13 December 2004

My garden - some frequent friends...

These are a few photos of some of the more frequent visitors to my garden. House Sparrows are in national decline, but particularly where I grew up - the South East. Thank goodness they are still found in relatively good numbers around here.

Blue Tits are surely among everyone's favourites, one of the most recognisable birds around.

And the Goldfinches add a touch of the exotic to a garden, addicted to niger seed and feeding seemingly all day when they find somewhere to their liking.

Garden bird 1 - House Sparrow Posted by Hello

Garden bird 2 - Blue Tit Posted by Hello

Garden bird 3 - Goldfinch
Posted by Hello

12 December 2004

Redshanks at Minsmere

Fantastic waders, relatively common around the coast of Britain, but a fairly rare breeding bird inland ie Warwickshire. The legs provided a welcome splash of colour on a grey autumnal day on the east coast. Posted by Hello

Great Crested Grebe at Brandon

Surely one of the most beautiful birds, not only on the British list but also in the world. Spectacular in spring and summer with its breeding plumage, this autumnal bird is altogether more understated. But beautiful none-the-less. Posted by Hello

11 December 2004

A classic Cormorant pose

There is something splendidly pre-historic about the Cormorant - to watch it fly is to see a flashback into evolution. But despite their 'unconventional' looks, and unpopularity with anglers (they are much more successful at fishing than any human could be, and can allegedly deplete fishstocks) I like them. And never more than when they are doing this - 'wing-drying'.

I put 'wing-drying' in inverted commas because as far as I know, noone is sure why they do this. Are they drying wings? Or is there a display purpose. Who knows - but it looks good for photos!Posted by Hello

9 December 2004

Great Spotted Woodpecker at Draycote Reservoir

A fantastic photo opportunity at a local reserve. I sat down, opened the hide hatch, and there she was - a female GSW not 15 ft away on a feeder. Even I couldn't mess that one up. Posted by Hello

5th December 2004 - A twitch to itch

I never twitch. Never. For anyone who thinks all birderwatchers are twitchers - NO. We are not.

Birdwatchers (or Birders as we prefer, inexplicably, to be called) go to a place, watch the birds, maybe record some data for conservation research, take some pictures, enjoy our day, and go home.

Twitchers find out where the rare birds are (internet, pagers, phonelines etc) and travel to see them - often a very long way indeed. This appears to me to be less a hobby than a way of life.

So, it's December 5th. Two days ago, December 3rd, I completed my first successful twitch at Cannock Chase (Waxwing, about 30). Today, I completed my second at Daventry Reservoir (Great Northern Diver, first winter). Two lifers (ie the first time I've seen these species of bird) and two twitches. So much for the no twitching rule then. Less a rule than a guideline perhaps.