Category Archives: Birds

I know, another sunrise. We take the vistas where and when we can get them. The second image is a tree full of Long-tailed Tits, although I don’t know if you can make them out. They’re tiny. They move from tree to tree in a cloud of endless excitable chirping and twittering, it’s amazing and very joyful to hear. This is only the second time that I’ve ever seen them, and there’s every chance that it’s the same flock as before.

I’m still getting the hang of this new bird photography technique; my problem at the moment is getting the shutter speed, depth of field and angle right. Obviously, since it is by remote, I have to plan it ahead. Birds being birds, they’re never quite where you want them to be for a photo, and some – but not all – species get frightened by the shutter, so they scarper as soon as they hear something.

A Chaffinch
A Robin

So that’s why the remote images are not so sharp. I had this suspicion that perhaps my lens needs calibrating, but other things are sharp, so it probably means that my shutter speed is too low for the rapid movements of birds, or the point of focus isn’t quite where it needs to be in any given photo relative to the subject (the bird in the photo).

I got a new remote for my camera, so that I can operate it from a distance, from any angle. It also means that I can get the camera right up to the birds, and from interesting angles. I’m still figuring out what works; for example, the shutter noise bothers some birds. Magpies don’t like that the camera is there at all (no bad thing – they’ll probably try to steal it).

At last, a photo of a Dunnock. Next up, I’ll try and get a photo of squabbling Goldfinches.

The cheap remote. It sits on top of the camera.

It is Rowan berry season, which can only mean one thing; masses of Starlings facing off against the mighty Thrushes, who jealously defend their chosen trees from other birds. The Blackbirds get in on it too. Even the Magpies stay clear of this mess. I had noticed the Thrushes starting to gather some weeks ago, although the berries were far from ripe. But they knew. Photos from last week:

An upshot was that I discovered that the Starlings could, after all, get into the feeder cage without too much difficulty, although I noticed one anxious youngster hopping around outside, wondering how the adult got in so easily.

Also, I got new feeders. I gave up on the bottle conversion strategy. It’s never going to compare to a proper feeder, even a small cheap one. One of them is a Nyger seed feeder…

…which promptly brought Goldfinches into the garden. Beautiful little violent thugs. They’re not interested in anything else, even peanuts. One paid a visit a month or two ago for a minute, but that was it. Nyger seed, however, is for them like peanuts for every other bird. They’re constantly squabbling over the two stations now.

The other feeder empties very quickly, but… I don’t think that the Tits are eating all of it. I suspect that there will be a very thick lawn there before long.

The first photo is how I found it, the second, how it should be. I noticed that the bottle wasn’t hanging as low as it should. The second is how it should be. The Magpies had pulled up the string and looped it around the post, which isn’t a trivial job, in order to get it up and stop it swinging so that it would be easier to get to the other side and get the seeds out (which aren’t really suitable for Magpies, but they never stop trying). When I first put it out, they tried to undo the knot and get it off the hook, so they decided on this as a plan B. I am impressed.