49/365 – House Sparrow

One of the three UK sparrows which has been declining in numbers. When I was young you’d see hundreds of these every day on virtually every street. Modern housing means they don’t have access to the nooks and crannies of older housing for their nest sites. This one was looking a bit worse for wear looking after its brood.

Female house sparrow

Female house sparrow with food for young

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48/365 – Female Mallard

I think because they’re everywhere Mallards are overlooked, but if you catch them in the right light they are simply stunning.

Female mallard portrait

Female mallard

47/365 – A Barbadian Caterpillar

This stunning caterpillar caught my eye in Barbados and grew massive in the time we were there. You would think that when it turned into a butterfly it would be just as beautiful. But it doesn’t it pupates into a large but very brown moth!

Frangipani caterpillar

Frangipani moth caterpillar

Starlings

We regularly get starlings feeding on the fat balls in our garden. However it has declined  as a breeding bird in the UK. Each autumn into winter our resident birds are joined by huge numbers of birds come over from the continent to winter here. They will gather together in the evening into spectacular murmurations where they swirl overhead as they prepare to roost.

Starling soaking up the sun

Starling soaking up the sun

They are dark, thrush sized bird with longish pointed bills and short tails. They have a big head and short tailed with a striding walk. They have glossy, iridescent plumage which has a sheen like oil on water when caught in the sun. In winter it will gain more white spots and its beak will darken in colour.

Adult and juvenile starling

Adult and juvenile starling

Juvenile Starlings can cause some confusion when spotted as they have none of the sparkling plumage of their parents.

Adult starling feeding juvenile

Adult starling feeding juvenile