Thursday, 29 November 2007

The frantic and the serene

Today I managed to get out into the garden for a little while to do some tidying up. It was a lovely day to be out in the garden and we even had some sunshine in the morning! Just before I put on my gardening boots I stood at my back door with my camera, inspired by Mike’s photos, to see if I could catch the Starlings that have started visiting my garden in groups once again.

Frantic behaviour can be seen when they drop down at speed to the feeders. The other birds scramble about trying to get out of their way but at the same time trying to hold their ground too! The young groups of Starlings squabble frantically amongst each other – as if the food would disappear in front of their eyes. They are tricky to catch with the camera when they visit like this and although not a perfect capture I loved the photo above showing three Starlings just before they scoffed the sunflower hearts below!

Serene though was the Blackbird in comparison as you can see in the photo below. It takes longer to assess the situation at the feeders and will feed with the Starlings. It even looked at me for a moment and I do believe it was making some sort of gentle call – perhaps to a mate?


Louder calls were then heard overhead and I looked up to see a group of geese possibly en route to my local nature reserve or perhaps coming from there heading to the fields for feeding. I can never decide if they look serene or frantic! I was surprised to see this group as thousands have flown across my garden but I haven’t noticed many recently. They really are quite a sight to see when they fill the sky in their hundreds but I have noticed that the smaller groups like today do fly quite low which now makes me think that they were looking for food.

The photos shown above were taken in and from my garden on November 29th 2007.

13 comments:

Jane said...

Beautiful photographs. I haven't seen a starling in my garden for months - and yet down the road they roost in a large stand of bamboo on a housing estate. I must go down there and take some photos when they come in to roost. I guess they must be feeding in the nearby fields... they certainly don't fancy my bird feeders!

shirl said...

Hi again, Jane :-)

Thank-you! I have had them visit for a few weeks now. I get quite a few when they come too usually 15 plus. You should have seen them in the spring feeding their young .

I have found that the Starlings never turn down a fatcake . Perhaps you could try that but beware you may get more than you'd want!!

I hope you get photos of them roosting that would be interesting to see :-D

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Hi, Shirl. We have quite a few geese around here at our neighborhood retention ponds. I'll post pictures of them in a few minutes on my blog. They are quite the sight when flying in formation overhead, and noisy too.

Jan said...

Wow, lovely photos Shirl, especially the geese, bearing in mind they were obviously moving.

A wildlife gardener said...

What a cornucopia of delights You have each time I visit, Shirl!

Thanks for introducing Mike's blog to me. I visited his and commented today...amazing photos of wildlife there, as you say. We had a long association with Martin Mere too, so his photos of that post brought back happy summers we spent there with our boys.

I love your blue-coloured flowers and plants post...borage and gentians are two of my favourite plants. I pick a few heads of the beautiful star-shaped borage flowers and put them into ice cubes which I use in the refreshments on Christmas day!

Your videos of the birds in your garden give me such a feeling of joy, I can't quite find words to describe. The little wren , coal-tit and blackbird were such a deligh.

They are too quick for me so far...but I feel inspired to try to capture them on video sometime.

Finall, thank you once agin for mentioning my blog in one of your posts. Today is my first blogging birthday, so it was a great present :)

A wildlife gardener said...

I should re-read my comments before I post them...such a lot of missed letters today. I will need to press harder on the keys! Must be old age creeping up :)

A wildlife gardener said...

Oh! Those greylag geese remind me of the years we took our boys to Vane Farm. then we moved to Barleycorn...and many thousands of greylag geese visit us every year now! I hope to do a video of them over the winter :)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

We have thousands of starlings that nest in the area fields. A few usually find our feeders during migaration. Then a few winter here for awhile usually when it gets realllly cold and are forced in town to the feeders. The Cooper's Hawks love them.

Your blackbird is very handsome. Is this the male of the one you have shown previously? Do you have more blackbirds other than this one in your area?

Jane said...

It's funny - we get all sorts in the garden. I have five feeders and a fat feeder... but still no starlings. I have a theory that they have so much food in the stubble fields round about, that my garden feeders aren't really of interest. Lots of other birds love us.. but not the starlings! Hope you got my email as well.

Barbara said...

I like your bird pictures very much. Now that I hang up the various bird feeders, we can watch them also a bit closer from inside. At the moment there are just sparrows and great titmouses coming.

shirl said...

Hi again, Robin, Jan, Wildlife Gardener, Lisa, Jane and Barbara :-)

Robin – I’ve just looked at your post and completely understand your comments about chemicals getting into your retention ponds. Your photos of the geese and ducks look great and I too hope the water is safe for them. Yes, I too have seen many formations go over my house and I generally hear them before I see them :-D

Jan – Thank-you! Yes, the geese came so quickly over my head that I struggled getting them in shot at all far less anywhere near focus. They really were flying quite low over my house roof :-D

Wildlife Gardener – Thank-you! I try not to be too predictable! Yes, Mike has some great photos and how nice for you to have a connection to his photos of Martin Mere. Yes, true blue flowers are just fantastic. Ah, the videos, I really enjoy making them and it is fantastic that I can share them in this way. It is always a surprise what I actually catch with my video – I should always expect the unexpected! You are most welcome for the mention in my post and congrats again on your first blogging birthday :-D Ah the geese and the reserves like Vane Farm are a great place to take children and introduce them to nature. I will look forward to seeing your videos :-D

Lisa – That must be quite a sight to see thousands of Starlings in the fields. It must be nice to see some visit your feeders too. I noticed a number of birds feeding in a field near me last week - I might try to get photos the next time I see them. Yes, the birds of preys could have easy pickings when the Starlings are out in smaller groups! Yes, that is the male Blackbird and they really are quite handsome. I am not certain how many Blackbirds visit my garden but on average every morning I see, from my window, seven to nine running around the ground and some watching from my hedge too. They do fight and chase each other! There are males, partial albino males (white feathers on their heads), young males in their first winter with black beaks, juvenile males with feathers still changing, females and young females. Quite a community!

Jane – Yes, you are probably right the Starlings are probably happy in the fields. Oh well, on the positive side however at least they still have fields to go to in your area and are not forced to find food at garden feeders. It would be nice if a few visited though :-D

Barbara – Thank-you! Sometimes the birds seem to take a little while to explore new feeders in my garden. Now that you have some birds coming to them I’m sure many more will soon follow. It would be nice to see photos of the birds in your garden in your blog :-D In the past I too put out food in the winter months and I had no idea how important it was to feed the birds in the spring and summer when they are feeding their young. I cannot believe I saw so many different young birds visit my garden then. I will now put out food out all year round :-D

Crafty Green Poet said...

lovely photos, your blackbird looks all spruced up as well as serene!

shirl said...

Hi again, Crafty Green Poet :-)

Thank-you! Yes, he does doen't he - quite the gentleman :-D