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Thursday, 21 February 2013

Home Is Where The Birds Are!! - mid-February, 2013

I'm having great difficulty in dragging myself away from my study window these days, as the garden is coming up with some splendid bird sightings, even if the weather is either too dull or too bright for good photography (half my feeders are outside my window, and don't get any sun at this time of year, but the sun shines brightly behind them, making for very difficult photography) for most of the time.

In my last post on my garden birds, I said that the winter visitors were thinning out a bit, with the Redpolls not seen for a while (one appeared the following day!). I also commented that I was sure I'd seen a Nuthatch this year but had not recorded it (one arrived less than an hour after I published that post!). On the optimistic side, I said that I was hoping for the year's first Siskin soon (one appeared the following day!).

The birds must have heard me!

I didn't get any photos of the Nuthatch that day, but it returned two days later, and I did manage one shot.

Nuthatch - our Garden
The Redpolls have been back on a virtually daily basis. We're not seeing many males, but yesterday we peaked at an amazing eight Redpolls at one time. I only managed to get five in the lens (the other three were up in the dogwood behind), but I'm including that shot as a record of the event.

Lesser Redpoll (female) - our garden
Lesser Redpoll (5 out of 8) - our garden
The aforementioned Siskin was a female, and at first it was just her that we saw. However, recently a male has been joining her on a 'several times a day' basis, and they are definitely a pair, as you can see from one of the images below. There was excitement today when they were joined by a second female. I find the females to be very attractive birds, and the males to be a bit garish, although there's no ignoring their striking yellow plumage. I also find the males a bit harder to photograph than the females.

Siskin (female) - our garden
 Here's the lovey-dovey pair!

Siskin (pair) - our garden
 And here's the male

Siskin (male) - our garden
The Bramblings are still showing on a daily basis, but not so frequently. Until we went away on holiday it was mainly a male that we were seeing. Now it's mainly a female that visits.

Brambling (male) - our garden

Brambling (female) - our garden
It's very rarely that we are favoured by a visit from a Reed Bunting. This female visited us on 11th and 19th of the month.

Reed Bunting (female) - our garden
The more common species are also very welcome, although I'm not sure about the Sprawk!!

Sparrowhawk (male) - our garden
The Wren, however, is always a delight. When we see it, it's usually skulking at the top of the garden, but occasionally it comes out into the open, as in the first image. However, today it was on the ground outside my study window. Not easy shooting through double glazing at an angle of about 45 degrees, in deep shade (1,000 ISO, 1/60second!).

Wren - our garden
Finally, the cute Coal Tits are an endless source of pleasure.

Coal Tit - our garden
Considering that these images were all taken between 8th and 21st February, and I was away in Yorkshire for best part of a week during that time, I don't think that this is too bad a crop of garden images. Perhaps you can see why I'm finding it a little difficult to tear myself away from the garden!!

Today we matched our previous garden record of 17 species of bird landing in our garden in one day! Oh!, and the Treecreeper was back today (a 'garden lifer' mentioned in the last garden post)!


  1. Crikey where do you start. I can definately see why you've found it so hard to drag yourself away from the house. The sprawk is stunning as are all the images, the Bramblings are brilliant, I especially liked the first two and the freezing of the falling rain (or snow) in the images. Redpolls and Siskin had me drooling too.

  2. Wow, I am loving the larger photos on your blog! No problems viewing whatsoever. Superb photos, each and every one!!!

    1. Thank you Gail. Your latest post is great, with a lovely diversity of wildlife subjects.

  3. Wow what a fantastic selection of garden visitors, I'm happy if I get the odd Goldfinch! Brilliant images too Richard.

    1. Thanks Paul. Sadly it means that the owls aren't getting much of a look in, although they've not been totally neglected!

  4. Hi Richard. Once again, your garden proves to be a haven for bird sightings. Wonderful. Lovely images too; excellent quality. I don't need to tell you though, that the sign of any healthy eco-system is a predator!

    1. Thank you, Christian, for your kind comments, and the reminder about predators!!

  5. WOW!
    What a great series, Richard!
    Each photo is superb!
    I see you got the Sparrowhawk also, close - too close like me, but better!
    He stayed a couple of seconds, just the time to get the lens in place ad shoot once!
    You are lucky to have the Redpolls, I haven't seen them where I live.
    Many Siskins, much more than last year.
    Haven't seen the Brambling for 2 weeks now.
    Congratulations and enjoy you sunday!

    1. Thank you for your kind words Noushka.

      When I wrote this post I was excited about matching our record of having 17 different species of bird land in the garden in one day. Yesterday we smashed that record with 20! Sadly the weather was really dark, and so I didn't get any useable images.

  6. What a fabulous series. Such brilliant closeups. That hawk is amazing.

  7. What a fantastic selection of birds. Your pictures are amazing. From Findlay

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Findlay. The birds in the garden are a great compensation for the cold damp weather we're getting at present.

  8. Wonderful collection of birds. Your photos are beautiful too!

    1. Thank you Eileen. Your House Finches are rather special!

  9. Splendid serie of photos!
    Wonderful to see your post. Great photowork!

  10. Great close photos of all the birds. I don't think I'd get any work done at all if I were lucky enough to have so many birds right outside my window.

    1. Thanks Mick. I have to admit that it is very distracting having all these birds outside the window. I got told off by my wife at the weekend. I was chatting to a pal on the phone, and kept interrupting the conversation with "wow, theres a couple of ----", or "there's an --- only 20ft away". fortunately my pal is also interested in birds!

  11. Wonderful set of shots. Are Brambling more common these days - or are people just better at picking them up?

    Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

    Stewart M - Melbourne

    1. Thanks Stewart. I don't think that Brambling are becoming more common. However, feeding garden birds is quite a big thing over here these days, and a number of species are cottoning on to this and starting to frequent gardens. Brambling, Redpoll, and Siskin seem to fall into this category.

  12. Beautiful series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.


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