Caught Napping


Greenfinch (Chloris chloris) – I caught this one intially taking a few sips of water from my birdbath. I was looking through my patio window, and thought to myself I bet I won’t have time to swap over lenses, will I? I had my macro lens on, and I half expected the bird to fly, but it didn’t. So I swapped over the lenses and took a few shots through the glass. My lens is only 300 mm max, so I needed to get closer, which meant opening the patio door. The bird is surely to fly now! I was slow and quiet, and the bird was still there, perched on the edge of the birdbath, apparently taking a nap? I managed to get within a few feet of it before it finally realised I was there and flew to the back fence.


Greenfinch Chloris chloris

Greenfinch Chloris chloris

On The Bird Feeder

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus

The garden bird feeder is quite busy at the moment. These Blue Tits Cyanistes caeruleus are certainly taking advantage of it and they are welcome too.

Blue Tit Cyanistes caeruleus


May 2019, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

A Happy Ending

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

This evening I heard a bang whilst watching some tv. It sounded like a bird had hit the patio window, and when I went to investigate I found this little fella lying sprawled on the decking. I feared the worst, but it had its head held up and looked dazed. I kept my distance for I didn’t want to frighten it to death, which can happen with wild birds. But as I stood and watched his little head slowly slumped to the wooden deck, and I thought he had gone.

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

However his tail was still twitching and I thought he may have passed out. I couldn’t leave him out there for fear of cats getting hold of him, so I gathered him up in my hands where it lifted its head up. I placed him in a cardboard box and took him into the house to let him recover a while. When I went to check on him not too long after he suddenly flew out the box to my delight! It flew a short distance in my living room, now all I had to do was catch it and set it on its merry way.

Eventually I caught it and took it outside, and it flew away at speed, apparently unharmed.


Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), July 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.

Blackbird

Blackbird Turdus merula

Trying a long shot at full stretch 300mm, earlier this evening with the new 18mm-300mm lens where the light was a little better.

Blackbird Turdus merula, May 2018, neigbour’s lawn, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Season’s First

Pencilled Cranes-bill Geranium versicolor

Coming home from work this afternoon I spotted this single Pencilled Cranes-bill Geranium versicolor, the first of the season, and just had to takes its picture.

May 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

The Sound of Starlings

Starling Sturnus vulgaris

My neighbour has a large cherry tree and one or two Starlings have been perched in it of late in the high branches. They make the most varied and curious bird song I have ever heard, which is quite fascinating.


Starling Sturnus vulgaris, April 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

The Robin Always Braves The Rain

Robin Erithacus rubecula

I spotted this little Robin when I peered out my window this morning as the rain fell from darkened skies. Because of the low light, distance and because I took the shot through the windowpane, I did not think it would turn out very well. Even when viewed on the PC I thought there was too much noise in the image, but I saw that perhaps it almost made the photograph look like a painting, and that there was something a little different about it that made me think twice before dismissing it. In the end, after a little deliberation,  I decided to post it.

January 2018, front garden, Staffordshire, England.

Yet Another New Visitor To The Garden

Coal Tit Periparus ater

I have seen Blue Tits, Great Tits and Long-tailed Tits visit the garden, but never one of these, a Coal Tit Periparus ater on my nut feeder.


Double click on images to enlarge.


December 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

Feeding Time

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

This beautiful female Greenfinch stopped by to feed on the sunflower hearts on my feeder the other day. A Blue Tit can be seen dropping by in the background.

December 2017, Rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

A First For The Garden

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

Looking out the back window the other day I spied this beautiful Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea, which is the first time I have seen visit the garden in all the 25 years I have lived here,  and was quite a lovely surprise. I have only ever seen it down by the local river, and here in the garden I normally see the Pied Wagtail, so yes, I was very pleased to see this one, even from afar.

Grey Wagtail Motacilla cinerea

December 2017, rear garden, Staffordshire, England.

All In A Feather

Greenfinch Carduelis chloris

This little young Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris) was discovered pm my decking. It appeared to have got itself in a bit of a bother, and may have either been attacked by a cat or hit my patio window. But when I ventured to see how it was it took wing and flew into the treetops, so all seemed well with it.


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. July 2017.

Saying Hello

Dunnock Prunella modularis Juvenile

As I was pottering about in the garden this morning this little one suddenly appeared out of nowhere close by me. It is a young Dunnock (Prunella modularis.) It appeared quite inquisitive and didn’t fly far.

Dunnock Prunella modularis Juvenile

Dunnock Prunella modularis Juvenile


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England. June 2017.

Go Blackbird Go!

Blackbird Turdus merula

This Blackbird was singing so beautifully from my rooftop aerial this late afternoon when it decided to take off.


