Monday, April 30, 2012

All things bright and beautiful

Bluebells in Gransden Wood 

This morning I was out bright and early (and cold and windy) for the first stint of my Breeding Bird Survey (BBS). It was pretty uneventful - I wasn't chewed by a horse and I met the man who used to have this stuff on his gate.

But surprisingly, the best bird was the first one I heard as I entered my square - a singing redpoll! I did hear one calling on another BBS visit a couple of years ago, so I wonder if it warrants more investigation. That would probably be quite a good breeding record in Cambridgeshire these days...

I also found three singing Lesser Whitethroats in the final three sections I was surveying, which was good, though I'm guessing they may not stick around for my next visit in a month's time.

Then, at lunchtime I found a male Redstart! A real blink-and-you'll-miss-it job. I saw it once and it vanished. That was annoying, but the Greenland Wheatears I saw a couple of minutes later helped make up for it.

photo taken with iPhone 4S

Long-tailed Tit babies

 video taken with iPhone 4S + Leica Apo Televid 77 with 20x eyepiece

Friday, April 13, 2012

Monday, April 02, 2012

Mr and Mrs Nutter

Female Nuthatch
Male Nuthatch

I still remember the first time I saw a Nuthatch, at Forge Valley Woods in North Yorkshire. I was 11 years old (and I saw them there again 20 years on!). I ringed one Nuthatch a couple of years ago but I never dreamed I'd be catching them in my garden...

(If I'd thought about it properly, I'd have photographed their bottoms for comparison - males have bright reddish-brown feathers around the bum)

Though I've seen them in the garden a couple of times through winter, as part of roving tit flocks, I saw a male which seemed to be collecting mud and thought how nice it would be to catch and ring one at home. But I was very surprised when first a female turned up in my net, and then a couple of days later a male. 

Excellent birds!