Young Robin - taken 2009 in back garden - Enniskerry, Co. Wicklow, Ireland


When was the last time you actually watched wildlife in your back garden?

Today? Last week? Can't remember? In today's modern world, we are finding it increasingly difficult to relax and take time out from work or family. This blog is to remind you all of the free entertainment that we can enjoy each and every day - WILDLIFE!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Hard Hat Required!

Awoke this morning to a sprinkling of snow (thought Spring was supposed to be here now?), so I thought I'd go back to Knocksink Woods to see what was around.
Along the main walkway leading up to the woods, the gorse was in flower, which looked a bit odd as it was also covered in snow!

Upon entering the woods it was all very picturesque, the sun was shining through the trees which was lovely....... until your head got battered by the clumps of melting ice/snow falling from the trees :-(
As the title says, hard hats were needed!

I sat by the river for a fair while hoping to see something, maybe a Dipper but the only thing that made an appearance was a Wren (not that there's anything wrong with Wrens of course!)

There were plenty of Coal Tits & Great Tits flitting about in the tree tops but none stayed still enough for me to focus on them.

I also realise that I have new found respect to anybody that photographs Treecreepers! How do you do it? The photo below shows my attempt..... if you look behind the branch that's in focus, at the small blob on the trunk, that's the Treecreeper (okay stop laughing now!)

I may have to add that challenge to my wishlist, to try & get a decent shot of one this year!

All in all it was quite a nice walk through the woods, apart from the ice attacks from above! And on the way back along the pathway, something small was flitting around the gorse, which I think was a Goldcrest, it was certainly small enough to be one!
Again, the photo isn't the best but it was moving around quite a bit!

Came home and put out yet more food for the birds, also spotted this fella casing the joint!

That's the first Collared Dove I've seen around this area, maybe he'll (or she) venture down into the garden later.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Don't you just love Dads!

The first text I got off my Mum this morning told me that my Dad had seen his first ever Woodpecker! It was the local Green Woodpecker feeding on the fat square in their garden first thing.

This made me smile as my dad is in his 70's and never really been into the whole nature / wildlife thing.
What made me laugh out loud was the fact he thought it was a Parrot! :-)
Bless him!
Have to say I'm jealous though, as we never got them (Woodpeckers or Parrots) whilst I was living at home!

Anyway, back to my garden and I'm pleased to say we now have a pair of Siskins regularly feeding on the nuts.

Male Siskin

Pair of Siskins (you can just make out the female at the bottom)

They seem to arrive later on in the afternoon, as though they're dropping in on their way home.
The large flock of Long Tailed Tits seem to have diminished slightly and we now only have 2 that come every day, obviously they've started to pair up now.


The Chaffinches have now noticed the Sunflower Seeds, which is bad news for the Coal Tits as they're chasing everything off that ventures near the feeder! I was thinking I might alternate layers of normal seed in with the sunflowers just to see what else it will attract.

Chaffinches hogging the Sunflower Seeds

Coal Tit before being chased off by the Chaffinches!

The Lesser Redpoll hasn't returned yet but I'm still watching out for it every day, it may return with the Siskins again, you never know!

I also noticed the Rat has a partner so I'm assuming somewhere in the wood out the back may be a whole load of baby rats running around! As long as they stay out there & not inside then they're okay.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ring Ouzel?

Had an interesting telephone conversation with my mum tonight back in Leicestershire, she told me she saw a bird yesterday that she'd never seen before in her garden.
It was eating the fruity pellets on the bird table and appeared to be a Blackbird.
Then it flew up onto the fence and she said it had a white chest. Unfortunately she didn't get a photo but she's going to keep a look out for it.

She was thinking of a Blackbird that has "gone a bit albino" (as she put it!).
I was thinking Ring Ouzel!

I'm not sure whether Ring Ouzels are found in Leicestershire or at what time of year or anything about them........ so I'm throwing it out to the bird experts - could it have been one or not?

Thanks in advance for your answers/input! :-)

Saturday, February 13, 2010

There's a Brown Bird in the Ring......

Tra la la la la......

Not much of the suet ring left now and most of the birds that come into our garden have made the most of it!

It's only taken a week for all the suet to just about disappear & I don't think the squirrel is to blame this time - I think the birds actually got chance to eat it all for themselves!

It wasn't me!

I also bought another new feeder for the Sunflower Seeds, hopefully this one is a bit more squirrel proof than the last one.
It didn't take long for the birds to get accustomed to it!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

New Bird, New Camera, New Treat!

I'll start with the new treat - I ordered a suet ring which I thought would go down a treat with the garden birds, especially given the cold weather.

The description of it says "Formulated from fats, bound with peanut flour and seeds and finished with a generous coating of dried fruits and mixed seeds - approximate weight 1.4kg"
Hmmm, sounds tasty, doesn't it?!

I didn't realise how big it was going to be!
I've hung it from one end of the bird pole we have and it's slowly bending the metal thread!
To give you an idea of the size, below is a photo of it next to my mobile phone, the mobile is one of the bog standard Nokia, not titchy or anything, just normal size!

So far, the Coal Tits, Blue Tits and Robins have all sampled it, there is a slight bare patch to the top where the sunflower seeds have been pecked off.
The Grey Squirrels sniffed at it then decided it wasn't for them! (we now have 2 Greys that come down every day!)
After putting the new treat up, I literally came straight back inside & grabbed my camera as the birds were all waiting in the wings for me to disappear!

The Siskin is coming down most days now which I'm really happy about - we have 2 females visit us, I haven't seen a male with them.
However, this morning another bird came down with one of the females.

Which brings me on to the new camera.....I now have a Nikon P90 which "apparently" is better than my old Fuji, so I've been trying it out. I know I need to get used to the camera and all the different settings (there's so many!) but at the moment its just not "doing it for me"!

Below are some shots taken with the new camera including the new bird which I think is a Linnet (or a Redpoll?), please feel free to advise me which it is!

Either one is fine by me as I've never seen either so that's my new species for this month!

I did manage to take a couple of okay shots with the Nikon - I suppose I just need to get used to it a bit more.

I actually sat watching the rat on Saturday for a full hour - it came out straight after I put food down and munched its way through suet pellets, seed, nuts, apple & cheese.

It also had company for a while! This photo was taken on my old camera (through dirty windows, I'm afraid!)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stop Illegal Hunting!

Birdwatch Ireland sent me an email today asking for me to sign this petition to stop illegal hunting of birds in Malta.
I won't go into all the morbid details, I think the pictures on the site speak for themselves!

Please follow the link and sign the petition.

Thanks for your support.