Blackbird (Turdus merula), Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

A First – Woodpecker Visitor

Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major

I am thrilled with this visitor to my bird feeder. I first saw this Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) on my peanut feeder yesterday morning before leaving for work. I have seen them on occasion in my local woods, but never expected one in the garden, so you can imagine my delight and excitement! I just wish I had my 300mm telephoto lens on instead of my 70mm macro to get more reach and to reduce cropping, but I knew by the time I swapped lenses Woody would be gone. I am hopeful this has become a regular stopping off and refuelling point for him, so maybe I can get a better snap of him. Yes, this is a male identified by the bright red patch on the back of the head.


Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) male, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. May 2017.

The Jiggy Woodpigeon

I remember this particular Woodpigeon was trying to figure out a way of getting food from the hanging feeders. They can be clever birds when they want to be, and sometimes they figure out a way as can be seen in the image below, but other times they just can’t seem to make up their mind. I did use a little bit of artistic licence with the video, just for fun 🙂

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

The Blackbird And The Cotoneaster

I filmed this delightful Blackbird feeding on berries in my front garden through my study window a few years back now. He was so engrossed in his feeding that he paid no attention to the folk passing nearby on the pavement.

For more information on this wonderful bird please click on the image below:

Blackbird (Turdus merula) male

She Looks

Blackbird (Turdus merula) female

Photograph of Blackbird (Turdus merula)  female, taken January 2014, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Singing His Little Heart Out

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

On this Christmas Eve I was fortunate enough to be treated to this lovely little chappies bird song from a tree at the bottom of my garden. It certainly was music to my ears.

Photographs of  Robin (Erithacus rubecula), taken December 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

A Very Welcome Friend

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

This afternoon the Robin has returned to my garden. He sat in a bush at the bottom and sang a little tune before flying off.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Photographs of Robin (Erithacus rubecula) taken November 2016, front garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

More of Super Robin

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Art thou the bird whom Man loves best,
The pious bird with the scarlet breast,
Our little English Robin;
The bird that comes about our doors
When autumn winds are sobbing?

Verse from the poem “The Redbreast Chasing the Butterfly” written by William Wordsworth in 1802.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

Robins have to be one of my favourite birds, and it’s not just because of their bright red breast and sweet bird song. I find their manner both fascinating and delightful, and I can’t help but smile when I see one. They appear to be such inquisitive birds by nature, and they get fairly close to you, and don’t appear to have any fear of you. Maybe, in their own way, they find us interesting, perhaps even fascinating.

Photographs of  Robin (Erithacus rubecula), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

An Old Friend Returns

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

This male Chaffinch was a regular visitor to my feeder during the summer, but I hadn’t seen him for the past few weeks, until today. The last time I saw him I noticed he had a problem with one of his feet, which looked like it was covered in a growth of some kind.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

It didn’t appear to bother him then, and it doesn’t appear to bother him now, despite how nasty it looks. Looking this up on the net I believe he is suffering from chaffinch viral papilloma, a virus specific to chaffinches only. It may have got infected through a  small cut in the foot. Unfortunately there is no cure, but infected birds rarely die from it. I notice he does have trouble balancing sometimes, and it must be quite an irritation, but he seem well enough, and he is still quite friendly and allows me to get pretty close to him.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

Photographs of  male Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Super Robin!

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

I was sitting in my garden earlier having some lunch, and I suddenly heard such sweet bird song coming from a nearby tree. It was very breezy, and amidst the cacophony of rustling leaves I managed to pinpoint the source of this delightful singing. And there, perched on a tree limb, was this most beautiful little Robin sporting his bright red breast.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

I have never seen a Robin jump before, on the spot. It suddenly leaped into the air a short distance, but clearing the branch it was perched upon, and settled back down in the same spot. It only did this once. I thought maybe it was the wind jostling the tree, but who really knows. I found it quite atsonishing.

Robin (Erithacus rubecula)

I observed the Robin for a fair length of time before it flew off and disappeared into a nearby bush. I have hardly seen any Robins this year, so to see this one and to listen to its sweet serenade, was a pure joy, and it sure made my day today!

Photographs of  Robin (Erithacus rubecula), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Don’t Eat With Your Mouths Full

Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris)

Photographs of  Greenfinch (Carduelis chloris), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Woodpigeon

Columba palumbus

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

The Woodpigeon is a large bird with grey back plumage, a pinkish breast, and a bold white patch on each side of the neck. Dark band on tail feathers, and white bands on front edge of wings. The juvenile has no  white patches on its  neck, and is somewhat duller in colour.

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

It feeds on buds, leaves, berries, and fruit. Comes to bird tables. The nest is made from twigs in a tree or a bush. The female lays 2 eggs in 1 or 2 broods from April to September. It can live for up to 10 years.

Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus)

Seen all year round. Found in a variety of woodland, also farmland, parks and gardens. The UK’s largest and commonest pigeon, and is widespread throughout.

