Please, do not hamper a young bird's life by picking it up, and taking it home with you. It is calling its parents to help them in locating it.
After fledgling from the nest, the parent birds will keep feeding it, and look out for it, until it will be able to look after itself.
And the reason you cannot see a parent is because of your own proxomity to the young bird. And while you are ebating if or not you should take the bird home, you keep the parent from giving it well needed nutrition in the form of a meal!


The photos on this blog are all taken by me. If there is any picture you might want to use for any other than personal use, please drop me a line to the email address shown in the sidebar on the right.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Wee birds, Whiffwhaff and Wren

Downpour after downpour did not make for fine birdwatching behind the window in the kitchen, and definitely a bad day for bird photography. Still, I am the lucky one, I guess; my poor birds are fighting a lot more than a wet and speckled window, if they want to feed any more calories than those, spent on keeping warm and flying straight from A to B in these strong Winds. Even Junior is having trouble in staying warm, these days. At first I thought he had a painful foot, but then after observing how he retracts his foot immediately after putting it on the wall. For a second, his foot touches the cold brick of the wall, and you can see him think behind those enormous and piercing eyes of him, Will I put weight on this, or am I too heavy? The leg disappears soon after, back into the warmth of the moulting plumage. I think the poor bird needs little socks or shoes, to keep him going through winter, later.

My Coal Tits, as ever are being chased by the Blue Tits, as usual. It is a habit of the Blues which they’ve kept up ever since they first started feeding in my garden. It is a waste of spilt energy on evading manouvres by our Coal Tits, and often before they’ve even had a chance to get any food inside them. It is not as if there won’t be enough food for the two species.
After breeding and moulting my male Chaffinches are also starting to return without having to fight each other for females or housing permission. I have no idea if any of the other Finches in the neighbourhood, Goldfinches, Greenfinches and Siskins, which used to arrive here in October en masse, until the past 2 years. Last year we were in the predicament where we had to wave off any new visitor but the Tits.. After my Sparrows had introduced Trichomoniasis into my garden.

And how many Sparrows will we have left over after adults sent the young ones packing? My mind is drawing a complete blank whenever I’m even starting to think about this. We still have to take into consideration the new predator in the garden, a new cat.

This morning I needed to wash my window again, and only the Coal Tits and Great Tit weren’t fooled by my waving motion of my arm. They just kept coming to the planter, looking for food; as usual, the Coal Tit held the left side of the planter and Fennel with the Greats sticking to the right.
I promised myself a few minutes at the window with a cuppa as soon as I was done and asked the Coal Tit to return for a few photos. It was not the Coal Tits which caught my attion when I was almost done. With my camera already at hand, I was praying for a few notes of this tiny bird’s call or song, so I’d be able to ID it properly. The tiny Warbler sat feeding in the top of my Fennel, stretching out its neck as far it could master to bring the tip of its beak as close to the tiny Insects as possible. Perhaps it is that Autumn Omen which brought my first, and most likely my last,, Wiffwaff of this summer, into my garden. Was it trying to fatten up before that long trek south? Where had it been breeding? Or was it a youngster perhaps, grown up in record speed, and practicing flight as soon as it left the nest earlier this summer, However, not a sound popped into the atmosphere between us, neither a Chiff…. Chaff, nor the pretty song of the Willow Warbler. Due to its position on the Fennel, where it sat vertically at the top, just underneath the yellow flowerhead. I was stunned by the colouring; it was much more green and yellow than I remembered them being. And although the Coal Tits had been visiting during this interval, as they had promised, it was my Wren, which has been visiting almost daily lately. It loves all the wood in this garden, the shelving, its supports, with the little bars, which seem to house a lot of Insects if my Wren’s feeding is anything to go by. Most of the time it disappears into the (over)growth on and around the shelf. After following it with my camera, al along the shelf, it landed onto the edge of the planter in the end. First onto the right side, before creeping along the back of the Fennel stalks, before sticking the head into the peanut cake tub.
The Wren left after feeding around the planter too, picking up bits here and there. It left via the shelf again, but kept coming back a few times. Francis was surprised to hear me say, that my arm was getting tired in keeping the camera aloft, while the shutter kept clicking. The Wren pictures turned out better than I’d expected; the Wiffwaff’s however, are a little disappointing. Also due to its vertical position, I think. The Wren is a youngster, I think; it has a little yellow gape left around the corners and the supercilium is not very distinct either. While washing the window, another dead Moth twirled down to the sill. A Small Carpet of some sort, I think. I forget to post my photos onto the Yahoo Moth Group site. I will try to do so this week. My Robins are moulting and do need a few easy days without having to burn extra energy by needing to keep warm and dry. They too have a lot of competition for the peanut cake and one solved this issue by calling at around 17.00, waiting for the Sparrow families to leave the garden first. I might be disappointed with my Whiffwhaff's photos, I think that at least it did the job of helping me with ID; the eyering alone makes me think that it was a Chiffchaff, although the yellowish colouring does not help me in this.

I hope the wing shows its real colour,Chiffchaff or Willow Warbler?
My Wren, a juvenile, I think,Blue Tit,Coal Tits, one perhaps a youngstersJunior,A Great Tit grabs a bite,Robin, moulting

Sunday, August 10, 2008

New, Old, and Funny Faces.

I’d promised Crow the recipe for peanut cake for my birds, and although Carin provided Crow with her peanut cake recipe, because I’d been failing to post mine yet (due to tiredness) In contrast to Carin, I have no measurements for my 'recipe', but here goes:

Lard or Suet.
Seeds, (Sunflower, Mixed, any melon, papaya, and or other)
Niger Seeds,
Peanut butter
Uncooked Muesli
Raisins or Sultanas
Anything else which is at hand, or comes to mind.

Chop your peanuts, seeds, or other nuts, finely in the food-processor.
Melt lard in the microwave, and mix all other ingredients in until all liquid has been absorbed by the dry ingredients.
Spoon into your moulds. Choose whatever you think suitable, which can be plastic tubs of any size or shape.*
Then let it set in your refrigerator or freezer.
Whenever you do not have any lard available, the easiest is to mix the above ingredients with an egg and fill a bread tin. \Then put in preheated oven for a spell.
I always cook my food without salt. And therefore they often get those little leftovers too. These will go into other bird food, most of the time, depending on the situation, and food.

*In contrast to Carin, I myself find grape/or other soft fruit punnets unsuitable; the little loose–soft-plastic cover at the bottom is stuck to the bottom on two places with glue and getting the glue off the bottom of tub, I have not managed yet. Some of it is always left behind at my house, and using it as a serving tub with peanut cake, seems very unsuitable to me. I just pierce some holes into other plastic tubs, leftovers from shopping. Fruit, vegetable, grated cheese or mushrooms, and with so many products coming with an excess of plastic, I could choose anything from the collection, waiting to be put into the purple recycle bin.

Last year I had one sorry Sunflower which had germinated very late, and grown during August September before. However it was much too late and when I got Lynn’s Olympus it was still only about 1 ft. tall. This was mid to late October!
Today I noticed another Sunflower seed, which has germinated. It is still late, but we’ll see how far it will come.
The main problem it will face is that it germinated just a few cm.s away from the Fennel. This means that it won’t get too high anyway. And if it will be able to get high enough and ripen its seeds? Not like they used to when I was a child and the neighbours begged my mother to have me get me get rid of my little birdtable of my bedroom window feeder. Which of course stayed put!

It has been silent here for some time and it is about time that I post something here before it is September!
Mainly, the weather has been too wet to get out these last weeks, yet it was not too wet for a pair of Bullfinches. Most other birds find it often hard to stay put in the planter, on the wall, shelf because of the strong winds. And with some not having completed their moult, it can be extra awkward, cold and wet on you, being a small bird.

Junior has been keeping me company in the rain though, and thought it best to bring his other young mates too. Well, probably I should stick with the term “Friends”? In Avian worlds, as in most other wild animal terms, and the meaning behind mates often describes a different kind of friendship. I had to get used to this way of thinking, because most of my writings are set in the world of wild creatures. And it takes a lot not to impose human ways of thinking.

The Swallows have been flying to and fro about and beside the house; still, there is a lot less of their chittering, their lovely way of chirruping, as only Swallows can. And my Coal Tits, which had been busy elsewhere this summer, are back too. It felt as if they had been on some kind of holiday, or as if they were moulting over the last 12 weeks or so. Perhaps their breeding failed, then tried again and after that settled down for a moult. ?
I remember that when I only just had my camera, I set myself the challenge to get my best Coal Tit picture. Everyone who has a camera and Coal Tits in their garden/balcony, allotment or yard, will know the task I set myself. And although my Coal Tits were quite good in the beginning in not doing the grab, leave and hide their food, from the birdtable, which was still standing then. Also perhaps because they would line up on the wall/Fennel or planter for their turn on the peanutfeeder. And they still line up on the Fennel; it is the perfect spot from which to see who’s about, is there a tense atmosphere between species? Only yesterday, there were a lot of squabbles between Robins (adults and juveniles, alike) Sparrows, Great Tits and Chaffinches. I also think that the winds played a part in these. The birds were all trying to hold on, to stay on course, and to feed whilst rain was bucketing’ down, Atlantic winds were targeting them, all the while they were trying to raise their energy levels and to gain a little weight to help them through the cold nights. We, like many others in these islands, most likely, have been having a cold spell recently. The highest, daytime, temperatures are often not more than 15/16Cels. I wouldn’t mind usually, in combination with these winds, however, it is feeling a lot chillier.
A few times I got myself ready in the hope that I would be able to leave quite sudden if the weather would let up. A few days there was a mixture of Bright Spells and Scattered Showers, yet, as soon as I waited, it was soon clear that these would be a bit more than Scattered within 10minutes or so, after I’d leave.
Of course the Wild Flowers would be flattened too.
Tomorrow, it looks like rain till say, 4pm. And with low tide at 6pm, this would be perfect. Who knows? Will it be favourable to me, tomorrow, for once?

Some of mySparrows'GangCoal TitsBlue TitsSurprise visit of this Bullfinch male, last week.RobinOne of the Great Tits (female)Regular Visitors, Pied WagtailsNewest Robin juvenile, which has been using our dinerSome of-yesterday's-peanutcakeand some of last week's peanutcake, made with other fats and different consistency