Posts Tagged ‘birds’

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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Painted lady butterfly (Vanessa cardui) on Mahonia this week

I felt a bit depressed as I sat at my desk on Friday morning, overwhelmed by working full-time from home, an unwell husband and all the housework. But blue skies and a couple of “exciting” nature observations brightened my mood no end…

We pruned our huge Mahonia brutally last year but it has come back better than ever, its yellow flowers attracting so much wildlife with their pollen – and later the berries. It was the subject of one of my very early blog posts in November 2009 – see here.

I picked up my camera and zoomed in on a butterfly I didn’t quite recognise and it turned out to be a painted lady (Vanessa cardui) – we see many speckled wood (Pararge aegeria) and holly blue (Celastrina argiolus) butterflies in our garden but I don’t think I have ever seen a painted lady before. (more…)

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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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