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Thursday, 23 February 2012

Bitting and Bobbing (and an owl or two!) - mid-February, 2012

Just been ticking over on the birding front for the last couple of weeks - mainly due to three projects at home, which aren't going as quickly as they might as I've been full of cold for the past five days. 

The Redpolls are still with us in the garden, and reached an all-time high of six birds in the garden this morning!

Lesser Redpoll - our garden, on 15th February, 2012

Lesser Redpoll - or garden, on 16th February, 2012

We see Long-tailed Tits in our garden every year, but they're very infrequent visitors.

Long-tailed Tit - our garden, on 16th February, 2012

It's not every year that we see a Bullfinch in our garden. So far this year we've been lucky enough to have three sightings (once a male and twice a female). This is the only image of one in the garden that I've managed this year - a poor result on a very dull and dismal day!

Bullfinch (female) - our garden, on 17th February, 2012
For a week now, I've been looking after a feeding station at Oakthorpe Colliery, that has been set up by a friend to help him try and photograph Jays. He's away from home and doesn't want to loose the momentum by letting the feeder run dry. So far I've only seen one Jay there, and that landed on the ground beside the feeder so briefly that I didn't have time to get my camera onto it. I have, however, delighted in watching the other birds here.

I've found my friend's feeder very difficult to use photographically - it's a strange set-up, so most of my own images from here are of birds in the nearby bushes, or on the ground. However, here is one from his feeder.

Robin - Oakthorpe Colliery, on 20th February, 2012

Reed Buntings are here in reasonable numbers - I've seen up to eight at a time recently. The birds are just starting to move towards breeding plumage.

Reed Bunting (female) - Oakthorpe Colliery, on 20th February, 2012

Reed Bunting (male) - Oakthorpe Colliery, on 20th February, 2012

The real treat here at the moment is the number of Yellowhammer that congregate. There can be up to twelve at a time, mostly males. I make no apologies for posting several images here of these spectacular birds.

Yellowhammer (female) - Oakthorpe Colliery, on 20th February, 2012

Yellowhammer (male) - Oakthorpe Colliery, on 20th February, 2012

On Tuesday, rather than hang around at Oakthorpe Colliery, after topping up the feeders I called in at my local Short-eared Owl site. Two owls were out whilst I was there. The weather was a bit dull, and light levels low, but I got some 'owl on post' images. I wish someone would decide that it's time to remove those horrible green protective sleeves from the young trees!!

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch
In past posts I've mentioned the 'going home shot' - a 'throwaway shot' taken as I'm leaving, after the light has got too bad, and turns out to be usable. The 'going home' shot on this day is one of my favourites.

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch

Now to get back to that decorating!


  1. Hi Richard, splendid images of your garden birds! I love the tit and Redpolls are always fun to see. The Short-eared Owl shots are great and always tough at dusk. Keep 'em coming!

  2. Thanks Phil. Posts might be a bit thin on the ground for a couple of weeks whilst I get sorted at home!

  3. Some really great pics there Richard, the Owl is excellent but difficult to chose an overall favourite, they're all up there.

  4. Beautiful images Richard, especially I think of the Yellowhammer. Good luck with the decorating.

    Have you never been tempted to clone out those green things on Photoshop? Those owl images are lovely nonetheless. I only say that because I hate pylons and you'll never see one in my shots!

  5. Thank you Alan for your encouraging comments.

  6. Thank you Christian.

    I do, occasionally, touch up some of the images (in Corel Photopaint rather than Photoshop - it's a long story!!). However, this is usually restricted to removing the odd branch against a clear sky, or removing a speck of food from a bird's beak. I think that removing those green things would be a mammoth task, and not worth the effort unless I get an image that would otherwise be top-notch.

  7. Very nice images Richard. I would love the SEO shots, but have never seen Lesser Redpols so!

  8. Thank you Mike. I feel rather privileged to have those Redpolls in my garden. I understand that they're not too rare as garden birds, but last winter was the first time they visited on a regular basis.

  9. A cracking selection of images. Particularly like the owls!

  10. Thank you, Jeremy, for your kind words.


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