Not Just Any Duck

Mallards (Anas platyrhynchos) are often taken for granted, but I hadn’t seen one for quite sometime. So when I came across several males and females on the local canal they were a pure delight to see as they paddled across the still waters with autumn reflections.

Not Sure About This Guy?


Around teatime today around a dozen Goldfinches flocked around my bird feeder, something I have never seen before, as I normally get 2 or 3 of them visit. This young one decided to have a look at my pond and came face-to-stony-face with this fellow. In the end it must have thought all was okay and decided to have a brief swim.


Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

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

Amazing Builders


Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus) – On a stroll along the local canal I spotted the nest first and the bird second on the opposite side of the bank. I was taken by the construction of woven stems which form this nest, and how it was built on a section of submerged tree. There are jokes about ‘birdbrain’ references, but this one not only had to think of how to construct the nest, what suitable size it should be, and what to line it with, it also had to think of the best place to build it safe from predators and from being washed away by rising water in potential torrential rainfall.

The female lays 5-11 eggs in 2 or 3 broods from April to August.


Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus)

A Bold Young Blackbird


Blackbird (Turdus merula) – This beautiful young blackbird visited my pond this afternoon as I was watering the garden, and was so bold it stayed a while and allowed me to get quite close. Good job, too, because I only had my macro lens fitted. The last day of May and the last photos of May with a lovely bold young Blackbird to make you smile.


Blackbird Turdus merula

© Peter Hillman ♦ 31st May 2020 ♦ Rear garden, South Staffordshire ♦ Nikon D7200


Turnstone

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Also called the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres), this was another first for me. There were many of these little birds on the seashore bulldozing the seaweed out of their way with their heads in search of invertebrates hiding underneath it.

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Turnstone Arenaria interpres

Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


East Cowes, Isle of Wight. September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

 

When The Tide Goes Out

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

When the tide goes out to reveal shallow pools and masses of clumped seaweed it is time for the waders to come and feed.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

This Little Egret (Egretta garzetta) does an odd little dance to agitate the water to stir up small fish and invertebrates on which it feeds.

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Little Egret Egretta garzetta

Feel free to click the images to enlarge and click again to get even closer …


East Cowes, Isle of Wight. September 2019 © Pete Hillman.

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.

Coming In To Land

Herring Gull Larus argentatus Juvenille

Herring Gull Larus argentatus Juvenille

Herring Gull Larus argentatus Juvenille

Herring Gull Larus argentatus Juvenille

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) juvenille, Shanklin Beach, Isle of White, England, August 2018 © 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.

A Proud And Beautiful Family

Canada Goose Branta canadensis goslings

Afloat in the water heading with purpose to the bank …

Canada Goose Branta canadensis goslings

Single file in a line they go …

Finding lush green to feed upon.

Canada Goose Branta canadensis gosling

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


Canada Goose Branta canadensis adults and goslings, May 2018, the pond, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England. © Pete Hillman

Pleasant Pheasant

Pheasant Phasianus colchicus male

Click once to expand view, click again to get that little bit closer


I always hear these birds on my walks through the local fields or the woods, but rarely see them. On the two occasions I have seen them they have flapped out of nowhere before my eyes and have scared me half to death! Plodding through a very wet meadow chasing Cinnabar moths (a future blog), this one came screeching and flapping out of tall grass right before my eyes. He only flew a short distance before landing and vanishing. How an earth a bright red-faced bird of this size can vanish in a sea of green is beyond me. But then he bobbed his distinctive head up and I  managed to get one decent shot before it took off again. Despite my best efforts and very soggy trousers I could not find him again.


June 2018, local field, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman. Sigma 18-300mm lens.

The Bird’s Got The Worm

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

I had been watching this Song Thrush Turdus philomelos making its way along the bank of the river hunting and looking for worms and grubs for a while until it flew up into a tree with its beak quite full of dinner.

Song Thrush Turdus philomelos

May 2018, banks of the River Severn, Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire, England. © Pete Hillman Sigma 18-300mm.

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

Rockin’ Robin

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Out on an early morning walk through the woods this morning I made a beautiful encounter with this little Robin which was on the path before me. He flew up into a tree nearby and allowed me to take a few shots with my Sigma 105mm macro lens before flying off.

May 2018, local wood, 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.

You Made My Day Today!

Robin Erithacus rubecula

Thanks to this little Robin who suddenly appeared and flew across my path to land in a tree nearby. I had gone for a walk in search of toadstools, but the ground is bone dry, almost like in the middle of summer, and although not completely fruitless, there were not many of them about. But on the last return leg of my walk this little darling bird appeared, and surely made my day 🙂

Shot with my macro lens, that is how close he or she was.

October 2017, local wood, Staffordshire, England.

Spot The Beauty IV

Buzzard Buteo buteo

I was across the other side of a field when I watched this large winged bird of prey set down atop a tall tree in a hedgerow separating another field. It was a Buzzard (Buteo buteo), and I have spied many of them round and about over the years, but they are usually soaring through the skies, aloft and flashing their large pale marked underwings. I had my macro lens on, so I did a quick change to my zoom, and with lens cap off, I snapped a few shots from a distance. It is at times like this you really understand how a good zoom lens upgrade could benefit you. I approached, and kept snapping, for I knew it would spy my advance from its lofty perch as I neared. And it did, and took to the skies before I could get too close.

Buzzard Buteo buteo

October 2017, local field, 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.

This Is My Kingdom

Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

This little Goldfinch has been singing its little heart out from on high most of the day.


Goldfinch (Carduelis carduelis), from 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.