Even when I have only a minute to spare to see what is gracing our garden, there is always a Blackbird, either in the garden or in the nearby Bird Cherry.
On Saturday I watched for a good half hour without a Blackbird in sight. However, there was more than ample compensation as a single Siskin sat in our tree with three Greenfinches. They all left in at great hurry and within a few seconds a bird with a hooky beak drifted over.
In previous winters we have had regular small flocks of House Sparrows. This winter I have only seen a single female and on only a few occasions. In contrast, this week my work has moved me back to Seaham and the bushes near the town centre car park were as busy on Monday with House Sparrows as they were when I was last based there in 2011.
The gradual demise of a bird that I largely ignored in my youth, because they were common everywhere, is both sad and worrying. As a result of my move from Durham to Seaham, I was given a leaving present of a bird box with a camera. I will spend the coming weekend contemplating where to put it. The hole is suited to anything up to House Sparrow size. When I had several boxes in my parents' garden many years ago, I despised the Sparrows when they used them rather than Blue and Great Tits. If House Sparrows decide to adopt this new box I will be delighted.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder.