Birds from Odd Angles

As it is forecast to be another wet and windy May day (in the UK) I thought I would post some pictures I have taken over the last few years of birds from an unusual point of view in the hopes that they will raise a smile and take our minds of the miserable weather. I have already published many of these on twitter @beestonbirdman. I’ve listed all the names below but in random order as a bit of a challenge. 🙂

Drake Teal – Dunnock – Ferruginous Duck – Male House Sparrow – Baby Goldfinch – Baby Bluetit – Long Tailed Tit – Goldcrest – Nuthatch – Starling – Waxwing – Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker

New Month, New Bird!

My Wildlife Calendar picture for May is this shot of a female reed bunting taken in January 2020 at Attenborough Nature Reserve. As the name suggests their natural food is reed mace (bulrushes) but among the usual tits, finches and robins they are eager to come for seed placed on the top of fence posts and sometimes wait their turn on the barbed wire.

It is a long time since I have seen a siskin anywhere so it was a memorable few minutes when this lovely male specimen visited the garden feeder on Sunday morning (2nd). This video clip is a bit wobbly as the camera was hand held and I was trembling with excitement 😎

I was able to take several still shots until a pigeon startled it and it flew to the feeder on our apple tree. Siskins are members of the finch family. In the garden this year I have only observed a couple of goldfinches, a single redpoll and now this siskin representing the finches. I am keeping a lookout for chaffinches and greenfinches to take the score up to five.

It is now about 30 days since the last two eggs were laid in the NTU peregrine nest which means the eggs should be hatching soon. I will be observing the nest at every opportunity and you can by following this link. Peregrine Nest Cam | Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust

Garden Action Compilation

In the last week or so there has been a steady flow of birds visiting the garden. Some have been gathering feathers left by a wood pigeon’s encounter of the furred kind (a cat) and the coconut feeders have proved universally attractive. We have even had a jackdaw tucking in.

After seeing a male house sparrow in the garden for the first time recently I was pleased to see his mate gathering feathers with him as you can see in the video clip above.

I thought this goldfinch was also gathering nesting material but it was actually feeding on the dandelion seeds.

Close up of one of our regular jackdaws on the feeding station

A Double First in the Garden

This afternoon (Thursday 29th) we had a visit from a female great spotted woodpecker closely followed by a male house sparrow, both first sightings in the garden for 2021.

The lack of a red patch on the back of its head identifies this bird as female. I am particularly please with this sighting because in 2019 we had a whole family of GSW’s visiting the garden feeders (see below) and now this one has found us she might her brood for some free food.

This triptych is made up of some of the many views I had of the GSW family in 2019. The juveniles have the distinctive red cap which fades as they mature and the male sports a red patch on the back of his head. A different version of this picture was published in Birdwatching magazine which was a small claim to fame. 🙂 In the right hand picture you can see the holes drilled in the post which I fill with a peanut butter mix to attract woodpeckers in particular.

While processing the woodpecker pictures the other new visitor popped in for a drink, checked out the coconut shell contents and then tucked in. Though I often see them in nearby hedges, house sparrows are infrequent visitors to our garden.

Telling Tails

Hi again . Here are the wetland birds that I challenged you to recognise from just their tails. How did you get on? Some were harder than others but that way we all learn a bit more about our feathered friends. Percy Parrot

There will be another quiz again soon. Meanwhile keep a look out for summer migrants.

Greylags and Grebes at ANR

A pair of greylag geese in synchronised flight.
This brood of goslings numbered about ten. Note how the parent birds are on watch. At least one of them will be head up at any one time.
I am presuming that this group of grebes consists of two males and a female and the males are fighting to establish dominance. The tussle was brutal and the female joined in as you can see. Eventually one of the males was driven away. I have never witnessed this before.
And finally my first swallow of the year sitting alone on a wire. It was a fair distance away hence the less than perfect image. Aristotle said, “One swallow does not a summer make” but we know it’s on the way. Let’s hope it’s a warm one and free of any lockdown restrictions.

Information about formatting

I do my best to lay out each posting in a neat and tidy manner but sometimes the email notification that you receive squeezes the images and text into a narrow format which undoes all my careful formatting. My last post, the ‘tails’ quiz is a particularly extreme example. The only way round this is for you, my faithful followers, to view the actual post in your favourite browser at By the way we seem to be getting viewers from all over the world. Recent new countries are Philippines, Singapore, Hungary, Latvia and the first one from S. America, Ecuador. Some of these arise from me mentioning the blog on Twitter @beestonbirdman. Thanks to all followers and viewers and stay safe. BB 🙂

Tails from the Wetlands

Hello there birding buddies. BB has devised another quiz for you, this time it’s all about tails. You could easily identify me from my rather swish tail (I think it’s my best feature hm. hm.) but can you identify these feathered friends from just their tails? Just one clue – they are all found in, on or near water. Percy Parrot

That’s all folks. See you in a few days with the answers 🙂

Peregrine’s Progress (3)

Some action shots of the Nottingham Trent University Peregrines.