Archive for the ‘Birds’ Category

Last week I thought that we had a nest of sparrows in the ivy near to the back door to the garage as every time that I walked past it a little brown bird would fly out straight past my face and head down to the back of the garden.

The ivy is growing up against a brick wall and is probably only 3 or 4 inches deep as we tend to keep it well cut back so it’s not the sort of place that you would really expect to find a nest. I had kind of thought that the birds had gone as I hadn’t been dive bombed this week at all. Then today as I was doing a bit of work in that garage there was a sort of whining noise, which I thought was coming from either the dog next door or our own hound but when I stepped out to listen more closely it was apparent that the noise was emanating from the ivy.

On closer inspection this is what I saw

So obviously out came the camera and for the next few minutes I was able to get some really nice shots of the sparrows, only they weren’t actually sparrows they were wrens, which I think makes it even more special.

Although the parents were a little reticent to come and feed the young while the big scary man with the big lens was there, they did eventually come, so I guess that I can’t be all that scary after all.

A lot of the images were captured at a very high ISO (20,000) so you may find that quality is not as good as it should be, but unfortunately I was starting to lose the light as it was getting towards evening and the weather in the UK is not all that great at the moment which is obviously why we have a hosepipe ban!

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Frensham Common

This morning I had to take Tom’s spaniel to The Happy Dog Grooming Parlour, in Farnham, for a haircut. It takes about 40 minutes to get over there so it’s not worth driving back home as it only takes about 1.5 hours to get him clipped.

So rather than hang around the grooming parlour I drove up to Frensham Common for a walk, and to take some photos. Frensham is a very nice area with a ‘Little Pond’, a ‘Great Pond’ and lots of common. I stopped off at the Great Pond which has a couple of nice sandy beaches where people can safely swim, I think the deepest part of the swimming area is about 1.4 meters.

It was a beautiful day today, quite warm for this time of year, so it was really nice to just wonder around for an hour just taking photos. Just by the beaches there are some great read beds, just gently moving in the wind.


The sun was just shinning through the trees when I was there and lighting up the catkins, I’m not sure what sort they are but they could well be a ‘Goat Willow’ which is also known as a ‘Pussy Willow’.


Considering the size of the lake I was rather surprised at the lack of water fowl, the whole while that I was there I only saw some Coot, nothing else, which was quite disappointing really.


I’m guessing that at some point there has been a heath fire, as there were a number of burnt logs around. There were also plenty of notices telling people not to light BBQ’s or fires. There was a flyer advertising an open day at Hazlemere fire station in a few weeks time which will include some topics on heathland fires.


Even though there wasn’t much in the way of water fowl there was nevertheless an abundance of birds twittering away, after all it is the mating season. The following lonely little Chaffinch was chirping away trying to attract a mate but after a few minutes gave up and flew away.


Some yards distant this little tit (I think it’s a Great Tit) was singing for a mate but again none came. A few minutes later I did, however, see a pair mating in mid air unfortunately by the time I pointed the camera at them the had disappeared into the bushes.


The heathland is so colourful at the moment as the Gorse is now in full flower but I didn’t notice too many bees hovering around. I’m not sure if that is just because it isn’t quite warm enough yet or whether it is to do with the more ominous problem that is affecting the bee population.


On my way back to the car I managed to just capture this shot of a fast disappearing Jay.


The full set of photos are available on Flickr. There were a number of helicopters flying around as well which I have put on my other blog.

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I spend most of my time working from home which does have some wonderful advantages. One of those advantages is that instead of having a window that overlooks a car park, I have a window that overlooks the courtyard.


Well as you can see it is also not the most inspiring view in the world but at least there is no washing out on the line! Still, this time of year the courtyard does become a hive of activity due to the Blue Tits. At the top right of the photo you can just make out a nesting box. Tom originally made this when he was in the Cubs, which would have been 18 to 20 years ago.

Every year since the box as been used by the Blue Tits to nest and rear a family. For weeks now they have been inspecting the box, looking in, looking round and then flying off again. More or less the same process every year.


I’ve often tried to capture their comings and goings, normally by standing near the corner of the house, needless to say they know when you’re there and just don’t come out to play.

Well this year I was determined to get some shots, so for the past couple of weeks or so I have been getting the camera out and just leaving it on the desk ready to shoot. Unfortunately the shots would have to be through the glass of the window, not the best practice in the world. They know you know, I mean they know when the camera is out. They arrive at the box, I pick up the camera and they look at me and then fly off!


It took me the best part of a week to actually be able to capture a few shots of the Tits nesting. They are not particularly fantastic photos as the were all taken through the glass and it be honest the glass is not exactly what you would call pristine.


It was a worthwhile few minutes that rendered some interesting photos, even if they are not technically perfect, they did capture the moment.


I was watching them earlier today and they are still tooing and frowing, but now they are actually taking fresh nesting material into the box, so I guess that we will soon hear the chirping of another brood of Blue Tits.

If you want to see the full sequence click here.

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A Rook Story

There I am quietly in the kitchen making a cup of coffee and just looking through the Sunday Times Style magazine and I hear this noise. Funny I think (I do think sometimes you know) I’m the only one in the house. Anyway being the brave sort of man I am, I take my coffee through to the study, I don’t know that noise is getting louder, nearer even!

Must be the window cleaner, I can hear some sort of clattering, but he only came a couple of weeks ago, he must be hard up!

No one out the front, what is that noise? It’s appears to be coming from the living room. Not a bloody Rook again, at least this time he is actually sitting on the coals rather than stuck up the cowling!

Get the cloakroom towel, remove the fire guard and extricate the little bugger, you’d think that would be easy wouldn’t you? Wrong, as soon as I throw the towel over him he decides that’s too scary and tries to bury himself under the coals. After a mammoth struggle (well I have to make it exciting don’t I?) I mange to grab him, flapping wings, twitchy feet and open beak ready to peck my hands off just as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

I gave him a good talking to as I marched him to the front door before releasing him back into the wild. When will they ever learn, dumb birds!

Put the coals back on the fire, hopefully in the right place and will have to put the light blue, with big black spots, towel into the wash!

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