Saturday, 4 May 2013

04/05: THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE UGLY (and other stuff)!

Since my recent post observing that the garden birds have been less active at the feeders - things have gone rather manic and we've had to restock all the feeders today - 28 new fatballs and 3 large bags of sunflower seeds.  That should keep them happy for a while.    It is obvious that the birds (particularly the robins) are finding plenty of bugs and worms etc but they are still stocking up on seeds and fat in between. 

The Good ... ie, my favourite visitors

male woodpecker (Great Spotted)

Well, you've heard the expression 'water off a duck's back'  -  the Blackbirds and Robins really appreciate their baths so I've always got lots of bowls strategically placed round the garden.   The reason I have a rusty pot stand in the water is that we've had some really windy days recently and this is the easiest way to anchor the trays down.

still on the good .....

The two parent robins are our busiest garden visitors just now.  They obviously have some very demanding mouths to feed and they are first on the scene in the early morning and still hunting and darting about in the early evening - they are prolific hunters and when they can't find enough bugs they peck at the fatballs.  They are rarely still and we just get flashes of bright red feathers as they flit around the garden.

For obvious reasons though I'd prefer they stopped using the top of my rotary clothes line as a viewing point - OK when the line is folded up but not good news when I have washing hanging out!

Goldfinches on the Niger seeds today

and on the sunflower seeds - spoilt for choice!

NOW for the BAD ... and I bet you already guessed who earned this tag

Note the empty seed feeder ....

When we are home, and watching the garden, we chase the squirrels off.   But this new generation have absolutely no fear, or RESPECT for humans.    When they see us approaching they casually grab another handful of seeds and retreat to the hedgerow behind our garden ... and wait for us to disappear indoors again.  They treat it (and us) as a huge joke I'm afraid.  

and the UGLY  although I feel a bit mean calling him ugly as he's a very sad looking specimen right now.

You may recall I photographed a balding blackbird a couple of weeks ago.   I think the consensus of opinion was that he was suffering from feather mites - a condition which should hopefully disappear when he goes through 'the moult'     In the meantime however, he tends to hide himself away.     I got some fuzzy pictures of him today when he ventured into our front garden - light wasn't good I'm afraid.

Here he is doing his vulture impression:

Just compare him with the blackbird taking a bath earlier in this post ..... I really hope that after this horrible season he comes back as a big handsome blackbird next year and has a very happy life 

now for the 'other stuff'

We've had the Good, the Bad and the Ugly .. now for the plain stupid

most birds take the sunflower seeds and then wipe all the sticky residue off on the tree branches/twigs, but this greenfinch managed to get a seed husk stuck to his face/beak and then spent 5 minutes pulling all sorts of faces and trying to just shake it off ... there's always one isn't there?

now just a few odds and ends  

on Wednesdays David and I work as volunteers at Pilgrims Hospice eBay office.   On our way home from Canterbury we passed a small park edged with trees.  One of the trees had been chopped down but the stump had been left and this carving done in the trunk - not the best photo as we were on a dual carriageway and I 'snapped' this through the car window

Perhaps next trip I'll be able to get a better photo - and it looks as though the artist/sculptor has carved their name above the figure.

But how much better than just chopping the tree completely down which would be normal council procedure

me, playing 'silly wotsits' at Stodmarsh nature reserve on Tuesday ... it was very bright, but very cold
This is me and my shadow ... and 3 dandelions

David had my 'old' camera and captured me 'on a mission' to photograph something I'd seen up ahead

and another couple of swan pics ... just because I love these wonderful birds

OK that's it for tonight.

The commission/portrait schedule has been slightly rearranged so the Singapore dogs will be done when I'm back from holiday and despatched with the horse I recently completed.

Still on the drawing board is the double dog portrait which I should be getting feedback on this weekend so will finish that next week.  Then a double cat portrait - to be started before my holiday and completed when I'm back home.  

I have been 'playing' with a couple of coloured pencil small drawings recently - trying out different pencils/supports and as time has run out for me to start a new picture/entry for this year's UK Coloured Pencil Society Exhibition I may submit one or more of these practice pieces - who knows, they may make it past the jury although I haven't spent much time on any of them.    I've had work entered into this annual International Exhibition for the last 6 years so would hate to miss out - the deadline and exhibition have been moved forward slightly  this year


  1. Great pics as usual, Sue. If you ever decide to give up painting, you could make it as a bird photographer!

  2. Fantastic bird photos Sue.
    My 'Bad' vote at the moment is for the Magpies who are driving the poor blackbirds crazy, trying to rob their nests....the shouting blackbirds make one heck of a din. I do out and chase the magpies away but like your squirrels they are back as soon as my back is turned.

  3. Thanks Jan. As you can tell I love snapping away at the birdlife in the garden but could never do it professionally - all that special camera equipment/lenses/tripods ... saw enough of those at the nature reserve last week. Although I envy the clarity of the photos these guys achieve I know I don't have the patience (or the skill) to do the same. I'm a 'point & snap' photographer

  4. Hi Bev
    We had lots of magpies at our previous house and they are a pain (but very handsome).
    This year we've seen an increase in magpie numbers in the garden but not enough to cause a problem so, touch wood, hope that doesn't change.

    I don't think blackbirds are very good at building nests in 'safe' places but I've read that they do have up to 3 broods of 5 chicks per year to try to compensate

    I've also read that woodpeckers and squirrels are as predatory as magpies where eggs/fledglings are concerned - nature can be cruel but blackbirds are definitely on the increase here so they must be learning some survival techniques

  5. Love all the bird and squirrel pix. For a point and snap girl you certainly achieve some good results. When are you off to Fuerte again?


  6. Well, since posting my comment yesterday, the Magpie won and now the poor Blackbirds will have to start again. :-(

  7. Thanks Jo. Our garden wildlife fascinates me (as you can tell). Off to Fuerte next Monday (13th) so lots to do before we go ...

  8. Oh Bev, what a horrible shame. Hope the next nest is built somewhere safer and they get to raise a brood.

  9. love the birdy pics especially of them having their bath - very jealous that you have woodpeckers in the garden - oh that poor blackbird - hope his feathers grow back bless him - he must be embarrassed showing himself!


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