|An adult Goldfinch tucking into thistle seeds|
Back in the summer, these plants were humming with Bumble bees and Hoverfly, while numerous species of butterfly alighted on the dark purple flowers to take nectar from them. Now, as autumn approaches these flowers have turned to seed – with their great white fluffy plumes.
These seeds have attracted “Charms” of Goldfinch (Such a perfect collective name for a group of these delightful finches), who turn up in big family groups to pluck the little seeds out of the fluff. You can tell when a group has arrived as constant drifts of thistle down float away on the breeze, as it is plucked from the thistle heads in order to locate the nutritious morsel at the base. They are an awful distraction, as I am such a sucker when it comes to watching their antics.
So, yesterday I set up my camera to see if I could catch them amongst my thistles – I have attached a couple of shots for you to see.
At this time of year, many birds are moulting out their summer plumage and growing their winter feathers. This can be quite confusing to the Ornithologist as lots of birds appear with only “half” an outfit!
You can see the Goldfinch youngster – pretty much the same as mum and dad except that it crucially lacks the bright red face! Also, just so as not to be left out, a young Robin was also in on the scene, having spent the summer with a brown dappled breast, it is now beginning to produce a red breast, although I think you will agree, a bit more work is needed before becoming a fully-fledged adult Robin Redbreast!
|A young Goldfinch learning how to find the seeds|
|I will have a red breast to be proud of one day!|