Linnets and rabbits in suburbia

23 Jun

A lack of time and weather mean my wanderings have been minimal lately so my attention has been more closely tied to home.

Our house is in the middle of a housing estate in Bedlington so I was somewhat surprised recently to look out of the front window to see two linnets gathering nesting materials from my front garden before retiring to a small conifer next door. These are not birds that I really expected to see in the middle of suburbia.

We’ve been in the house a little over a year so its interesting to compare the wildlife in the garden this year to when we moved in. 12 months ago the most common birds in the gardens were greenfinch and goldfinch who were almost ever present, with very sporadic house sparrow, starling and blackbird.

This year I’ve seen less than 5 greenfinch in total (not just my garden) – I fear Trichomonosis may have taken a heavy toll in the area. Goldfinch are still plentiful around the area but not had them in the garden. House sparrows, starlings, blackbirds and dunnock are thriving though – all having good sized broods succesfully making it through the last few weeks despite the attention of neighbourhood cats. Blue tits have suddenly emerged and are now making regular appearances, and I’m delighted to have a song thrush battling the blackbirds for space in the garden. I’m sure as a kid growing up on Teesside we had thrushes in similar numbers to blackies but throughout the time when I’ve owned my own garden – be it in Surrey, York or now up here, this is the first time I’ve had a thrush take up residence.

One visitor I’ve not seen in the neighbourhood yet is a sparrowhawk – a regular back in York – but possibly accounting for the relative abundance of the other species in the garden.

The other real surprise of the last few weeks – looking out of the front window on Saturday morning and seeing a wild rabbit sat in the over-long lawn of our neighbours, munching on the weeds quite unaware of the incongruity of his presence. I have no idea where he came from as the nearest open space likely to hold rabbits is at least half a mile away. Definitely not an escaped pet and not sure where he headed off to – may have to check the undergrowth to see if there are any telltale burrows!

One thing I’ve not properly looked for since moving here is bats – I’ve been accustomed to sitting in my back garden in the early evening and having bats swooping past us in regular patterns sometimes less than a couple of feet away, but no sign as yet since we relocated to Northumberland.

Fingers crossed that I’ve just not been looking properly and that we have some that I’ve just not observed yet.


2 Responses to “Linnets and rabbits in suburbia”

  1. Brian June 24, 2011 at 10:22 pm #

    I remember when the the Song Thrushes used to bring their brood down to bath in the water I had on the ground near the raised bird bath. I’ve not seen that for many a year and rarely have a Song Thrush in the garden at all these days. I’m pleased to say I don’t have to go far to hear their song and believe they have made a slight comeback in recent years although I’m not too sure of the effects of the past couple of winters. Cheers Brian.

    • bedlingtonwanderer July 2, 2011 at 10:05 pm #

      I was pleased to see yesterday that we have not one but two song thrushes now. I was reading today about the possible effects of cat predation on thrushes – certainly Bedlington is the domain of dogs and very few cats so perhaps that’s why they seem to be doing OK here.

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