult . . .

. . . with increasingly heavy family responsibilities.

My heart bled for the harassed parent, popping up and down from the feeder to feed the endlessly demanding youngsters.

I did think of going for a short walk before the afternoon choir, but the weather was not encouraging. It was raining as we drove down to Carlisle, so at least we weren’t missing a good cycling opportunity while we were singing.

The choir practice was well attended. It was hard work, with good concentration needed throughout, but it went well, and was as satisfactory as a practice in an unsuitable venue can be.

It had stopped raining as we drove home.

We did think of an evening outing in the improved weather, but by the time that we had enjoyed the slow cooked mince and watched another starling family saga . . .

. . . the moment had passed, and we sat down to watch Countryfile and the highlights of today’s stage of the Giro instead.

We are still waiting for the repairs to the church organ to be completed. When they are finished and we are back in the choir loft, Sundays will be better days, regardless of the weather.

The flying bird of the day is one of the redpolls, seen in the poor morning light before the arrival of the starlings.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “A starling invasion

  1. I particularly liked the azalea picture. To me, the low contrast lighting on an overcast day seems to bring out the colors better.

    I was interested in your starling invasion, and the pictures of dutiful parents caring for their offspring. My neighbor, who passed away a few years ago, and had been an avid bird watcher his entire life, tells me he remembers when starlings first arrived in our area, in the late 1930’s. According to him, he’d never seen one before. And in subsequent years, more and more came. Wikipedia confirms his account, reporting that it is native to Europe, but is an introduced species in North America.

    1. So I believe. We seem to have suffered quite a reduction in our local starling numbers here. We used to see thousands in the winter but we hardly saw any this year.

  2. It is as well that we humans mostly have one child at a time – I cannot imagine the stress of having to deal with so many wide open beaks at a time!

  3. Well done that parent! I was feeling sorry for an adult feeding just two offspring in my own garden the other day, but five! At least they have our help with supplies…

      1. I’ll refrain from describing the X-rated behaviour I observed from my kitchen window, a couple of dunnocks the other day, but I read they are well-known for it.

  4. Lots of lovely colourful flowers in your garden to brighten a dark and damp day. The starling parent needs a handful of extra special seed as a reward for feeding its many offspring- great photos of the hungry hordes!

  5. The starling parents look a bit worn out with all those hungry youngsters. Those youngsters can certainly open a beak wide! I once read a report of a cardinal feeding a large goldfish in pond. The fish would swim to the edge and open its mouth wide, and the cardinal would swoop down and pop some food in.

    Those siskins and repolls put on a good show. πŸ™‚

  6. Then again, I particularly liked your flying bird of the day… the graceful sweep of wing, the peaceful, calm expression before the arrival of the starlings and their endlessly demanding youngsters… Perhaps we could suggest a bit of “family planning”? 😏

  7. That redpoll in flight is dramatic with his red cal to the fore. I don’t believe we have had a day when it’s rained throughout. Usually the sun has appeared for a good while. I saw a fox on Sunday, deciding whether or not to cross the road up at Onllwyn. It made a welcome change from seeing dead cubs on the roadside. Though this specimen was a skinny, scruffy individual.p
    Probably run ragged feeding his/her cubs like that starling and his/her fledglings. It’s really tough out there for wildlife today.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: