Column: Butterflies are like us – they dislike wind and cold!

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As a keen observer of the birds in my immediate locality and further afield in the local park, I have noticed that there is much cross over between the species of bird you are likely to see in the garden and those you may see in parks.

Blackbirds, robins, blue tits and great tits, to name but a few, are equally at home in a small suburban garden as they are in a large expanse of parkland.

Some species, however, seem clearly to prefer the wide expanses of parks and visit gardens far less often.

Both the song thrush and the larger mistle thrush fall into this category – I have rarely seen a thrush in the garden, but in Pollok park both types of thrush are quite abundant. For some reason they steer clear of the small patch work of urban gardens, preferring wide open expanses of grass and taller trees to nest in.

It is good to see them so regularly in the park, since both mistle and song thrush numbers have been declining in recent years.

Apparently the mistle thrush is an extremely aggressive bird which, in winter, will defend a berry-covered tree from any other birds that might fancy a berry feast.

In this way they can ensure they have a food supply lasting throughout the winter.

Their size and powerful song means they are able to intimidate smaller fieldfares, redwings and song thrushes.

Right now though, their priority is nest building and I saw one in the park with a beakful of moss, ready to make his or her nest plush and warm.

Warmth is something we have been lacking recently.

It has been so cold that the sweet peas I have transferred from their tiny pots to two larger terracotta pots are still being brought in at night-time. 
After nurturing them for weeks I don’t want the shock of a chilly night to finish them off.

The cold weather is also bad news for butterflies and I can count sightings of the lovely orange tip on the fingers of one hand so far this year. They dislike wind and cold and so, in that respect, they are rather like most of us!