There's been snow cover on the ground for the past two weeks so the snow buntings have been here in great numbers. It's really cold here today around -10°C (14°F) so the birds are getting a lot of tallow&bread today ;-)
Soooooo.. quiet over here, while the birds are singing their heads off!
I can only offer a poor pic of what I think is a Troglodytes troglodytes (a 'wren' in English, is that correct Resin? The pic is heavily cropped and lightened up, in the original one can only see the black silhouet. It called my attention because of its very strong voice and that for such a tiny bird! It was very high up in the tree and I had to use a (not powerful enough) telelens, but without a tripod and in dark conditions the result is poor.
It has become resident in my garden, last year it made its nest in the huge ivy I have growing on a tall wall.
I have seen the carpenting woodpecker often in my brother's garden, Wallaby, but me living in a town means very little variety in birds, although I suspect that a heron has been here about a month ago, as all of my 5 fishes from my pond have vanished. Don't think the culprits were any of the neighbour cats, I always had cats from the neighbours and my own cat from the past. Only one cat ever managed to catch one fish. But now they all vanished all at once!
Oh what a terrible shame about your fish! If they had just died you would have seen them floating so it must have been a Heron. I guess they have to eat, and food must be scarce for them, but pond fish are expensive food for a Heron! Poor little fish.
Oh, no the fish were not expensive, they were not 'koi's' (I'm not found of these) but just a type of simple goldfish( the long narrow, very fast ones with orange colour) that doesn't mess up too much in the mud, don't know the English or Latin name of it.
I'm not going to put any other fish in there and hope not any good-willing friend will give them as a present, like has happened before.
Right now the pond is full of life with courtshipping toads and newts (and the result a is a rather muddy pond)
But then Herons also might like these ones, I'll have to keep a close eye to it!
Hmm, I wondered if the toads may be the culprits! At breeding time they are perhaps wanting more food, or the available food could be getting low as you have so many toads. I found an article that says they can eat fish, look under 'Amphibians'.
I don't think so wallaby. Of course I have some the size of a fist, but most are smaller, ranging from 2 cm to 5-6 cm in sitting position. The fish were about 12 cm long and really very quick. The toads are too slow to catch them. I don't think they have lack on food even being with so many, there is really plenty of it!
Besides slugs and snails, there are masses of earthworms and other critters, as I trow a lot of organic material in the garden; kitchen waste spread under the greedy bamboos, wood logs, dead leaves I often collect from other places, because they look so beautiful in autumn and half-decayed look like a delicate lacework etc...
The newts have also multiplied a lot in the years..
I wonder if there will ever come a stop in the growth of the populations. I think their only enemy is the blackbird who likes to feed on the tadpoles, I once witnessed him grabbing a newt. That was a rather gruesome..
Anyone wants toads or newts ? There is a new load coming..Lol!
I found two of my newts dead by the side of the pond (one male and one female) and I think the neighbourhood cat was responsible. The newts in my pond are very active just now so I am hoping they have already bred.
My sparrows are very ambitious in procreating!
Apart from the many nesting opportunities provided by the 20m long and 9 meters tall garden wall entirely covered with thick ivy and other climbers, also the fact that they get food year round must play a part in that..
I guess each couple has some 4 nests a year.
The strange thing is that the total amount of sparrows in my garden stays more or less the same of approximately 25 individuals, so I guess part of them must imigrate to other places.
Since some years ago there is considerable concern from the bird protection organisation about the decline mounting up to a 50% of house sparrows in Belgium, also in the rest of Europe, in 2007 statistics showed a decline of 96% (!!!) of Passer montanus in GB.
So it gives me a good feeling that I can do my bit in helping the specie to recover..
There is always a dangerous fase when the babies have left the nest but cannot really fly very well yet and I do my best to keep neigbour cats away (a garden hose is a good weapon!)
We had a starling nest in the eaves of our house this spring and had to have it sprayed for fleas after they left the nest ... we've really been plagued by fleas this summer. Don't know if it's just because of the nest or if they're in the grass too ... there have been a few flea bites around the pond too which is popular with the birds ... It has made me think that birds in the garden aren't such a good thing ... ? Anyone have this same problem? Can we do anything about it? I'm also wondering if there could be fleas left in the grass in spring because I put out food for the birds during winter. We've been blissfully bug bite free until about 3 years ago ... not a good change at all :-(
I can't help with the flea problem but I am always plagued with no see ums, black flies, deer flies, ticks, mosquitos, and japanese beetles (only bad for the plants) here in Massachusetts! We've only had really bad fleas once and had to spray the cracks of the old wood floors to get rid of them (about 12 years ago).
