Suddenly very busy

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:

Blue Tit
Great Tit
Coal Tit

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.

Greater Spotted Woodpecker

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!


Autumn again

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 the sun come out soon!

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.


Kes Thrills

Now either I’m bored by lockdown or you are. In anycase there’s always more to see.

Normally blackbirds scutter about the hedge bottom making a din and reminding us all of “Stairway to Heaven”. But today he decided to sit up in the plum tree, bold as brass and looking quite dapper. I got a few shots before I wondered, why the behaviour change? Cherchez la femme the French say. And there she is sitting in the hedge about three feet behind the plum tree. Is this the start of an early spring romance?

I mentioned the real coconut in an earlier post. It has no fans at all. The fake coconut is now increasingly popular even though it looks like a pacman!

But what of this dumb title : “Kes Thrills”?

Well, yesterday a Kestrel decided he was not in the least bit scared of us. What a treat to get so close.

He then did a wee circuit to allow us to catch his better side before hopping into the neighbouring pine at a dizzying height of 2.5 metres. He’d be real cute on a Christmas tree:-)

Bonne Dimanche!


Still Freezing

… and going to get freezinger, if that’s a word. Still the new supply of bird food seems to be keeping our feathered friends happy and encouraging more varied visits.

Here’s today’s special:

He just stayed for a couple of minutes and didn’t approach the feeders.

Meanwhile we’ve seen siskins in the garden for the first time.

At first singly but now in a crowd.

The robin in the back garden spent a few days trying to reach the fat ball by hanging upside-down from the hoop. Yesterday he finally got the hang of it.

Interestingly the half (real) coconut has not been at all popular. Sunflower seeds are by far favourite and I’ve even seen birds pecking at the perspex on our new feeder trying to get them. The robin uses the new feeder correctly of course:

I also wanted to share Sheena’s latest bird composition: