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Sunday 18 February 2024

More February Observations - 8th to 14th February, 2024

I have made the decision that, even though my free time is currently limited, I will try to make the effort to continue to output a blog post on an approximately weekly basis. With my ability to get out into the wild severely limited, my observations have, primarily, been of birds in our garden, and it is likely to continue that way for a few weeks. Here's an account of some of my sightings.

Thursday, 8th February          Garden

The weather this day was absolutely foul, with heavy rain all day, which caused local flooding. The rain on the windows of the conservatory made it difficult to identify anything but the most obviously plumaged birds. One such bird that visited was a Pied Wagtail. I tried the technique of placing the lens hard up against the glass of the window as I have found, in the past, that this can sometimes 'see through' the rain. To some extent, this technique worked, as shown below.

Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba yarrellii) (female) - our garden
Saturday, 10th February          Garden

This was the best day of the year so far, with 20 species of bird visiting the garden. There was, however, one disappointment and that was when Lindsay alerted me to a bird that she said was behaving like a Chaffinch, but looked wrong. I took a look and spotted a fine male Brambling. However, I had already put my camera in the conservatory, ready for the breakfast session and it disappeared before I could get to the camera. This resulted in rather a lot of time spent gazing out of the window, camera at ready, in the hope of its return. 

All I photographed that day was a male Bullfinch.

Bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male) - our garden

Sunday, 11th February          Garden

To my absolute delight, the Brambling visited again this day, and I managed a few photos, albeit at a distance as it was approximately 15 metres away from my position in my study. These images are very heavily cropped from the original.

Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla) (male) - our garden
We finished the week with, what for us was, a remarkable tally of twenty six species of bird landing in our garden during the seven days.
Monday, 12th February          Garden
I photographed a few birds this day. Coal Tit used to be a regular visitor to our garden some years ago, but nowadays we probably only average one or two sightings in a month. This one was photographed in poor light high in a tree at the far side of the garden, but at least it is a record of its visit.
Coal Tit (Periparus ater) - our garden

The female Blackcap is continuing to make the occasional visit. I wish she would find a mate to bring to the party.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) (female) - our garden

Chaffinches are daily visitors to the garden, and I really should pay more attention to them with the camera. These birds often come to a part of the garden which is quite close to my study window. However, it seems to be the females that I manage to photograph. I really must try harder to get some images of the more colourful males.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) (female) - our garden
Wednesday, 14th February          near Plumtree, Nottinghamshire  :  Garden
I have been backwards and forwards to a hospital near Nottingham over the past couple of weeks, in connection with Lindsay's knee replacement. On one of those journeys, I remarked to Lindsay that a group of run-down barns, close to the road in a very rurl location, looked as if they might be a place that hosted an owl. On Tuesday 13th she had her knee operation, and on the Wednesday morning I went to visit her in hospital, but decided to spend ten minutes by the barns to see if any owls might be around. I didn't spot any owls but there did seem to be a few feral pigeons.

Unlike some areas of the UK, I very rarely see a feral pigeon in our area, even in our local town. Feral pigeons are decended from Rock Dove stock which have been domesticated. This, I believe, was the first species of bird ever to domesticated - apparently over 5,000 years ago! Over the years, escapees have become naturalised and are now a regular feature of cityscapes. They are interbreeding with wild doves, and there are many variations in plumage.

Given the above, I was quite surprised to find that the only birds sighted in the vicinity of the barns were feral pigeons. I took some shots of a male making amorous advances on a female.

Feral Pigeon (Columba livia domestica) (male + female)- near Plumtree, Nottinghamshire
I got home, after visiting Lindsay, to find a Bullfinch and Siskin feeding together.

Bullfinch ( (Pyrrhula pyrrhula) (male) + Siskin (Spinus spinus) (male) - our garden

This brings me to the end of this post. I am pleased to report that Lindsay is recovering nicely, although she is likely to remain totally dependent on me for support (cooking, cleaning, washing, etc.) for a week or two. She's got two return visits to the hospital, which is an hour's travel away from home, scheduled for this coming week.
Hopefully, I'll be back with another blog post in about a week's time. In the meantime, please take good care of yourselves and Nature. Thank you for dropping by - - - Richard


  1. Hello Richard :=)

    Not expecting a blog post from you so soon, I really came to give Lindsay my best wishes for a speedy and successful recovery from her surgery. I 'm pleased to know that Lindsay is recovering nicely, and it was a pleasant surprise to see you had posted another delightful blog post. The appearance of the Brambling must have made your day, although you saw 26 different species in a week they had visited your garden before. I love seeing the female Blackcap and the brightly coloured Bullfinch., and your capture of the female Chaffinch is really lovely. I hope the beautiful and colourfull male Chaffinch finds it's way to your garden soon.
    Richard I had some difficulty getting through to your post, clicking several times without success. so other bloggers may encounter the same problem.. However I persisted and eventually got through.Oh! just one more thing, thanks for the tip about resting your lens on the window. Rain is the forecast for next week so
    I can try this out.
    All the best

    1. Lindsay is doing really well, thank you Sonjia. Her experience with this knee has been so much better than the one she had replaced at the end of 2022. I guess that is what you get when you pay for the operation, rather than have a free one with our National Health Service.

