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BS: bull finches and spring

greg stephens 18 Mar 04 - 04:09 AM
The Shambles 18 Mar 04 - 04:41 AM
The Shambles 18 Mar 04 - 04:52 AM
greg stephens 18 Mar 04 - 05:02 AM
GUEST,Jon 18 Mar 04 - 05:29 AM
open mike 18 Mar 04 - 05:45 AM
greg stephens 18 Mar 04 - 05:53 AM
Janie 18 Mar 04 - 08:35 AM
Bobert 18 Mar 04 - 09:09 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 18 Mar 04 - 09:32 AM
Bobert 18 Mar 04 - 09:39 AM
GUEST,MMario 18 Mar 04 - 09:40 AM
Janie 18 Mar 04 - 09:44 AM
The Shambles 18 Mar 04 - 10:38 AM
The Shambles 18 Mar 04 - 01:23 PM
GUEST,Peter from Essex 18 Mar 04 - 07:38 PM
greg stephens 19 Mar 04 - 04:05 AM
Jerry Rasmussen 19 Mar 04 - 07:58 AM
Flash Company 19 Mar 04 - 09:30 AM
Bobert 19 Mar 04 - 09:38 AM
Flash Company 19 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM
Janie 19 Mar 04 - 10:34 AM
greg stephens 22 Feb 05 - 03:05 PM
Ebbie 22 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM
Grab 23 Feb 05 - 06:38 AM
Cats at Work 23 Feb 05 - 06:58 AM
burntstump 23 Feb 05 - 07:09 AM
open mike 23 Feb 05 - 09:17 PM
EBarnacle 24 Feb 05 - 09:49 AM
ard mhacha 24 Feb 05 - 01:25 PM
Pauline L 25 Feb 05 - 12:44 PM
Pauline L 25 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM
greg stephens 26 Feb 05 - 12:58 PM
Pauline L 27 Feb 05 - 12:15 AM
Cats 27 Feb 05 - 02:43 AM
burntstump 27 Feb 05 - 04:50 AM
Raptor 27 Feb 05 - 08:51 PM
Pauline L 28 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM
burntstump 28 Feb 05 - 03:25 PM

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Subject: BS: bull finches and spring
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 04:09 AM

The year before last I had the pleasure of going to America, visiting Bobert near Harpers Ferry and seeing bright red cardinal birds for the first time. Well,` we have nothing quite as vivid here in more understated Stoke-on-Trent, England. But we do have bull-finches.They provide the finest colour display I know of in our part of the world, and it's happening right now as I look out of the window. We have a couple of damson trees, and another tree that produces small yellow plums. Very small numbers of plums, and I believe the reason the number is so small is bullfinches who destroy the buds.
   They are at it now,the trees are a mass of gleaming white blossom glowing in the sun, and here and there are the brilliant colours of the breasts of the bullfinches as they chomp away. I cant think what is a good word for the colour, its not really a pink and its not really a crimson. Anyway, it's bullfinch colour, and I am glad to forego a few plums for this wonderful sight.
    So, how is spring developing where you are?


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 04:41 AM

A bit more about our Bullfinch. The illustration does not do the bird justice however.

http://www.birdsofbritain.co.uk/bird-guide/bullfinch.htm

I wonder if there is such a thing as a Bull Shit Finch and what it would look like?

Things here on the South Coast of the UK are well ahead of schedule. Yesterday there appeared to be a small fall of Willow Warblers. Tiny things feeding-up in my garden, after crossing (at night) the English Channel, Spain and the Sahara Desert!


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 04:52 AM

Some Bullfinch photos - but still, I think, not really showing the subtle colours that Greg admires so.

http://www.digital-nature-photography.com/nature/voegel/bullfinch-photos.php


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 05:02 AM

Thanks a lot, Shambles, that shows what I'm talking about to those who dont know the bird. The photos dont quite capture the colour as you say. particular as i was watching them surrounded by this glowing mass of white blossom, which really brought out the red.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: GUEST,Jon
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 05:29 AM

I've not seen a bull finch but have seen plenty of other birds including a tree creeper - a bird I'd not seen before. Pip did spot a green woodpecker but I missed that. I was pleased to see a pair of thrushes the other day - don't see many of them for some reason. Most common sights in this garden are blue tits, long tailed tits, a robin, Mr and Mrs blackbird and at least one wren... and pigeons. I'm not sure if they are still around but Pip did make friends with a pair of pheasants who she gave some hen corn or bird seed to.

