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mick

Bird Photographs

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For me it doesn't have to be a rare bird that makes a pleasing photo. I can sit there behind the lens for a few hours snapping away at various birds in an effort to get a photo that I personally like. Most of the time it's the background colours and patterns that make photos of even the most common birds just that bit special. 

Much less colourful than the male of the species, here's a female Chaffinch isolated against a lovely blue background and perched on a branch close to the bird feeder. I'm always pleased when I can see the eye nicely in focus as it makes so much difference.

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Below is another typically common garden bird but one not very often seen in pairs. The one on the left appeared to be feeding the other - perhaps a show of affection? Again taken just a few feet from the bird feeder.

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Next I have a new visitor to the feeder and at first I almost dismissed it as a sparrow. I can't say I have ever seen one of these before but apparently they're regularly seen around bird feeders in these parts. The quality of the photo isn't all that good but you don't always get the time to compose the shot. I had to look this one up in my Bird guide but I'm almost certain it's a Redpoll.

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Here's the same bird on the feeder giving a better view.

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And within a short space of time there appeared another similar bird with less colour but with the same markings. I'm assuming this to be the female Redpoll? The top of the head was more orange than the red displayed on the previous bird.

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This little chap, a young Great Tit, landed on our decking handrail and I had very little time to take the photo but quickly grabbed a camera and captured this shot through the window.

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It's almost a year since I posted anything here but after I'd finished with the trains late this afternoon I dropped a few mealworms into the feeder and sat back to watch the birds for a few minutes. It's always really nice lighting later in the day, especially when the birds perch on the fence with the conifer hedge in the background. I would normally use the DSLR for taking photos of the birds but it wasn't worth the hassle getting it out for just a few minutes.

The first three photos are of House Sparrows who nest in the roof of a house a few doors down the street but spend most of their time in our garden after the mealworms and suet pellets we put out for them. They repay us not only in enjoyment but also in the mess they deposit on my railway tracks!  This one is fresh from bathing in the drinking bowl.

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The conifer hedge is actually green but shows up as bright yellow when in direct sunlight as here

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And this is one of our Pied Wagtails that nest beneath our solar panels each year. I think this is the fourth year they've returned but it's the first time that they've allowed us to get so close to them. Normally they'd be away the moment we stepped out into the garden but this year they seem to have finally got used to us and I've been as close a 3 feet or so handing out mealworms.

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My little Pied Wagtail is still busy taking mealworms and flying back up to the nest with them. Of the pair, this is the one (below) which has become most used to me and when I'm out in the garden it comes and lands close by waiting for a meal. It's partner is less friendly. It still maintains the two feet distance between us but that's probably a good thing as I wouldn't want it to lower its defences.

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The Wagtails' activities up on the roof haven't gone unnoticed by other visitors and on Saturday we had a pair of Kestrels hovering over for the best part of the day but try as I might I just couldn't get a decent photo of them. I had thought about getting out my DSLR and tripod earlier in the morning but kept putting it off and in the end I had to resort to hand-holding the Nikon bridge camera at maximum zoom but I really need to learn how to use it properly.

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At one point the Kestrel's were hovering directly above looking straight down and I could clearly see its eyes through the viewfinder.

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Another missed opportunity to get a great photo and since Saturday they haven't returned. I now wish I'd got the big camera out when I first thought about it or at least the tripod and a lesson or two with the bridge camera.

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We've got a Kestrel hawking over the railway and landing on the OLE masts. I always take a break to watch him.

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I don't seem to be able to get much done these days because no sooner do I make a start on something than another photo opportunity arises.

I made an early start this morning by cleaning out the fish, washing the car and potting on some plants in the greenhouse that had outgrown their smaller pots - mindful of the fact that there's cold weather on the way for the weekend. In between I kept breaking off to take some photos of the birds, on one occasion making a quick dash for the camera when I heard a commotion in a tall shrub at the bottom of the garden.

The commotion was caused by another visit from one of the Kestrels, assuming that it is one of the pair that visited a couple of days ago. In a flash it darted from the shrub and I thought I'd missed it but it settled on a TV aerial a few properties further down the street. At first it was facing away from me so I was only able to get a photo of the back of its head but then it turned to face me for just a few seconds before taking flight again and disappearing. What a beautiful bird it is! There's nothing I can do about the roof intruding on the photo - I was just happy to have been able to get a couple of photos of it, even if they are just a little bit grainy.

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For the past few weeks two of our regular garden visitors have been a pair of blackbirds and recently they've been taking mealworms back to their nest high up in a large shrub just a hundred yards or so away. Yesterday they were accompanied by a youngster and today it started coming closer and making itself available for a photo.

Here it's seen perched on the fence.....

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...and here it's captured making a dash for it.

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Strange how some people are unable to find anything to do during 'lockdown' when there's so much going on around us.

 

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Just after I'd cleared everything away this evening I sat down outside for a short time throwing mealworms to the wagtails when I noticed them glancing up to the sky behind me. It was difficult turning round to see what they were looking at with my bad back but there was a kestrel hovering a short distance away. I've got into the habit of leaving a camera handy so quickly grabbed it, turned it on, zoomed in, and managed to take 2 photos before it moved on and away. Both photos were much the same but here's the best of the two where I managed to get the entire bird in the shot apart from the very tip of one of its left wing feathers.

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