Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bob's birds

This afternoon I was attacked in my own house! I came in from the garden into the porch and was hit around the head by a small yellow bird. A siskin (like this one above, or it may even have been the same one) had found its way in, and had not found the way out! I should say the porch is the size of a small greenhouse - indeed that's its function usually. At the moment, it's home to seedlings and small plants. But I digress.

What should one do, in this case of an unwanted guest such as this? When I retreated back into the garden, leaving the door open, the wee bird settled down, and stopped trying to throw itself through the window glass. Thirty minutes later, it had found the top of the door (and a couple of spiders), and after another half an hour my visitor finally decided to return to the outside world!

I'm not a fanatical bird watcher, although I do have a number of feeders in the little strip of garden outside my conservatory. When I'm in and around the garden, I love to listen to the birds singing, and that's most of the time. Regular visitors to the garden and to the feeders include blue tits, great tits, coal tits, greenfinches, siskins, dunnocks, robins, wrens, chaffinchs, and this year, for the first time, nuthatches have come to throw much of the seed feeder contents onto the ground! A pair of blackbirds nest every year. The odd rook and crow come to visit. It is not unusual to find a pheasant seeking sanctuary! A buzzard occasionally sits on the fence. A sparrowhawk divebombed the regulars last week.

I set up a thistle seed feeder this winter to see if there were any goldfinches around. It only took a week or so before the news got around Wamphray's goldfinch community, and now it is not uncommon to see half a dozen or so of this attractive bird queuing up, or squabbling over a place.

I'm even less of a wildlife photographer, having no patience whatsoever. And my favourite visitor, the greater spotted woodpecker, is so nervous that I have rarely been able to point the camera in its direction before it's off. My best effort so far is below. The RSPB's bird guide is here.

Here are the feeders. Where are the birds?

I'm sure I could do better with my goldfinch pics.

This is a male greater spotted woodpecker, with the 300mm lens, through the conservatory glass! Two years ago I had the privilege of watching a female teach a youngster, easily identified by the red crown on its head, how to get nuts from the feeder! Now that would have been a photo to have captured!

All the above pics are mine.

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