Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

The bright blue and white flashes on the wing of this jay (Garrulus glandarius) attracted my attention when I was sitting at my desk by the window the other day. It was yawning as it sat on a branch, nodding off to sleep and then opening its eyes again

We used to see jays a lot in our garden, which is next to a park, but for a few years they had gone missing. Happily I have seen them again recently and I was very pleased when one showed itself just in time for the recent RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch (2022 results here).

A closer look…

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Juvenile great spotted woodpecker [Dendrocopos major] in the garden, its beak messy with fat from the feeder

I thought our great spotted woodpeckers had failed to breed this year as for a long time all I saw was a solitary male. But a couple of weeks ago this young one appeared – although the top of its head is now fading from bright orange to red. The adult female has no red on its head and the adult male a red patch on the nape.

The other young birds are also growing up now…

Young blackbird [Turdus merula] on the bird bath

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Young song thrush (Turdus philomena) viewed from my study desk yesterday – at the moment the thrushes are making their loud and repetitive calls all day and every day

Sadly I have become blasé about young birds in the garden in recent years. I used to snap a photo of every little bird through the kitchen window but now I don’t even count how many babies the blackbirds, robins, blue tits and great tits have. These families have all been very successful this year, as have the nuthatches.

This time I am missing the baby starlings (see a previous post here) and although there is a male great spotted woodpecker around, it does not seem to have a family this time (see a previous post here).

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Young blackbird (Turdus merula) on the last day of May

I have had a chance to notice more garden birds than usual in recent weeks and it has been a good year for certain baby birds. I have seen very young nuthatches for the first time – two of them – although the parents have disappeared at the moment. (more…)

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Bird’s nest is a surprise windfall

An old bird’s nest found on the lawn – and placed on a paper towel

As I was sweeping up the fallen leaves from our sweetgum tree (Liquidambar styraciflua) the other day I found this old nest. I assume it must have been in the tree until the recent strong winds.

I put it on a kitchen towel and took it to show my husband, who immediately flinched in disgust thinking it was a dead rat! I admit it was a bit messy and at first glance I thought it was a dead something, too. But even that would attract my interest rather than repelling me… (more…)

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Female blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla) eating mahonia berries in the garden this spring

I’m afraid I am growing complacent about the birds in my garden – seen one baby robin in spring and you have seen them all! However, there are always some comparative rarities to be captured on camera. (more…)

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Grey heron (Ardea cinerea) on the Wharf in Cardiff Bay, November 20, 2018

There was a pleasant surprise on my monthly walk around the Wharf (former East Bute Dock) in Cardiff Bay this week. It was a very cold day with watery sunshine breaking through.

As I walked along the far side from my offices in County Hall I saw this grey heron (Ardea cinerea) quietly standing on the edge of a nesting platform provided for the wildfowl. The Wharf is full of carp and other fish, so this is a good place for a heron. (more…)

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Mother and child great crested grebes on the Wharf – there had been two young ones but the other was killed by a gull when it fell from its mother’s back, witnessed by a friend of mine one lunchtime

On a recent walk beside the Wharf (former East Bute Dock) in Cardiff Bay I saw two pairs of great crested grebes (Podiceps cristatus). Until then I had thought only one pair lived there. Here are a couple of scenes from their daily life. (more…)

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Great crested grebe (Podiceps cristatus) and young ones on the Wharf on July 4 – can you see the striped neck of the second offspring riding on its mother’s back?

The water birds are a constant delight on the Wharf next to my office in County Hall, Cardiff, and at the moment they have juveniles with them. I missed most of the very small baby birds as they are growing up so fast… (more…)

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Another snowy interlude…


Grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) in the Cardiff snow yesterday

The so-called “Beast from the East” returned briefly to South Wales yesterday, but it won’t stop me going to work today – although it’s freezing cold. The snow didn’t stick to the damp streets and the biting north-easterly wind soon blew the snow from the branches of trees and shrubs.

I can never resist taking pictures through the kitchen window in such weather, so here are just a few snaps… (more…)

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