Daily blog from Gilling East, Sketching outside

April 8th- glorious greenfinches

The UK greenfinch population has suffered a nationwide decline in recent years, but here in Gilling East they seem to be making a welcome comeback. Their beautiful song is almost continuous at the moment. It is such an exotic sound, with a variety of notes, some rich and fluty, others sounding metallic. Sometimes the song is perfomed during a display flight. The male flies at about 50 feet on an erratic path, wings flapped in a clockwork-like motion. The displaying male is often followed quite closely by a female. We have three or four singing males around the garden and consequently, surround sound greenfinch. I suspect in future years the song of the greenfinch will remind me of this exceptional time.

It is an interesting bird to paint. The male has a mix of green and grey plumage which is often admixed on head and breast. But the recent decline has helped me to see this species in a new light. A really beautiful and hopefully, increasingly common garden bird.

The female blue tit accelerated her nest building today with copious amounts of moss. Again, building was restricted to the first half of the morning, with another short burst in the evening. Another common garden bird, so easily overlooked. I have felt privileged to watch them nesting in a box on my studio; more than I can remember since my childhood, when the thrill of seeing them choose our nest box was a highlight of Spring.

Orange tip, brimstone and small tortoiseshells passed through the garden today and a bee-fly returned. We had visits from the gingery Bombus pascuorum bumble bee and mining bees.

The sand martins from a small nearby colony drifted across our garden at times but swallows and house martins are still to arrive.

Evening update 7.35pm. Ten redwings have just flown West over the garden.


1 thought on “April 8th- glorious greenfinches”

  1. I am SO enjoying your emails so thank you for finding the time to send them during this strange time.

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