|Friday 18 January 11:28 hrs|
|Fieldfare on the lawn yesterday - a rare treat in the garden, almost always occurring only in hard weather.|
|One of three Mistle Thrushes in the garden over the last two days. This species dominates Fieldfare at apples.|
|This male Blackcap obviously didn't read the label and tucks into Chapelwood's Finest Finch Food regardless.|
I tried Chapelwood’s Finest Finch Food first, filling a tubular seed feeder two-thirds full. The packaging is strangely upmarket for bird food, as is the price at £3.97 per kilo on Amazon. But you are paying for quality: this mix is rich in sunflower hearts, niger seed, peanut nibs and millet. The first birds to try it, and very quickly, were actually Great Tits; over several visits they clearly enjoyed it. Shortly afterwards, a party of five Lesser Redpolls – the first ever on my feeders – tried out the Finest Finch Food too, a vote of confidence for sure. Chaffinches and a Robin have also fed on it quite regularly and today the crowning glory was my first male Blackcap of the winter (following a female in December), so it certainly gets the thumbs up, even if its audience is broader than finches alone.
|Having appeared for the first time today, this male Blackcap quickly bossed the hanging feeders.|
In view of the price, products in this range - I've also being using Finest Blackbird Food with great success for that species and Mistle Thrush - are very much luxury options, perhaps for use in topping up feeders stocked with a more basic mix, or for getting a feeding station started. My preferred main options are a high-quality mix (ideally with mealworms to benefit a wider range of species) and sunflower hearts; a combination of these and premium products such as Chapelwood's specialist range has resulted in 21 species in the garden over the last three days of snow, which I reckon is a pretty healthy return.