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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Juvenile Pied Wagtail High Herons

Above the village road to the bay, it is mostly very noisy; some of the Rooks nest and roost in a couple of large Scotch Pines which grow at the back of the garden of what used to be a small shop in the front room of a residential house. Ideal for that pint of milk, tin of dogfood or bag of flour, you'd forgotten, and didn't fancy a 20min. round trip in the rain without a roof over your head. So instead you'd come to Mrs. Donovan, which would take at least half the time. The garden, most of it lawn for the grandchildren, backs onto a tidal river, often a respite for the Mute Swans and other waterfowl.

The other day I sat watching a play with two star characters:
The Parent Pied Wagtail, Motacilla alba.
the Juvenile Pied Wagtail, Motacilla alba

It was quite comical to watch the Parent foraging with the Kid following eagerly for the next worm or Insect.
The Kid went of exploring on its own too, of course; one needs to find out what is behind that shrub, evelation, or tree.

In short, I spend a delightful time here at the side of the road, my eyes, camera and bins transfixed on the theatre set.

Next I rode on along the bay, looking longingly towards the pier. The breeze, as ever, was too strong to go and sit here out into the open, so I decided against it, and as I watched the Sea Asters, which finally were coming into bloom. I'd been waiting for these little little Wild Flowers, which last summer attracted so many Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies. I have only seen a few of these yet, which I do hope will be changing soon. To be honost, the ones I did see this summer, were all back in the garden. As I looked down, I spotted a Gull flying up, while I was thinking how odd it was to see a totally white one. Besides this strange plumage, I noticed that it would be too large for one too. I've seen big Great Black backed Gulls, Lesser Black backed or Heron Gulls, but this one beat all of those. Not that these were all white, far from it!
Following it, it landed in a across the bay. Heading back to the Church of Ireland, I spotted two Little Egrets in one tree, another Little Egret and Grey Heron in another, nearby.

The discovery of the latter was odd and yet it brought a smile to my face. The Grey Herons breed and rooast in a tree across the pier, and usually fish here too. The Egrets I had not seen in the bay since last year. I've seen Little Egrets in Bantry Bay, but not here in Dunmanus Bay. they have eluded me since. Whenever I would see the 'white Herons' here, one Grey Heron had been with them, everytime.
I am sorry, it was too far across for my dear Lumix. Besides the problem of distance, the other was white blobs in the tree. The sun was beaming right onto the birds, and even adjustments couldn't change this, without any visible details.

The botanical photos will be on Wildlife on Wheels. Not many either, because the break in the clouds was not very tolerable; wind and looming rain meant that I soon had to turn back again.

Yet it had been fun observing the Wagtails. I love juvenile Wagtails, their grey colour reminds me a bit of female Chaffinches, which would probably love such a large black bib too!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oops! Willow Warbler visits, leaves; and returns, but why?

The Willow Warbler(s), living in the Hawthorn hedge behind us, has been returning daily. The Fennel in the planter harbours many Insects in all seasons, but now in summer, they are plentiful of course. In winter, Insects use the hollow stems of the Fennel.
A few days, I spotted the WW in the Fennel again and glad that it did not fly off while I focussed and zoomed in. After one picture she (somehow I seem think it is female. don't ask!) switched position to the back of the Fennel, which was then obscuring my view. Soon after she flew off, straight through one of the "gaps/holes" in the mesh of the fence between us and basketball cage of the school next door.
Willow Warbler, Phylloscopus trochilus

For one reason or other I followed the bird with my eyes as she flew off. As I watched, she suddenly turned herself in mid-flight, flew towards and back through the fence (same gap)
Back in the garden she landed on the wall which is part of the fence. There she looked totally out of sorts, unsure of what she came to do here, and why was she back here? This picture captures that moment, where she had just returned, and probably wondering, "What the heck am I doing here?"

She came down onto the shelving on the wall shelving, walking the narrow ridge along the wall, and disappearing behind the Fennel before she delved into the 'shelter' which the Bindweed has created here. That is where I lost sight of her.
Yet I still wonder: What did she see here, that made her come back immediately? Did she spot movement when she was on her way out?

It is amazing to think that this little Bird, about 10-12cm, is flying back to Africa again, this autumn. Yet, they, like the Swallows, chittering away all the time, above the house and flying through the garden, will have to feed and feed so they will have enough fat resources to rely on during the long migration flight.
Until then, I hope she will allow me a couple more chances for a few more photos.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Lesser Redpoll

Last year we had a Lesser Redpoll on the Blackberries in the garden. I had spotted it from the back, just in time to take a picture of back, tail and head/neck, which was enough for members at British Garden Birds to help me with the Identification of the Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis cabaret.