Looking forward to later in the year and Salthouse. I particurarly love giving the swans and thier offspring a bit of bread.

Tree wise. We have an apricot tree in full blossom but it is (on reflection) in a stupid position. Every year (all 4 or 5) winds get up and the blossom gets blown off. We are cosidering trying to find a means of protecting it at the moment.

If you are interested in what's happening in our garden in North Norfolk, Pip generally posts to a "What's blooming" thread and other gardening related threads at The Annexe as things develop.

Jon


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: open mike
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 05:45 AM

perhaps they are plum colored?!


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: greg stephens
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 05:53 AM

Well, there are plums and plums. The tree they have been attacking produces yellow ones!


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Janie
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 08:35 AM

How lovely! I bet when you see them live the color glows!

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 09:09 AM

Well, greg, you would enjoy this time of year here on the Blue Ridge Mountain in Wes Ginny because there is a lot of bird activity, some of it mysterious. With all 7 feeder loaded with a variety of yummies there are times when you can's count the birds and other times when you can't find but a couple feeding... The junko's pulled up stakes two weeks ago to head back to Little Hawk's backyard and the pheobes set up shop last week. The robins have been here since the 4th of the month. The gold finches (yellow) are just starting to turn yellow and are linda greenish now...

We have nothing that resembles the bull finch except an occasional tanigier or Baltimore Oriole (kind of orange and black). We still have a full compliment of woodpeckers (downy, hairy, red bellied and those nutty piliated's but haven't seen our coveted red heads in several months).

Filling out the palet are the noisy titmouses, the almost tale nuthatches, the wrens, chickodees, a few blue birds, cardinals, pesky blue jays (that you and kate loved...), morning doves, a pair of starlings and three danged crows...

We also have a flock of turkey buzzards that show evry year about this time and look for a roosting area and there's must be something appealing to them from their vantage point about the woods behind out house so every year I have to take bottle rockets out and scare them off becuase they are like real nasty...

BTW, anyone who would like some blue jays, come get 'um.......

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 09:32 AM

Hey, Greg:

For many years, I taught a class on birds at the Museum and Nature Center when I worked. The most remarkable sights that I've ever seen came in the early spring when the warblers come back. They come in a seemingly endless variety of colors and pattersn, and they sparkle like jewels in the morning sun. And if you want to see them, that's when you have to go out into the woods. There's a window of a couple of weeks in the early spring before the leaves are fully out, when the warblers are migrating. During the summer, they feed high in the canopy and you can walk all day on the forest floor, not realizing what beauty lies above you. But, for those couple of weeks in the early spring, if you go out around sunrise, you'll be rewarded with a beautiful array of the prettiest birds, feeding in the low shrubs on the forest floor. It's well worth it.

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Bobert
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 09:39 AM

Thanks fir reminding me, Jerry... Those guys are overdue... They usually are first seen around here out in the gravel driveway lookin' fir whatever kind of sand or whatever that they need to aid in their digestion... You probably know all about that digestive stuff...

Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: GUEST,MMario
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 09:40 AM

Spring and fall we would have goldfinches come by in huge flocks - only a few stayed around for the summer and occionally a couple for the winter.

Red Winged Blackbirds who mested out in our marsh were a good sign of spring as well


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Janie
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 09:44 AM

Bluejay pulled the four-horse plow
Sparrow, why can't you?
Because my legs is little and short
And they might get broke in two.

Redbird sittin' in a Sycamore tree
Singin' out his soul.
Big black snake climbed up that tree
And swallowed that poor bird whole.

Wild geese flyin' thru the air
Thru the sky of blue.
They're now a'floatin'where the north wind blows
So why not me and you.

Forget the name of this--learned it off a Red Clay Rambler's album.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 10:38 AM

The most remarkable sights that I've ever seen came in the early spring when the warblers come back. They come in a seemingly endless variety of colors and pattersn, and they sparkle like jewels in the morning sun.

Oh yes the New World warblers. I will never forget the first one of the group that I saw in the trees around the bottom of Devil's Tower in Wyoming. They do rather put our mainly drab brown and green European warblers to shame. We do have a few more colourful ones but nothing to compare with the little gems that people in the US can see. One species I think rather insultingly, - they refer to as the Common Yellowthroat. Would that such treasures were common over here.

The Common Yellowthroat and many of the other New World warblers do appear on the British list, from a few lost stragglers blown-over the Atlantic. But like the American Robin that was recently killed here by one of our local birds of prey and hit the headlines - they do not tend to survive for too long. You have to be lucky to see these but it is a little sad even if you do manage to see them, to think that these lost individuals will never get back on course.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: The Shambles
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 01:23 PM

Some photos of these little jewells - the New World warblers.

http://www.montereybay.com/creagrus/parulids.html

Many of the rare birds that are chased here are small and drab looking. They are sometimes referred to as LBJs or Little Brown Jobs.

Perhaps the Bull Shit Finch would look like a Big Brown Job?


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: GUEST,Peter from Essex
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 07:38 PM

Not very colourful, but very impressive are the two peregrine falcons living on the chimney of the Tate Modern. Even better are the red kites around Towsersey.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: greg stephens
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 04:05 AM

The Red Kite comeback is gathering momentum. I drove from Leominster to Aberystwyth the other day, and from the Welsh border to the sea there was hardly a moment of the trip when there wasnt at least one kite in sight.Spectacular and cheering.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Jerry Rasmussen
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 07:58 AM

Blackbird he don't tell the truth
Blackbird, redbird, diddle-i-day
You ask for whiskey and you get vermouth
Blackbird, redbird, penny-on-your-head bird
Wake up in the morning and it's almost day

Blackbird driving in an automobile
Blackbird, redbrid, diddle-i-day
Winds up the motor, makes the tires squeal
Blackbird, redbird, penny-on-your-head bird
Wake up in the morning and it's almost day

Blackbird sitting in a big arm chair
Blackbird, redbird, diddle-i-day
Jaybird can you tell me why life's not fair?
Blackbird, redbird, penny-on-your-head bird
Wake up in the morning and it's almost day

Jaybird, jaybird don't you tell me no lie
Blackibrd, redbird, diddle-i-day
Who ever heard of blackbirds baked in a pie?
Blackbird, redbird, penny-on-your head bird
Wake up in the morning and it's almost day

A nonsense song I wrote many years ago

Jerry


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Flash Company
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 09:30 AM

Janie, I think there is another verse which goes before the ones you quote but I can't remember it. I will now lie awake nights until it comes back. Dammit.

Bullfinches seem to like picking blossoms, I think it's a Mating thing. The play havoc with yellow crocus & primroses. Worth it just to have them around though!

FC


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Bobert
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 09:38 AM

Sorry, Brother Jer, but we're gonna have to ask you to pee in this little cup...

Awww, jus' funnin' wid ya, but...

... "penny-on-your-head" bird?

Bro Bobert


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Flash Company
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM

Jennie- Got it without losing a wink of sleep:-

Saturday night & Sunday too
True love on my mind
But Monday mornin good and soon
The white boss got me gwin.

A following the plough type work song, I heard it from either Burl Ives or Guy Carawan.

FC


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Janie
Date: 19 Mar 04 - 10:34 AM

FC,

Thanks! I had never heard that verse, nor known anything about the origins of the song. I had always wondered about it tho, and it makes sense of the lyrics now.

We've got some Cedar Waxwings visiting now on their way north. We don't see them every year and it is always a treat when they stop in.

Janie


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: greg stephens
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 03:05 PM

WEll, the blossom is so early this year that the bullfinches are at the buds today..Feb 22. And last year, I see I was admiring the little darlings on March 18. Though, to be fair, last year's date referred to the tree in full blossom, and it is still only in the early stages today. And a fine combination the blossom made to the snow which fell today.
    So, anyone else seen any good birds today? And is spring very early with you?


