Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Bring the birds to you

My grebe project continues, but one of the frustrations is that I have absolutely no control over where the birds are - and sadly they could try harder!
In contrast my couple of feeding / drinking sites in the local woods mean I can tuck in and see what drops by.  Sadly the hide or camo set up at both sites has been nicked.  At the far site I have left in place a rather shabby looking little screen, but it means the birds are used to something there.

When I go along I take some netting and the birds do still come in. It's not the prettiest set up although from a distance you see nothing

 - don't really know how anyone found the camo gear.
Niger and sunflower seed are placed on various flat surfaces as well as on the ground, to encourage birds to land on the prop branches, etc. 

The water feature here is really too small and I struggle to get a good angle, but it does work and being smaller I can easily flush through regularly.

A few recent snaps below - found a nice piece of wood - including 2 different goldcrests - only one had the hint of orange.
In years gone by I have watched a number of times an adult feeding another adult during the breeding season -  most notably hawfinches. This snap of a robin pair is the first I've got though - tongues and all!

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Bumbarrels in the brambles

The grebes have been on eggs for a couple of weeks now, so action is slow and largely restricted to changeovers every hour or two.  Still worth some time, but my mind drifted to the long tailed tit nest in the briar patch behind me.  As the grebe activity has been at long range I had resorted to 1200mm of lens and my 1DIII with it's 1.3 crop factor to try and get something worthwhile. 
I could hear the tits churring as they worked through tree branches above and wondered if I could turn the lens at this high magnification to see the nest without going near and running the risk of disturbing them - or attracting attention to them, as many nests get predated.  Sure enough by moving a few feet to one side there was a window through the brambles.
The birds were going in and out periodically.  Not award winning images, but fascinating to watch.  The nest hole is snug and the birds squeezed through, almost popping out as the nest walls flexed, the mix of webs, lichen moss and feathers springing back into shape behind them.
 Fingers crossed they make it.