Tuesday, 14 December 2010

My New Birding Books and CD

I treated myself to some early Christmas presents this week - well no-one else was going to get them for me so I might as well buy them myself!  I started with an audio book companion to 'How to be a Bad Birdwatcher' by Simon Barnes which I've mentioned in a previous post and which thoroughly enjoyed reading.  This is not just the book read aloud by the author but contains his description of 50 common British birds along with their calls and song.  Now I can enjoy this book in my car as I drive to and from work everyday!

My second choice was 'Bearded Tit' by Rory McGrath, another humorous book on birdwatching and life at university, subtitled - a love story with feathers.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

My Garden

I recently decided to make an open bird table for my garden similar in size to the ones in the Bunting Hide at Pennington Flash and today I finally got round to doing it.  I'd got some metal legs off a broken school chair that was being thrown out and I found a suitable board with a lip around it from an old wardrobe shelf in my garage.  All I had to do was drill some holes to attach the board to the legs and hey presto, an instant bird table - it didn't take too long.

When I'd finished I positioned the table in amongst some vegetation whilst still being in view of my back window.  I put a variety of bird food and seeds out on the table including sunflower hearts and kernels, peanuts, tangerine segments (don't know if birds will eat those), hazel nuts and mealworms.  As soon as I'd done that my pesky cats got interested and even started eating the mealworms.  It was then that I realised that the table was a little low and the cats could easily get on it - ah well, I'll have to see how it goes.
Just after I'd finished and was clearing up, my sunflower seed feeder was visited by six Goldfinches, which is a record for my garden.  Firstly, Goldfinches don't usually stop off in my garden although they do fly over and into neighbours gardens fairly often in the spring and summer.  And secondly, I've never had more than two at once when they have been on rare occasions in the past.
My wife Sarah and I spent quite a while looking them through binoculars, and it was only when they seemed to be stopping for a while that I decided to try and take some pictures.  Of course, as soon as I got my camera out they were off and I only managed to get a few blurry pictures of a group of four of them. Later a single bird did return for  a brief visit and I got some slightly better shots but they were still far from perfect. Nevertheless it was a pleasing sighting.

Other birds in and around my garden today included:
  • Blackbird
  • Blue Tit
  • Great Tit
  • House Sparrow
  • Robin
  • Collared Dove
  • Wood Pigeon
  • Starling
  • Gulls (over)
Can't wait to see what might be on the bird table tomorrow - I'm keeping my cats indoors for the whole morning.