Did someone say it’s the 2nd of December?
What a busy day for wildlife we have here at the moment. I counted about 19 Pheasent 10 Robins and hordes of others this morning. Earlier this morning I donned my boots to wander up to Butterstone Loch to find Waxwing, Brambling and Redpoll but no joy there…
Really sorry about not updating the blog yesterday, I was locked out of editing for some reason so couldn’t update posts during the afternoon.
It’s great to see our Dunnocks being far more active in the cold weather, they usually seem very shy and skittish. Because I enjoyed watching their antics so much this morning I decided to make them species of the day…..
The Dunnock is an insectivore, who prefers woodland shrub and garden habitats although in some areas of Europe in spruce woodland and upland forest. Although they have been easily confused with hedge sparrows, Dunnocks belong to the accentor group. This family of bird prefer mountainous, upland habitats but the Dunnock is the only member of the family that has adapted They are roughly the same size as a Robin, about 13.5 to 14cm in length. They are mostly sedentary in Western Europe, but populations further North and East will migrate as far as the Mediterranean.
Both sexes are similar in appearance, both are predominantly brown with a flecked grey and black belly with a noticeable grey head and brown/red eyes. Juveniles are more boldly streaked with brown or black and have olive, brown eyes which turn arich mahogany colour when they reach their first christmas
During the breeding season females will often court other males after having mated with one male. To attract mates males will perform animated ‘dances’, flicking wings and calling. Varying numbers of males and females will come together and they all cooperate to raise the young. This ensures that the chicks will receive a plentiful supply of food from both males.
Outside of the breeding season the Dunnock’s behaviour is fairly straightforward, they tend to lead a solitary existence during the winter months, and won’t come together unless food is very scarce.
Dunnocks usually lay between 3 and 5 light blue eggs. Incubation usually takes two weeks with the female doing all the incubating. The young are fed by both sexes and usually fledge between 12 and 14 days. It is not unusual for females to produce two, sometimes three clutches of eggs.
Despite being rather drab birds to look at they do have a very uplifting call.