Friday, April 25, 2008

Great and small

I just learned, thanks to my knowledgeable rellies and a timely link to the RSPB site that the large white bird I saw on the roadside near Inveraray the other day was a ptarmigan. At 50mph it's not easy to make out what you're seeing, especially if you're the kind of person who just knows of Small Brown Jobs, but this plump beauty was quite unlike anything I'd spotted before. It was, I would say, in the process of losing its winter plumage, if the big brown splodges were anything to go by.

The small brown jobs are great just now, however, and two of them appear to be building a nest in our weigela. I think they are sparrows, and I'm interested to notice that they seem to be using the very fork in the branches that housed a family of blackbirds last summer. So far they are a bit agitated when I go out to retrieve the washing, but they'll have to get used to me. I only found out about last year's nest when the babies were just about to fly.

I'm cat-watching with renewed vigilance.


  1. What a beautiful bird the Ptarmigan is! I poked into Wikipedia (whatever did we do pre-Wikipedia???) and they showed some splotchy birds like the one you described!

    Sparrows are so funny...when we go to the drive-thru's such as McDonald's (remember we have 2 teens) it isn't unusual at all for a sparrow to hop up onto the mirrors on the side of the truck, or even hop up onto the hood and peek in through the windshield! Curious little buggers...and ravenously craving junk food!!!!!!

    I hope at some point we will see some photos!

  2. You're as good on orinthology as I am..brown jobs! Saw awonderful heron up by the canal today - even got a photie!

  3. Aye! You have to watch for the "cooking fats"! I rescued a young bird from my cat's mouth earlier this week. Makes a change from mice though!