A Punk Pirate

It hasn’t taken long at all for the woodpecker chick(s) to start peering out at the world. The parents have been in and out constantly with 35 visits with beaks full of food in just an hour. Imagine preparing a meal every two minutes for your kids!!

The male seemed keen to lure this youngster out with what looked like a dead chick stolen from another birds nest.

_X0A2964

The chick wasn’t too keen and was firmly staying put however tempting the offering. The female however was still pushing into the nest to clear up the faecal sacks which suggests there’s more than one in the nest hole.

_X0A3050_X0A3063

I don’t think they’ll be around much longer so I hope the forecast rain stays away as it would be nice to see them fledge in the sunlight.

Another Returning Visitor

When I first started visiting my local nature reserve a lot of the regulars mentioned Redpolls and how they were a regular visitor in the colder months. Well I never saw any for the first two years as they seemed to forget about visiting us. When I did finally see my first one I thought for a moment it was a sparrow with a very sore head!

They are a greyish brown sparrow sized finch with a very distinctive red cap and the males often have a breast speckled though with pink and red. They are partial migrants moving South in small flocks as the colder weather takes hold, then back North as Spring arrives. I guess the one on the reserve this weekend was heading back North.

They are generally forest dwellers eating seeds and nesting low down in trees and bushes where they lay between 3 and 7 eggs. 

_X0A67581 (2)

Guess Who’s Back?

Spotting and photographing a Jay was very high on my to do list when I started wildlife photography. My local nature reserve soon became a favourite haunt as it was very much a hot spot for them and the feeder set up meant they could easily be snapped stuffing their beaks with peanuts.

They were regular visitors during the winter months until this year when they hadn’t been seen in the feeding area at all and people were beginning to ask where they were? We’ve had a very mild winter this year so it looks like they’ve been finding enough to eat or their stashes of peanuts and acorns hidden away for leaner times were seeing them through.

This weekend though they were very obvious by their noise and at one point on Saturday four flew over my head together but resolutely refused to drop in to the feeders. Sunday was a a different story though as two decided that this was the day to fill up on some redskins. A pleasure to see them and reassuring to know they hadn’t disappeared but had just decided to make us wait. Absence makes the heart grow fonder so they say!!

_X0A3200_X0A3204

Like Nailing Jelly To a Tree

I’ve written about these little devils before and I’m sure I’ll be writing about them again as i still can’t get a decent picture of them.

Britain’s smallest bird must also be the quickest! At the weekend I took just over 170 pictures of a pair who were bombing about in the undergrowth at the local Nature Reserve. 170 pictures later and I still haven’t got one that I’m that happy with, however my recycling bin is full to bursting. Hopefully they’ll hang around so I can finally get a shot!!

_x0a2361

_x0a2561_x0a2550_x0a2457

 

Rat-A-Tat-A-Tat!

Well I guess she was nest building a few weeks ago as the feeding area is awash with rats now!! There are at least four new faces scurrying around popping up amongst the branches, in the wall and under the leaves. They don’t seem to bother the birds but I’m a bit worried that they’ll chase off the voles and shrews so I’m planning to cut back on the ground feeding I do and stick to just filling the bird feeders. It may be a bit unfair on the ground feeding birds such as the chaffinch and dunnock but however cute these new arrivals are I don’t want a plague of rats.

_x0a2727_x0a2664_x0a2731_x0a2677

Put Out the Bunting

During the Summer months you’d be hard pressed to see a Reed Bunting. As their name suggests they tend to prefer to breed and roost in wetland areas and their plumage is a perfect mix of browns and blacks to enable them to blend in.

About the size of a sparrow they are having to adapt to different habitats and will now nest in drier areas and fields of crops.

In Winter though you may find them in your garden as they move onto seeds as a source of food. The male has a black head and a drooping white handlebar moustache while the female is a mix of browns with a distinctive cream highlight above their eyes.

_x0a1847

_x0a1004

In Spring the male will sing from the tops of bushes and trees generally close to where its bred before. The female will be responsible for building the nest low down and well hidden in the reeds or undergrowth.

_x0a1849

Rocking Robins

Over the last few weeks there have been 6 or 7 Robins regularly visiting the feeding area at my local nature reserve. They have been quite well behaved with very few chasing incidents. I guess they weren’t quite in territorial mode but that all seems to have changed this weekend.

The robins are much more feisty with two seeming to try and assert their authority, continually harassing and chasing the others. I guess a well stocked feeding area would be a great territory to offer a female as a potential nesting site.

A short walk away from the feeding area and you’re very likely to meet the friendliest robin on the reserve. Quite a few times he has fed from my outstretched hand, an amazing experience as he sits and pecks the proffered seeds. The weirdest thing is the lack of weight, the lightest touch on your hand  almost as if there’s nothing there. This week however he wasn’t interested in food and sat belting out an array of songs, a robins greatest hits as he staked his claim to his territory and to the passing people who he hopes will have a pocket full of seeds!

_x0a1126_x0a1155

Rat Update

It looks like the local rat may be nest building! I was watching it this week seemingly collecting twigs and dead leaves and scurrying off down its hole. Does this mean more rats on the way?

_x0a9830nest