It is one of the smaller members of the Finch family. At about 12cm. (Chaffinch is about 15cm, House Sparrow 14cm) I just hope that it's visit won't be a one-off this year, as it was in 2008.
The Willow Warbler(s?) are visiting the Fennel now and then for Insects, but always whenever I'm too late for getting the camera.

Lesser Redpoll, Carduelis cabaret.
The two buff curved wingbars and its size were enough to me to ID it, this time. The lack of red forecrown means that it should be a juvenile. So, are the parents nearby? Another birder in Limerick in the West of Ireland, had been surprised at hearing that I had no Lesser Redpolls untill that one bird in 2008. He had large flocks of them.

Used to have up to 12 male Chaffinches. This spring my highest number was 4. Very sad. Similarly, only one to three females at most.

male Chaffinch, Fringilla coelebs.

The House Sparrows too are less this year. I'll post more pictures tomorrow.
House Sparrow, Passer domesticus. Juvenile.

Here, the trembling spread out wings on this Juvenile House Sparrow, is how it will indicate to the parents that it is hungry. Whenever you see an adult female perform a similar action to a male of the same species, it is her way of telling him that she is ready to mate.

Starling do live in the Hawthorn, yet I am blessed that they never get into the garden to feed. Sometimes a few do come into the front or back, but more out of curiosity than following the other birds to the food. Usually they 'greet' me with their quirky song early morning when I come outside to put food out. They fly about the extensive area of our village, and also feed in the bay sometimes. Yet, catching three youngsters, yesterday morning, I had to get a few shots. They look so different from their black starred parents.
Juvenile Starling, Stumus vulgaris.

Monday, July 6, 2009

A few more photos of Jackdaw Junior 2009.

Here's a bit of an update on the loud screeching youngster. Jackdaws usually cackle among each other. They have this wonderful habit of chatting. Their offspring however has none of this ability (yet.) this year's Junior sounds more like an annoying Gull, than a Jackdaw. on top of that we have screaming by young Rooks and Magpies, not the most musical sounds in the avian world. yet unfortunately the wind is too strong for me to escape for a little tour around my local patch.

Insects? Is that all I'm supposed to eat?

I am hungry and very Cross! not happy at all, Dad/Mum has flown off, while their task is to feed me.
young Jackdaw, Corvus monedula,

he or she, kept demanding more from the parent. And this while the parent would fill up its own beak, and start "calling" for help desperately. A strange sound would come forth from the bird with its beak stuffed completely, including its crop. So how did it produce the call? Beats me. I think the parent was glad to get some food for itself
, as all of it disappeared soon, without a crumb to Junior.

Yesterday I noticed that Junior would fly against the fence from the schoolyard, with regular intervals. the youngster clearly had trouble with flying, and I assume that it had been foraging on the empty school yard, and would then 'remember' that its parent would be in my garden, at the other side of the fence. Reaching the top of the fence however, is another matter entirely.
Then, once it had found the parent in my garden, it needed to be able to take off with the others, parent(s) included. And this time it was stuck between fence and our shed, which where taking off would be considered impossible by any Corvus. (Hooded Crow, Rook, Magpie or Jackdaw) Adults of these species would hop onto the shed from there. Our brave young Jackdaw however made the mistake of walking too far back. Something it will learn in due time.

This picture shows the eager Junior and the stern parent.
Jackdaws, juvenile left and adult right. Corvus monedula.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Jackdaw Fledgling, new life in the flock.

After having seen this feather loss infection/disease get a nasty grip some of the flock's young adults, it is great to see that there is new life again. In the shape of a lovely (and very demanding!) fledgling. In my last post you had were able to see some of my pictures.
It is obvious that h/she is a lot younger than JJ was when he first came down to us, and into the planter. By then, JJ had lost all its down already, while this youngster has got a lot of it, still. And also, he/she is a lot noisier than JJ! Probably because it is so much younger.

For example: It has left the nest (involuntarily, perhaps?) not to long ago.
I have not seen it feed for itself. (yet) I see it on my wall, or fence, but it still has not been down to the planter where the food is.

It is not the only Corvid being fed down here. In the early morning I am welcomed by a very loud magpie fledgling, which cries its way through the morning. Then there is a Rook fluffer too. An very unusual event. Usually, late spring, the adult Rooks would start 'disappearing to the Rookery down at the Church of Ireland, at the bay and at Riverside. (where we used to live. )
The Rooks would then stay away till late summer/early autumn. Around September, they would return.
Sometimes adults started moving their belongings to the nursery in March/April already.

This Rook youngster with its dad/mum is the only Rook family around at this moment, plus a few juveniles from last year.

Here is our newest addition:
jackdaw, Corvus monedula. (fledgling)

And other birds in the garden:

Dunnock, Prunella modularis

Robin, Erithacus rubecula

House Sparrow, Passer domesticus