All the way home from Wales yesterday it teemed with rain, making the journey more than usually tiring for R, who was driving. The downpour continued through the evening, and by the time we went to bed the village was substantially flooded, with water still pouring down off the hillsides. I wasn’t especially worried about it, because we were here in 2007 when large parts of the Shire turned into lakes, and even then the house stayed dry because it’s built on a rise, but still it was a relief to get up this morning and find that the water had drained away and the road was passable.
Other places in the area weren’t so lucky, and though I didn’t venture up the Roman Road until I’d checked the Bidford webcam and seen that the bridge was open, I found myself having to drive quite carefully around some very large pools of water. Hillers was fairly quiet, presumably because of the local flooding, and I had the hide to myself for most of the ninety minutes I spent there. Once again the Brambling didn’t show, but there were plenty of other birds, including the Siskins, to keep me entertained.
Until recently it was rare for a Goldfinch to show up in the woodland, though they’ve always been plentiful in the show garden, but since Hillers put up two large feeders full of sunflower hearts outside the hide they’ve become one of the commonest visitors to the clearing. The collective noun for a group of Goldfinches is a ‘charm’, and the gentle wittering noise they make to each other is rather lovely*, but to be honest their behaviour on the feeders is a bit too aggressive to be considered charming. Luckily, this individual got tired of squabbling with colleagues and neighbours over the sunflower hearts and came to check out the bird table, posing on one of the edge posts long enough for me to capture this portrait. If you want to know the sex of a Goldfinch you really need to ask another Goldfinch, but based on the fact that there is almost no red behind this eye and none at all behind the right one, I think this bird is probably a female.
*According to Lev Parikian, the song goes “tickelitt tickely-wickle-tsip-tsip-tsip-wickely-tsip-tickely-wickely-tsipely-wickely-tickel-tsip-tsip-tsip-tickely-wickely”. You can listen to it here to see if you agree – and by the way, if you’re not following Lev on at least one social media platform, you really should be.