That is so strange Rann, I know that birds can have fleas but never thought these could also bother humans.
But I do know that fleas of cats (and maybe dogs?)can do so, at least that was my experience at the time I had a cat.
Besides the sparrows, I have plenty of other birds too in the garden and among them also the occasional visits of starlings when the berries of my Virginian Creeper are ripe and I never experienced any trouble with flees. And I am one of these unfortunate persons 'blood thirsty' insects from all sorts choose the first, even spiders... sigh!
My garden is really tiny so wherever the birds have been I'll get in contact with. It would be really a pity if that would put you off having birds in your garden..
I know that my sparrows love to take a sand bath and I've learned that they do that to get rid of fleas, perhaps that also counts for other birds..
That baby looks too young to be out of the nest, I hope it will be OK! My House Sparrows have had at least 3 lots of young, the last was some time ago so they must be ready for another lot! They nest under the roof, I have an old roof with clay tiles and they can get under the bottom. Starlings nest there too.
Never had a problem but I can imagine the distress it would cause to have fleas. I wonder if there is a general infestation in the grass, maybe you could ask others if they have had them too rannveig. I wouldn't have thought one nest of Starlings would have caused a serious infestation, they eat all sort of bugs, maybe fleas too! Sparrows eat all sorts too, they eat most of my greenfly aphids.
I've never heard of bird fleas transferring to humans, it sounds a horrible problem. Have you thought of putting flea powder in an area where they can have a dust bath? Or perhaps sprinkling some in the grass round the pond. I wouldn't have thought the fleas would stay on grass for long as they would be ready to jump on their next meal. They don't usually transfer from birds and animals to humans as we have a lower body temperature and they don't like it.
Changing the subject, the past few weeks have been great for bird watching as all the parent birds have been bringing their new fledglings to the feeders showing them where they can get an easy snack.
The best so far was the nuthatch. I'd not seen one for several months and then a couple of weeks ago one came back. It went up and down the bark on the pear tree, then settled on each feeder in turn and then to my surprise brought a baby with it, so it was obviously a training session. Lovely to know they are breeding successfully, and an honour to know my feeding station is on their list.
Pat - I hadn't thought of flea powder - I might try that next spring. It seems the fleas are mostly a problem in May/June. Like you I didn't think they'd be around in the grass for too long. I didn't think they could live that long without a host ... but apparantly they can. When we had the nest sprayed it was almost a month since the birds had left it and the guy who sprayed it said it was "jumping" with fleas ... said he didn't often see that.
Sounds like your garden is very lively at this time of year :-)
The starlings have been eating the elder berries, often in pretty large flocks. They're pretty silent this time of year, so only the sound of flapping wings gives them away.
I've seen a few black birds taking a bath in the pond now and then, but I haven't seen a redwing around for weeks - maybe they go out of town for the summer? lol I kind of miss them...
It's so quiet over here so I thought I could post a couple of pics to bring it back alive..
I have two coconut-feeders hanging outside in the Blue Rain on the streetside of my house on the first floor, each of them visible from the two windows I have up there in what I call my 'computer-room'
They are very successful, specially with the Blue tits, I hope I got this right Resin, forgot the English names again of the smaller one with the blue bonnet and the bigger one with the black tie
What a great idea! I will have to seek out a large coconut and make one. Lovely shots, that is the Blue Tit and the black tie one is Great Tit. I always have plenty of them visiting my peanut silo, but that is across the garden and in this dull weather impossible to get any pics. I got a new silo this last week at the supermarket, only a cheap one the same as last but the squirrels had chewed it so much and the birds knew how to get the peanuts from a part where the wire had been chewed through. I counted 12 Great Tits coming for nuts and the fat ball I had hung, they can't grab and run with them now and I have nuts left the next day, that is until the squirrels get to it again, lol. For that reason I never fill it.
