Tag Archives: bird feeder

An Odd Dunnock

I’ve never seen a Dunnock on a feeder before, but after several minutes of unsuccessfully trying to catch a picture of this one on the floor and in a willow arch I was lucky to catch it on the feeder. It took several beakfuls of peanut, hiding behind the feeder all the time, before striking this pose and then flying off.

One chance. One shot. Sorry it isn’t more interesting but it’s all I could get.

I’m sure it’s not the only Dunnock to use a feeder, just the only one I’ve seen. Has anyone else seen them on feeders?

Last week, whilst walking to work, Eddie spotted a group of four parakeets near Wollaton Park. They seem to be growing in numbers, having been reported in ones and twos over the years. We saw a single bird on the farm on two occasions a few years back. (If the Hall in the link looks familiar you may know it better as “Wayne Manor” from the latest Batman film.)

These photos are some I took in the Mencap Gardens yesterday. The snowdrops aren’t showing and there don’t seem to be any crocuses, but the daffodils are coming on nicely. This calls for a planting binge at some point in the year.

Finally, a few skies, with some assistance from a camera that is considerably cleverer than I am.

The Marmalade Police and other stories…

My first thought on waking this morning was “The Marmalade Police cars don’t have very impressive sirens.”

No, I’m not sure what it was about either. I think it probably stems from my thoughts on making Epiphany tarts for our Christmas party, and my concerns about not having enough colours of jam to do the job properly. The use of marmalade has crossed my mind, but I have reservations, despite the recipe provided in the link.

There is something wrong, according to my moral conserve compass about mixing jam and marmalade. I’m not sure where this comes from – I’m happy with jam and curd being used together for instance – but I’m conflicted. Where does it end? Bovril? Marmite? Chocolate spread?

Obviously this has resulted in a dream world in which fruit spreads have their own Conserve Constabulary for ensuring that they are used correctly. Or, more tongue-twistingly, its own Jam Gendarmerie.

Yes, I admit it doesn’t sound sane, but dreams are like that.

We were out on the farm today, so things were less exotic for the rest of the day. We saw a Buzzard walking on a ploughed field looking for worms, and a few more Fieldfares in the driveway. Couldn’t get shots of either. Buzzards really don’t measure up to my idea of majestic bird of prey.

Couldn’t get a shot of any bird at all during the morning, but I did manage to answer some emails, have a meeting and test a pork pie.

Finally, just after lunch I snapped a Long-tailed tit. We haven’t seen many this year and I missed some yesterday. It’s not a great shot but it was nice to get one, even if the dirty glass was messing with the autofocus. That was followed by some time with Men in Sheds and a go at emptying the polytunnel.

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Long tailed tit at the Ecocentre feeders

Finally, with the fog growing thicker, and swirling with menace, I had one more go before knocking off early. A Wren kept tormenting me by posing in clear view, only to vanish as I zoomed in. We had Starlings, Blue tits, Great tits and Greenfinches, plus a mob of Goldfinches.

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Mob of Goldfinches

Finally a small brown bird perched to feed. I zoomed in and took the shot, noticing a tiny red patch on the head. My first thought was Linnet, but I’ve been fooled by red-faced Goldfinches and bad light before. I have seen Linnets around, but not on the bird table, so it’s always likely one may drop in.

However, when I checked the photo I had a pleasant surprise: it’s a Redpoll.

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Redpoll on the Ecocentre feeder

It’s not super-rare, but I’ve not seen one on the farm before and I’ve never seen one on a bird table either. All in all it was a good end to the day.

 

More Birds – Screveton and Sherwood Forest

Here are photographs of more birds from last Wednesday, following up on the previous bird post and the Friday post.

The Goldfinches are acting like a bunch of thugs, quarrelling amongst themselves and driving other birds away. You wouldn’t think it to look at them, but they really can be very aggressive.

We had a flock of Long-tailed tits look in, but they perched in the surrounding trees calling to each other before deciding not to contest the feeders with the Goldfinches. We really need fat balls to tempt them, but after the Jackdaw [roblems earlier in the year I don’t really want to use fat balls again. I may try coconut halves filled with fat as they seemed to work well when we saw them at Sherwood Forest last Friday.