      I have been trying to get shots of the male Chaffinches today, but not done very well so far as the light has not been good while they have been here.

      Thank you for the warning about accessing my blog. I hope that it was a temporary problem and will keep an eye on things to try and determine whether other people have experienced issues.

      Good luck with you photography in the rain!

      Best wishes - take good care - - - Richard

  2. First and foremost, Gini and I hope Lindsay's recovery is speedy and complete. We know your loving care will help immensely.

    If one is not able to travel around to pursue a hobby of photographing birds and other natural subjects, it certainly would be nice to have a lovely garden for attracting all of the above to come to you. Oh, wait. You DO have such a lovely venue! Apparently word has spread and the birds are flocking to your oasis begging to be photographed.

    And we certainly appreciate it. What a great collection you have enjoyed so far this month! Nope, can't pick a favorite as they are all equally attractive.

    Gini and I are doing great and having fun pretending Spring is almost here.

    Take good care you two.

    1. Thank you for your kind wishes - the indications with Lindsay's knee are very good so far - so very different from the previous knee replacement.

      Having a garden with a decent assortment of birds visiting has been an absolute godsend over the past few years - with the Covid lockdown and then Lindsay's mobility problems. We've had discussions about the benefit of moving house to something a bit smaller, requiring less maintenance, and more economic to run with fuel prices going through the roof. But have decided to stay put and adapt what we've already got - the garden was a major factor in coming to that decision.

      Yep - spring is on the way, and our first daffodil is in flower.

      Best wishes to you and Gini - stay safe - - - Richard

  3. Hi Richard
    This the finest to the tree branches, I am besotted with your Bullfinches , superb shots.

    1. Thank you, Bob. A Bullfinch in the garden raises the spirits - every time! Best wishes to you and the family - - - Richard

  4. If this is an example of birds to be seen in your garden, carry on 'gardening' is my suggestion.

    Hoping things all round are continuing to improve Richard.

    With my kind regards to Lindsey....Pete.

    1. Some people like their gardens to look pristine, Pete, and clipped to within an inch of their lives. Ours is more than a little scruffy, with autumn leaves still on the ground, but the wildlife seems to love it.

      Things on Lindsay's side continue to look positive, but my situation is still unresolved, and fingers are crossed.

      Best wishes to you and KT - - - Richard

  5. Hello Richard,
    I'll definitely try the trick with pressing it on the window. Nice to hear that the operation went well and Linsay is doing well..
    all the best
    Greetings Frank

    1. I hope that you find the trick with the window works for you Frank.

      Best wishes from England, where it is not raining (for a change), and we even have some sunshine! Take good care - - - Richard

  6. A delightful set again Richard. I still haven't connected with Bullfinch this year. Our local birds sadly seem to have disappeared in the last couple of years but was lucky enough to see Brambling at Titchwell on our Norfolk weekend.

    A very attractive pair of Feral Pigeons.

    Wishing Lyndsey a speedy recovery.

    1. Sadly, Neil, the male Bullfinch that is visiting us regularly at the moment is exhibiting signs of knemidocoptiasis. I hope that it does not give the bird too many problems.

      Excitement this morning when we had two bramblings in the nut tree for a short while.

      Thank you for your kind wishes. Take good care - - - Richard

  7. Hello Richard, Glad to hear that you are getting on top of things and are going well. You certainly get plenty of support from the birds in your garden. Wishing Lynsey well.

    1. Thank you, Mike. I would love it if our garden brought in as much in the way of wild mammals as yours does, but the birds are a good substitute!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

  8. Hi Richard!!! Very nice pictures... I love the Bullfinch and Siskin.. Greetings

    1. Thank you, Ana - Bullfinch and Siskin together gives a nice colour contrast in my opinion.

      Best wishes - take good care - - - Richard

  9. Me alegra saber que Lynsey se está recuperando bien. Se ven lindos los pájaros de tu jardín, por el mío también se ven bastantes y algunos ya están preparando sus nidos. Abrazos.

    1. Gracias Teresa. Nuestro jardín es muy pequeño y todas las noches nos visitan los gatos de los vecinos (a veces cuatro en una noche), por lo que no animamos a los pájaros a anidar en nuestro jardín. Sin embargo, hemos visto una urraca cargando palos como nido en los últimos días.

      Mis mejores deseos desde una Inglaterra muy húmeda - - - Richard

  10. Absolutely stunning the garden, but, I love the Brambling and Bullfinches, thanks Richard.

    1. Brambling and Bullfinch certainly add a bit of colour to the garden, Bob, and always create some excitement for me. Best wishes - stay safe - - - - Richard


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