Saturday, March 31, 2012

Birds in the vineyard

The vineyard out behind our house is full of wildlife. We see rabbits, deer, and the occasional fox. There are also rodents and insects galore, and these attract the hunting birds. We will often see hawks circling above the fields looking for prey. We see pheasants and partridges in the fall and hear the spring cuckoos when they arrive in March. Crows like to sit on the vine posts in the morning, like the one below.

My zoom lens isn't good enough to get a real detailed close-up.

Recently, a mating pair of col-verts (mallard ducks) has been hanging out in the little pond outside our back gate. We also see herons in there from time to time. A few days ago, I saw this unusually bright yellow bird (below) among the vines. I've tried to identify it with my bird books, but I'm having trouble finding a close match. It looks like it might be some variety of finch, given its body size and shape.

Not the best shot; the bird would only let me get so close before flitting off to another post.

We see finches all the time around the house and garden. Chaffinches and goldfinches mostly. I don't remember seeing a bird like this one around the house. Maybe it's the breeding color of a more familiar bird? Any help from you birders out there would be appreciated.


  1. It looks like a male Yellowhammer to me - I don't think anything else like it gets that yellow.

  2. We had a pair of these little birds in our garden in Derbyshire this morning. I looked them up in my bird book and discovered they are yellowhammers - I don't think we have had them here before.

  3. Readers are better than bird books I see ;) You get quite an assortment of birds coming through the vineyard.

  4. It made me think of a meadowlark. But I don't think they have them in Europe, and the skylark is not in the same family at all. I'm not help!

  5. Une question, si'l vous plait? Comment diton "did you hear me" en Français?

  6. susan, thanks. That does seem to be the closest match.

    jean, I think this is the first time I noticed them, too.

    evelyn, I agree! And it is fun to notice them and try to figure out what they are called.

    kristi, that's ok! Thanks to susan and jean, I think we figured it out.

    judy, :)

    starman, (est-ce que) vous m'avez entendu ? or (est-ce que) tu m'as entendu ?

  7. Way back in my childhood, I was taught a whole variety of mnemonics for birdsong, and the yellowhammer (not that I'd ever be likely to see one in London, but you never know) is supposed to call "A little bit of bread and NO cheese". But I don't know what a French yellowhammer would say ("Quoi? Pas de fromage? Incroyable!")


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