Siskin at Penygraig
Siskin numbers on the feeder have been building since the beginning of April. Days of heavy rain have had the highest numbers, 30 + on and around feeder. Seemingly different groups arrive in intervals, perhaps now migrating locally up river towards breeding habitiat in Hafren forest, not sure - time will tell. I have studied the birds at close quarters from the window on and off since Winter, but the cherry tree across the river coming into blossom holds the most interest now. The birds wait here before crossing to the feeder, which now patrolled by a male Sparrow Hawk does not come without risk. Male siskin sing from the branches, crest raised as shown here and others eat the buds, but this attraction is no match for the draw of the nyger feeder so I have to work fast to catch an impression of the birds amongst the blossom. On this occassion I made tens of brush drawings and repainted them in a better composition (colour is subtle, drawing in cb+ru/bs, cb,qr,rs for main body and yellow pure and light, enhanced by upping the purple complimentary). Redpolls are also drawn to the feeder and in the tree the males in particular, with their pink blushing breasts smartly coordinate with the blossom colours, the vivid yellow siskin are altogether more raucous in appearance and character, often clashing with other birds over the feeder or a favourite perch. On the busy feeder a siskin will point at a challenger with wings held out and fanning, dancing around the honeycomb cylinder like a bee in a hive before taking off in a vertically climbing joust with its adversary.