Country corner

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Last week, Helen Kirkness of Roslin provided a fine picture of siskins at her feeders.

This week, she sends us a fine picture of a very handsome male brambling - by no means a common garden bird.

I’ll let Helen take up the story...

“The siskins are quite peaceable, unlike the bramblings that are constantly squabbling over the best slot on the sunflower feeder. I had only seen a brambling once before (early spring three years ago) and had to look it up as I wanted to know what that ‘funny looking chaffinch’ was.

“With this winter being so bad so early, we’ve had about six to eight bramblings coming to the sunflower hearts since December.

“Their markings are quite varied and some are so distinctive, there are a couple of individual birds that I’m convinced I can recognise.”

Perhaps Helen’s success is down to the location and quality of food.

“Here at Roslin, we’ve been putting out a variety of seeds, nuts and fat peckers for several years and have been rewarded with an increased number and variety of birds coming to the feeders,” she adds.

“In fact we now have so many that a sparrowhawk visits quite regularly!”

Of course, winter visitors like siskin and brambling are now due to set off back to their mainly Scandinavian breeding grounds.

Some will already have left, though naturally, breeding in northern lands begins later than it does here.

For that reason, you may still be lucky with either species pitching in to refuel at your feeders during their travels.

I’m sure you will all agree, seeing Helen’s pictures, they are two species worth watching out for.

Thank you, Helen.

More Country Corner in this week’s Advertiser