We have moved the second feeder from the back garden to see if we can ease the thuggery by spreading the birds out more. It has never been well used, even though it is situated close to a belt of trees that attracts quite a lot of birds. The ones that use the feeders tend to fly out of the trees and pass it on the way to the other feeder.

Birds can be very strange.

So far, after one day, very few birds have chosen to use the new feeding station, despite it only being five yards from the other.

It’s a tricky situation because we will have to stop feeding the birds at the end of the month when we leave the centre. We haven’t really started feeding properly since we let it tail off in late summer. They have had plenty of food in the fields and some of the food in the feeders had actually gone off because birds had stopped visiting.

I rushed into it last week, cleaning the feeders with a piece of stick and using food that had been stored in a bin for the last few months.  The bin had been chewed by mice and I had to evict several before I could get the food, which smelt very mousy. I’m not sure if this has a bearing on the lack of enthusiasm for some of the feeders.

We will wash the feeders on Monday and refill everything with freshly purchased food. I know I found the smell off-putting and I wouldn’t blame the birds for feeling the same way.

We will feed until we leave and will leave the remains of the food and ask the farm to feed after we have gone. It’s not ideal but it’s the best we can do. Meanwhile the group can continue to watch birds until we finish.

Practical note here – cheap plastic feeders buckle when subjected to boiling water. It may seem hygenic, but it’s annoying to hqve to buy new feeders so be careful. I’m going to use Milton. It works for babies, lambs and apple pressing so it whould work for bird feeders.

The following photographs were some we took in Sherwood Forest on Friday. I’m quite pleased with the shot of the acrobatic Robin eating from the coconut shell and the Nuthatch. I’d hoped we would see a Nuthatch and we did see several in the end, though they are difficult to photograph. Julia managed to get the best shots, much to my frustration. Most of mine looked like blue blurs.

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Coal Tit – Sherwood Forest

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Acrobatic Robin eating from coconut shell

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Great Tit feeding from coconut shell

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Nuthatch – Sherwood Forest

A mystery solved

You may recall that I’ve been blaming jackdaws for knocking bird feeders down and then eating the contents.

Well, it seems there is another possibility. They may have been knocking the feeders down but I now have another avian candidate for the emptying of the feeders.

Look at the photos of these two suspicious characters mopping up spilt food and all will become clear.

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Suspicious characters lurking under the bird feeders

They need to be careful, because unlike jackdaws, they taste nice when roasted and people are always asking about them at Christmas…

Man v Jackdaw

They found the fat balls I hung in the hedge so it’s time for the next phase.

Wilkos have these feeders in for £7, which is the cheapest I’ve been able to find. You get what you pay for but I can’t see that Jackdaws are strong enough to bend the bars so cheap should be good enough.

I’m going to try one and if it works I will buy more.The main worry isn’t if it works but if it acts like a sail in the wind as it gets quite windy out here and it’s quite common to find the feeder pole at an angle of 30 degrees after high winds.

Meanwhile, I suppose I ought to consider alternative foods (as in the peanuts) and whether of not I have the right to feed finches and starve Jackdaws. For the moment though, as Monday morning is not prime time for debating questions of ethics, I will confine myself to trying to outwit them.

It may not be easy.

 

The great coat rack migration mystery

Better weather today and the birds started to use the feeder. This is a problem in another way as it now exposes the poor quality of my camera for photographing birds.

As long as the weather holds we may be OK for tomorrow.

 

You can see how much rain we’ve had over the last few days because the Trent has come over its banks at Gunthorpe and is now looking twice as wide as normal. I’m glad we don’t live near the river.

We live on top of a ridge and are fine as far as flooding goes, but the wind can be tricky. About twenty years ago, having left the cat flap open (one of the cats had lost its magnet – again!) we got up to find a snow drift in the kitchen. That’s what happens when you leave a north-facing cat flap open in a blizzard.

I can’t think of much to say. It’s a day for boring admin tasks.

Apart from the birds, the most interesting event of the day was turning up to find the broken coat rack from the kitchen has been moved, and is now next to the recently-broken coat rack in the centre.

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Shared premises are always a mystery, but at least it stops us stagnating.

And yes, that wall on the left hand side is made from soil.