I had thought of making some sort of feeding station to place in view of my lounge room window as I can see out the large window from where I sit at my computer, near the fireplace, lol, best place to be. I haven't been lighting a fire though until quite late (price of coal!)when of course it's dark but the room is kept warm from the previous night.
These were the last pics I took of any bird, on the 21st I had given the male pheasant some bread, the young ones had been in the garden previously, but this is probably the same male I had in spring and he wasn't scared of me but a little nervous. I left him to feed, then I saw him from my kitchen window with the strong winds on his back blowing his neck feathers. He looked like he had a crop full and was trying to send it further down, the 'lump' disappeared.
Thanks wallaby! The coconut feeders are easy to make, but it takes some patience to saw them through as they are so hard.
I used an iron saw as it gives a clean cut. The three cords that separate the top from the bottom have a knot on the inside.
I had great difficulty too to take reasonable shots, but eventually managed with putting that feature in the camera (forgot how its called) to the maximum (+2) that helps you taking pictures against the light, and then afterwards still brighten it up with the photo editing programme.
Wow, your male pheasant is handsome, he must be impressing the girls, lol!
Yes, I had two fighting last year but was so eager to get pictures in case they flew off I didn't change my settings! It was dull but I needed a fast shutter speed, had the settings completely wrong! You see a female casually walking around taking not a lot of notice, lol, ignore the blue pots too.
Proudly strutting back after victory! I had wondered which one won, lol, he had a loose feather on his tail from a previous battle I think and it was misssing! I frantically searched and found the feather near the back fence, whew!
Gorgeous colours, yes, this one is stunning! Even more so with a little sun on his feathers. This one was on 12th April, 4 days before the big battle. It was like winter in early April with temps often only 4-6C!
Never seen a Yellowhamer Sylvia, it looks quite big!
Great quality pictures on that site too;
Three owls I photographed about a month ago in the bird asylum after bringing in a wounded pigeon I found along the road. They take care of them until they're strong enough to be left free again in the wild..
They were actually with 4 in the same cage! They looked very cosy together!! The cage was quite big so if they felt any animosity they could have chosen to take more distance from each other..
I thought that the two on the left close together could be a couple..
this is the original picture I took (I had cropped the picture for aesthetic reasons, also edited the ugly electric wire)
Yes Sylvia these owls have irresistable charms they remind me so much of cats but then with wings, lol!
It is some 8 years ago I made these coconut feeders, but I think I can recall how I did it.
I first drilled a hole on the top of the coconut where later the cord has to be attached to hang it up.
That done you can pour out the liquid.
Then I had cut them in two parts with an iron saw and scooped out the white coconut flesh inside, I suppose that could also be excellent food for the birds..
Then I drilled three holes evenly divided on the sides of the underpart and correspondingly of the upper part, where the cords are attached that hold them together. If you first draw three lines on the coconut its easier to have the holes matching. The cords are held in place by a knot I make at the ends on the inside.
Bore holes through two of the three 'eyes' at the end (one to pour liquid out, the other to let air in to replace the liquid. Drink the liquid (very healthy). Then whack the coconut with a hammer, or saw if you prefer.
Not sure there's any birds in Iceland that would be particularly interested in coconut though. In Britain they are primarily attractive to Parus species*. You might be better off eating it yourself ;-)
* Hence this much-quoted (though apocryphal) story . . .
A radio technician was doing a demonstration of a new model of radio to a large group of journalists. The radio had been pre-tuned to the wavelength of a respected BBC radio station. The radio was turned on, and boomed out Great tits like coconuts, and was quickly turned off again before further embarrassment could be caused. A check of the Radio Times revealed they had hit on a nature programme discussing the feeding preferences of garden birds.
Lol I love to have bird-restaurant, I love to feed the bird, I give me a lot of happieness. I can look at them from my kitchentable. I count to hundred one day.
Only a little bit sad not to manage to take photo close up to the birds. Perhaps I can manage if we get little sunshine, now I have´nt see the sun for 1 month here.
But I have a binoculars on my table. I is so nice to. We have an sweet
Större hackspett-Great Spotted Woodpecker- ( Dendrocopos major) coming every morning, but I have not get him on any photo yet, as soon I get close to the window, they always fly away.