Photograph of Woodpigeon (Columba palumbus), taken June and July 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Rock Dove

Columbia livia

Rock Dove (Columbia livia)

The Rock Dove is the wild ancestor of the Town, Domestic or Feral Pigeon. The true Rock Dove is a rarity, and it is the domestic pigeon featured in these images.

The wild Rock Dove has pale-grey plumage, with a purple-green sheen on its neck. It has two distinct broad black wingbars and a white rump. It also has black-tipped grey tail feathers, and red eyes and legs. The true Rock Dove is a rarity due to interbreeding between Feral Pigeons which have very varied plumage patterns.

Rock Dove (Columbia livia)

It forages for seeds, buds, berries, and small invertebrates on the ground. The nest is loose and untidy formed on a ledge or in a cavity. The female lays two eggs, in three broods all year. They can live for up to 10 years.

Rock Dove (Columbia livia)

They are seen all year round. They inhabit coastal cliffs and mountains. Also in towns and cities, and farmland. The true Rock Dove is a rarity, but the Feral Pigeon is common and widespread, so much so they are considered a pest in our towns and cities when in large numbers. The droppings are also acidic which can cause damage to the stonework of buildings. The wild Rock Dove is now only found along the north and west coasts of Scotland, on offshore islands, and on Northern Island coasts. But the Feral Pigeon ancestor can be found almost anywhere, it is so common and widespread some consider it a pest.

Rock Doves have been domesticated for several thousand years giving rise to the subspecies Columba livia domestica, the Domestic Pigeon, and their homing ability means they can be used as carrier pigeons transporting messages, and many of these played an important role in wartime. Domestic pigeons which have escaped captivity gave rise to the Feral Pigeon.

Photograph of Rock Dove (Columbia livia), taken July 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Growing Up

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

Photograph of young Goldfinches (Carduelis carduelis), taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Little Robin

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) juvenile

Our little Robin friend here was tempted by what my feeder (which is just out of shot) might offer him.

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) juvenile

Whilst at the same time keeping a close eye on me.

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) juvenile

But the feeder was a lot more interesting than me. You got some on the end of your beak there …

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) juvenile

Photographs of juvenile Robin, taken in September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

Little Tiny Robin

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) juvenile

This is a little juvenile who has been paying me a visit for the past few days. He or she appears very inquisitve, and it has often flew near me when I have been out in the garden. Here it has landed nearby on a garden chair.

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) juvenile

Dunnock (Prunella modularis) juvenile

Photographs of Robin, taken in September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.

The Kill

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus)

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) female

I photographed this magnificent bird through the glass of my bedroom window when I spotted it feeding on what appeared to be the remains of a Starling (Sturnus vulgaris). They sure do not waste anything.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) female

The Sparrowhawk has bounced back in recent years after almost becoming extinct in some eastern counties of Britain. DDT in pesticides reduced their numbers by thinning their egg shells in the 1950s. It has now become one of the most abundant and widely distributed birds of prey. The male is smaller than the female. The male is a beautiful barred-orange below, with an orange face, and bluish-grey upperparts. The female is barred-grey below and has a pale line over the eyes.

Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) female

They hunt small birds along hedges, woodland verges, or into gardens and finding birds at feeding stations. The males take tits and finches, where the females take thrushes, pigeons, and starlings. They nest on a small platform of thin twigs on a flat branch, and lay 4 or 5 eggs in 1 brood from March to June. They can live for up to 10 years.

Seen all year round, and found in woodland, hedgerows and gardens. Common and widespread, except for parts of the Scottish Highlands, the Western Isles and Shetland.

Photographs of Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) taken November 2011, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2011. Camera used Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38.

Goldfinch

Carduelis carduelis

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis)

I photographed this adult and juvenile Goldfinch on my feeder over the past couple of mornings. The sun wasn’t quite up so the light wasn’t as good as I would have liked, and I would have liked to have gotten closer to them, but that’s how it goes sometimes. This is a bold flashy bird with its bright red-head and face spot. It has a black cap and white head, a sharp pale beak, a chestnut patch either side of its breast, tawny back plumage and bright flashes of yellow on the wing feathers. The juvenile has duller wings and a greyish head.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) juvenile

Their long beaks allow them to feed on the seeds of thistles and teasels, in which they are specialists in extraction. They will also visit bird feeders and bird tables, and search for invertebrates at ground level. It breeds in low-lying deciduous woodland, pine plantations and orchards.They form nests made of roots, grass and cobwebs in tree trunks or shrubs. The female lays 5 or 6 eggs in 2 broods from May to July. Goldfinches can live for up to 5 years.

Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis) juvenile

Seen all year round, although many UK Goldfinches will migrate as far south as Spain for warmer climes. Found in wild roughland, wasteland, roadside verges, anywhere there is tall wildflower growth where there are plentiful seeds on which they feed. Also seen in parks and gardens. Common and widespread, except for the far north and west of Scotland.

Photographs of Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), adult and juvenile taken August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 70-300mm telephoto zoom lens.