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Friday, April 15, 2016

UK Garden Birds



April 4-10 2016 The Wye Valley Brockweir. Gloucestershire UK.

Female Blackbird
This is a selection of common garden birds that can be found in most gardens and parks in the UK. Other species noted were nuthatch, jay, magpie, carrion crow, jackdaw, rook, great and long-tailed tit, dunnock, common buzzard, mistle thrush and blackcap. The most unusual sighting were a pair of Hawfinch, a male and female which as soon as I opened the back door flew off never to be seen again.
Male Blackbird. 
The blackbird is probably along with the blue tit the commonest of British garden birds.

Chaffinch
Springtime birdsong in the UK is reckoned to be the loudest anywhere. The first song would wake me up at 5.30 a.m and would continue way past sunset with the blackbird still singing at night. No need for an alarm clock.
This robin began to make a nest in a stone wall just outside my bedroom window.
I watched this robin everyday of my brief stay. It would come every 10 minutes or so with various items for the nest. It was very aware of my presence and would wait until I retreated into the house before re-entering the small crevice in the wall where it was building a nest. This image was shot through a small crack in the front door. 

Robin
I was looking at another bird when this robin perched near the woodshed. Ever inquisitive, it stayed long enough for me to swivel around and capture this frame. The dark background is the woodshed which is cast into shade. I particularly like this shot and composition and goes to prove that no bird deserves the moniker "dirt bird"

Siskin
Shot from the car window this siskin appears more vivid than its North American cousin.

Song Thrush
As a child I remember a song thrush bashing the living daylights out hapless snails. There was always a pile cracked shells next to one particular stone. Their UK numbers have sadly declined since my childhood as the use chemicals and especially slug bait in the garden proliferated. Other members of the thrush family include blackbird, ring ouzel, mistle thrush, redwing and fieldfare.


The Forest of Dean
This mixed forest is a wonderful place to photograph forest birds in the springtime. The romans mined the area, the kings of England hunted here and millions visit the area every year.


A view of the River Wye from Yat Rock.
Atlantic salmon migrate annually to spawn and unlike their Pacific cousins return to ocean to grow and repeat the process.

In recent years peregrine falcons have nested here as well regular sighting of Goshawk and Hen Harrier attract birders and photographer alike.


Chiffchaff
On the edge of the garden is the Hudnalls National Forest, an ancient woodland untouched by humans for hundreds of years. Beech, oak and wild cheery attract all kinds of species including this chiffchaff, one of the first warblers to arrive in the spring from North Africa. Later in April other warblers and flycatchers will also arrive to feast on the plentiful supply of insects. I watched this particular bird for hours before setting myself up quietly in the shade for a shot  Finally after it had been hawking insects and accepted my presence it came close enough for a decent shot.


Blue Tit
A few days in an English garden wouldn't be complete without a picture of a blue tit, probably the Uk's favourite garden bird. Tomorrow I have one more day when the weather forecast looks safe enough to make one hundred mile round trip to the Brecon Beacons National Park. My goal is to find some lifers, namely ring ouzel, wheatear and if lucky a red kite or two. Until then!

"It's never too late to start birding"

John Gordon
Langley/Cloverdale
BC Canada




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