The birds have been pretty hungry lately with some hard frosts. The days are a bit warmer now, for the time being. We obviously have half a dozen sparrows at the feeders most of the time but when they take a break we get some more colourful visitors. We had a couple of crested tits, which are the first we’ve seen this year. The nuthatches show up in twos and the greater spotted woodpeckers are also coming in pairs. Could it be spring. Great tits are starting nests in the holes in the wall.
All in all a busy time.
… and don’t let me insult sparrows. They are very colourful.
The chief invader remains the squirrel who, inspite of all my fancy rigging, still devours our fat balls. He is colourful too.
Happy new year. I hope you’re warm and well fed. Our expenditure on bird food has risen somewhat. Not helped by the Squirrels (at least two) and the mice (also at least two) .
What’s new is finding a bird watcher`’s diary to help me log what I’ve seen. I chose “Birder’s Diary” which seems pretty neat. You can load checklists appropriate to your area, but can also add “accidentals”. Today, for example I’ve spotted 10 different species before lunch.
My other quandary is the Marsh tit/Willow tit question. We’re tending to thinking Marsh tit. What do you think?
The green woodpecker called last week. Haven’t seen him in a while:
And a couple of other pictures that turned out ok:
As the weather has chilled the number and variety of birds visiting the garden has really taken off. (Well they do have wings).
I’ve probably complained before about my compact camera with auto zoom not letting me select a sharp focus on birds in trees or against a certain backgrounds. I was lent a more expensive camera with manual focus and a 70-200mm lens. Great clear shots but too small! But surprise, surprise, my wee Canon has manual focus too. I just need to learn to use it.
One chap who has not been easy to photograph is the coal tit. He seems less common than the blue tits and great tits, but he’s quite distinctive. Here’s a rogues gallery:
You can see the coal tit’s “Mohican” white stripe and chin whereas the great tit’s are completely black.
The woodpecker is now almost a permanent feature, especially on the fat ball.
As are the nuthatches.
The chaffinches scurry about in the leaves, superbly camouflaged, the sparrows just get more and more numerous. I moved the ring on the feeder so that the magpie couldn’t reach the fatballs. So he now just pretends to be a (very big) blue tit.
Keep warm. The snow is coming!
ps. Will try and get more mobile phone friendly in future!
I can’t believe I haven’t posted since May! Well it’s time to feed the birds again, which has led to a flurry of activity in the garden.
At first it’s only the sparrows who find the fresh seed.
But soon the tits start joining in
Then the big guys are then not far behind:Note the magpie has already detached a fat ball!
Robins are fiercely territorial so it was a surprise to see two in the same square meter. They faced off and only one stayed!
It was also interesting to try and catch the nuthatch as they seem to be unable to approach a food source without going downhill to it….
Last year we bought a ring for fat balls. This stops the magpies and squirrels running off with the balls. It also means that the autofocus has a clear frame and gives me a better picture.
One last tip if your autofocus is a nuisance. Pick a tree trunk at the same distance and focus (light press on shutter release) Then keep your finger lightly pressed down until you’re ready to click on your main shot. (it only took me years to think of this! it’s probably in the manual, but who reads that 🙂
May has been a bit damp to say the least. However, our feathered friends don’t seem to care.
The first two photos are really poor but I needed to have the very blurry Stonechat male to convince you that the slightly blurry female is his mate. They were a long way away!
The supermarkets no longer sell bird food in the spring. Sensible really, they should be fending for themselves (the birds that is). We can’t resist feeding them, though. The trouble is that I could go bankrupt trying to feed this blooming squirrel. He can get anywhere and will sit there stuffing his face all day.
When the squirrel leaves the woodpecker comes back. – He’ll peck away for hours too and chases off the sparrows. Still, at least he’s a bird.
A surprise visiter to the feeder was the starling. It’s a dull day so you miss the irridescence of the plumage.
A couple of weeks ago we were down by the stream and saw grey wagtails for the first time in Geneva, though my neighbour tells me they are very common.
We spotted a pair of jays getting material for a nest (a bit late maybe). The blackcap was near the horse farm and I feel lucky to have had a clear shot as they are very good at hiding.