Happy holidays to every one! I wish you all an extraordinary spring and a very long true summer, a mild autumn and a VERY short next winter, lol!
What a brave bird footsea and that's a wonderful Christmas scenery Sylvia!
It's bitterly cold up here with a bone chilling eastern wind but it is sunny!
I took advantage to take some seagull pictures in the heart of town;
Seagull in a canal of the city..
Wishing a warmer 2009 after this cold year!
You look very chilly there Sylvia!
We have a chilly wind too bonitin, it's quite warm though, 5C, lol, and the sun shone but soon drops below the trees, it's gone below now! Nice to see the Seagull in winter, I had one fly over a few days ago but not sure which it is. I had to lighten the underneath to get rid of shadows, but the beak etc was very pale. Took this on the 18th, it seemed to be enjoying itself.
BTW, did you know Dave launched BirdFiles yesterday?
It's hardly 1°C over here and heavy frost predicted for the coming nights! Brrrrrrrrrr...
Just discovered the new bird forum about an hour ago just by accident. That's great news!!
I've already uploaded some pictures.
But I have plenty of birds I have no clue what name they have so I'll have to find help in the bird ID forum!
That looks a very big seagull, I have seen this type before but have no idea of the specie.
Edited to say that I probably was wrong in thinking I had seen this one before. I have a bird ID book but didn't find any type that matches yours.
Yes they have very charming sounds, we ha no ones in our garden we live now, but earlier we had pair, which live in an nesting box every summer. I have heard that they imitate the noise they hear in there neighborhood always.
Starlings are very good mimics Sylvia, I have heard the telephone ringing but not, lol! I have them under the roof tiles, my house is an old Victorian one which is not sealed off as modern ones are with just air vents. It also houses bats!
I have had Starlings in the Horse Chestnut tree lately, they make a very nice, but almost mournful churling sound.
We have your 1C today bonitin, lol, I knew it was coming as the winds are coming from the east.
It felt much less than 1°C today, wallaby ! It was horribly cold ! Sunny yes but that nasty Eastern wind kind of spoiled it, felt so sorry for the poor Robin in my father's garden. In Flemish/ Dutch : 'Roodborstje' (translated= 'little redbreast') Don't know if these should also be added to the common names in the newly born Bird Files ? How do you call them Sylvia? Europe is not like the US. It has such a variety of languages! And if the site wants to be truly global perhaps it should add the common names of all countries where the specie occurs? lol..
Oh no I wouldn't do that (I'm missing now the green smiley from the WAB site, lol)
I was only half serious because I realise that would be a hell of a job for a moderator(s), also the reason why I didn't bring this up in the Dave's Garden thread.
And fact is that English is the main world language which is good!
There is already an article about the 'Roodborstje' in Wikipedia! :)
I cannot copy the link to it as my mouse has a defect. I have to install the new one I bought.
I've typed it and hope it will work
Europese roodborst, we called it Rödhake in Swedish (translated - it will be Red hook)
Today sunny but very cold -5C not windy today, but very frosty. Our house is in shelter for west winds.
Lol, I know you were half serious bonitin, so was I, but if the name is used there and it is on a Wiki article (I can't read it though!) there is no reason why it should not be added. Do you want to do the asking? LOL.
I think my thermometer was 3C outside which was higher than yesterday but the winds, although not very strong, made it feel even colder than yesterday. It's often difficult to see where the line is on my thermometer as cold weather takes away the red colouring!
Brrr Sylvia, at least you have sun, which can be better at times than higher temps without sun.
Sunny again today, but I only ventured out very briefly into the garden to have a little inspection on how everyone was doing.
Everything was solid frozen; the pond, made a hole for the oxygen for the creatures in there, the soil frozen but still not deeply, even the plants in pots in my garden shed have a thin frozen top layer.
At midday the thermometer showed -2°C. But there was less wind..
So almost as cold as where you are Sylvia!
We get a little bit warmer this evening only -1,8°C. Long for summer, but it will come as always.
Today a Blackbird, Koltrast in Swedish (Turdus merula) came to our garden alone, around all other birds, I give him apples, he likes that
4° to 5° here last night and all day today . . . the value of a blanket of low cloud and (slightly!) warmer air drifting in off the North Sea. Forecast for the cloud to break and get frosty tonight though.
