Thursday, May 09, 2013

Near project 1, Far project 11

Although I have had a good time at my far project I was increasingly aware I hadn't spent any time at our village woodland  Along with a local girl guide group we had got a small grant and set up a feeding station to add to the nest boxes we'd put up the year before.  As well as some feeders I'd made a bird table big enough to balance some branches on, I'd replanted a small fallen tree and we had created a drinking pool - again raised for a log pile underneath.  Last week the guides came back and decorated the pool and drilled some holes in the tree so we could jam in some hazelnuts and peanuts to attract woodpeckers.
You may be thinking it sounds like an area that might also be usable for photography - how very dare you!  But ............ I did nip back at the weekend and put up a hide, resulting in some pleasant surprises.  We had found early in the week the nuts were going from the tree (the next day in fact) and sure enough great spotted woodpeckers were on the case as a pair started coming (you can see a part pecked hazelnut in the middle picture)  ......

At one point the male froze like this for several minutes. 

I wondered about a raptor somewhere, but then in a blur of action a second male shot in and displaced him.  So at least 3 coming and more than happy with the hide.

In amongst the usual expected birds ............

there were 2 pleasant surprises.  A redpoll was visiting the niger feeder .....

but more surprisingly still (well it was to me) so was a marsh tit.

This completely ignored the range of other seeds on offer and seemed to be eating the niger rather than the millet I had also added to the mix.  That's one to log away for future reference.  I'm hoping it might even be using one of the nest boxes.

Back at the far project I was reminded of how harsh midday sun can be as the contrast was more or less unmanageable.  I'd been determined to try for some better shots of the redpoll and siskin, and hoped some new props might bring some new angles for the other birds.
I did get some redpoll shots, but not siskin. 

A GS woodpecker licked her lips and picked her teeth, and then went around either probing the ground or maybe grabbing ants (colour confusion?).  A greenfinch and some tits used the prop branches even if the haws didn't.  At least one pair of haws are still coming though which is a real bonus - when I used to snap them at Forest of Dean they always disappeared during spring - back to the treetops as Chris G would say.  Fingers crossed.  The female seems to hug the shadows, the male more brash.

The shallow depth of field has made it hard to get a shot of the pair in focus, and even the effort below looks a bit photoshopped.

The vole was back too, looking quite hamster-like from some angles.

After the weather last year I never thought I'd be missing just a bit of cloud!


Hairy Caveman said...

Gorgeous pictures! It's only when I see the variety of birds that you see I realise how few breeds I find in my garden.I must start putting food out for them!

Brian said...

If you feed them they will come -or at least that's what Kevin Costner told me!