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Ebbie
Date: 22 Feb 05 - 03:27 PM

Judging by the second link to the bullfinches, I think in Alaska we'd call that color 'bright salmon'. The first link, as someone noted above, showed more of a plum color. Color reproduction is chancey, isn't it.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Grab
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 06:38 AM

Better be clear as well that an American robin and a UK robin are two different things. For UK catters, an American robin basically is a blackbird with a reddish chest. That picture looks like the colour's been touched up a bit - the ones I've seen were more reddish-brown than orange.

In our garden, the colour's mostly provided by the male chaffinches.

Graham.

PS. Disclaimer - none of these are my photos. (Wish they were!)


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Cats at Work
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 06:58 AM

We have had bull finches in the garden for most of the winter. On jan 2nd we had a returning newt and, yes, spring is here! have a look at the Uk phenology pages to get maps of when birds etc were seen across the UK


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: burntstump
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 07:09 AM

Long tail tits on the bird table this morning, also nuthatch and greater spotted woodpeckers.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: open mike
Date: 23 Feb 05 - 09:17 PM

i saw two bald eagles circling (dancing? mating?) last week!!
I hope they are nesting near here...there is a lake where they
sometimes fish.

also i got a close up--(only with my eyes, no camera, unfortunately)
of a ruby throated humming bird feeding on flowering quince blossoms,
and what a splash of brilliant color...neon!


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: EBarnacle
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 09:49 AM

A couple of weeks ago, on the Chicago trip, I added about 4 birds to the list.

We all know, however, that Bullfinch is mythical.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: ard mhacha
Date: 24 Feb 05 - 01:25 PM

I am lucky to spot Goldfinches, Bullfinches, Siskins, in fact a wide variety of birds on my daily walks.
Thankfully here in County Armagh we can still enjoy these beautiful birds, unforrtunately, I no longer see Yellowhammers, Larks and some others like the Corncrake that were in abundance 50 years ago.         Our friend the farmer has been responsible for the decline of many of our feathered friends, extensive farming over the years has destroyed the birds natural habitat.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Pauline L
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 12:44 PM

It's nice to read about signs of spring as I look at the snow outside my window. Where I live, outside of Washington, DC, USA, the weather is highly variable. Earlier this week, the temperature was nearly 60 degrees F (about 15 degrees C), and I saw buds showing pink color, with blooms about to open, on a Japanese cherry tree. The buds must be nipped now. :-( Daffodils have come up, but not budded, and I've photographed them for inspiration.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Pauline L
Date: 25 Feb 05 - 12:52 PM

I have a question about birds in spring. Donovan's song "Lullaby in Spring," which I love, has this segment:

Chiffchaff eggs are painted by
A mother bird eating berries.

I've wondered about "chiffchaff eggs." Could that be a reference to chaffinches?


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: greg stephens
Date: 26 Feb 05 - 12:58 PM

No, a chiff-chaff is quite different from a chaffinch. I've never(knowingly) seen one, but my book says a chiff-chaff is a little warbler, mainly a summer visior to the British Isles, but occasionally breeds in southern Scotland. It does not mention any maternal egg-painting habits. you'll have to ask Donovan about that.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Pauline L
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 12:15 AM

Thanks, greg. Up until now I thought chiff-chaff was just a pair of nonsense syllables.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Cats
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 02:43 AM

We had a Barn Owl on our garage roof the other night, almost close enough to reach out and touch. This week we also had a buzzard with prey being mobbed by crows in our garden and it took repite in our ash tree before flying to the field at the front to have its lunch.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: burntstump
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 04:50 AM

Re the Chiff-Chaff and the Donovan song, when the mother bird eats certain berries, the colour of their droppings are stained by the berries, purple and red, I think Donovan was being polite about his observations.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Raptor
Date: 27 Feb 05 - 08:51 PM

Here In Ontario we are Being treated to a big eruption of Great Grey Owls 300+ siteings in this county(Simcoe County) alone, in the past two months.They are down from the artic. But we still have a good two feet of snow and aside from a few singing cardnials we are still deep in winter!
Raptor


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: Pauline L
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 03:19 PM

Burntstump, I think you're completely right about the color of the eggs.

It's snowing here again, and the prediction is for a few inches to accumulate. Poor birds! I'll put out some food for them.


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Subject: RE: BS: bull finches and spring
From: burntstump
Date: 28 Feb 05 - 03:25 PM

Pauline, are you in the UK?


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