Had a nice flock of 64 Waxwings [sv: Sidensvans, nl: Pestvogel] today, and a Short-eared Owl [sv: Jorduggla, nl: Velduil]. No photo ops, unfortunately.
Wow resin that's warm! The thermometer in the greenhouse was down to near -5C last night, outside up to 1C today. I saw a tiny bit of blue between shifting clouds!
My Blackbirds get apples too Sylvia, I have a tree and don't use many cooking apples but don't get a lot. The neighbour's have old apple trees too, there's always a few around.
I don't suppose I would be lucky enough to get Waxwings here resin, although I see they come to the eastern side so I might be lucky. I see the Short-eared Owl breeds far north, overwinters far south but I'm near the edge of that. I hear Owls often, but at night of course they are not easy to see!
Yep, it's weather like this that gives me the confidence to put 'zone 9' on my tag. When the south suffers horribly from east winds out of Siberia, that's when the extra width (over 500km) and depth (60m deep, just 30m deep where you are) of the North Sea up here pays big dividends - it's that much larger a radiator getting to work on the frigid air.
No reason you shouldn't get any Waxwings; with lots of apples around, I'd say your chances are actually quite good as there's been quite a large invasion this winter.
The owls you hear at night will be Tawny Owls; Short-eareds are largely silent. Look for Short-eareds on rough grassland, there should be a few around down towards the coast; they hunt during the day much more than most other owls.
My blackbirds also get apples. I get plenty of the apple trees in my brother's garden. They love them! Yesterday and today I have the visit of Starlings. It's nice that they always announce themselves with their cute little noices. But its very hard to take decent pictures. Even when there is sun (its sunny again today) it doesn't reach my wall-surrounded garden, so it stays dark there. Its horribly cold again today, just checked the thermometer : -2°C! My starlings are a bit clumsy, they have difficulty to eat from the hanging fat balls.
To make it more easy for them I've put one of these now in a container on top of my pergola. The water in the birdbaths is solid frozen so once in a while I have to pour in warm water for my birds to drink..
I put my fat balls on the end of a thin branch on the Paulownia where the Starlings can stand to eat it, they used to last two days but when I put one out now it's gone by the following day. Long-tailed Tits like fat balls, I had 4 at once on it a few days ago but it was of course very dull.
I'm putting out finely broken crusts of a seeded bread each day too, today there was a variety of birds eating it, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Doves, Robin, funnily no Sparrows but they are devouring the peanuts. A Blackbird of course came along to scare them all off!
It was down to -4C at least in the greenhouse last night, today the outside thermometer was at 0C but the ground wasn't frozen. The bath tub has some ice, there is water in the drain along the front of my garden which they drink.
Odd day yesterday, the air temperature was below freezing (about -1) for most of the day, but the ground wasn't frozen, and the sky was thick overcast. Then in the evening it warmed up to +1.
This morning (New Year's Day) it was +2, rising to +3 or 4. A very light NE wind off the sea (which is about +6 at this time of year); cloudy at first but got out sunny for most of the day, then clouded up at dusk and raining slightly this evening. Got 70 species on my day out birding today.
All new for my 2009 list! But nothing out of the ordinary. Missed out on several common species too, but that's what happens when there's only 7½ hours of decent light, and only a bike to get around with.
Here's the full list, in order I got them:
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Black-backed Gull
it´s cold now, here in Sweden tonight we have -17 degree Celsius. (1,4 degree Farenheit) burr burr.
Earlier in this week, before the snow come, I took a picture, not very good it is hard to get a good pic on birds, but we had some sweetis around the house.
This is an Nötskrika in Swedish, an Eurasian Jay (Garrulus glandarius)
Resin my garden reach out a little in the wild bushes. A pine covered slope/hillock behind our house and a grazing land beside which also belong to our domains with many many big trees, some big dead trees, oak and bushes. There is many many birds here around. But I never manage to catch them on my camera. But I have seen it near to my house.
Watched this thread for the first time. I have an English friend who is astounded by American robins having that name. I explained about 'homesick' settlers. After all, they were never going back. Way back at the beginning of this tread--about the fish being caught by birds. A friend had the problem of herons fishing in his pond & spred netting over the very small pond to discourage them.