Sunday, 4 January 2009

Ball-and-stick

A curious post title for some visitors perhaps but I am guessing others will know exactly who (not what) I am talking about! I won’t keep you guessing for this one though. Nope… my camera was sitting in the right place for a second consecutive day. Gosh… my pond is a popular drinking hole too. The blackbirds and robins use it regularly. Yesterday we were lucky to see the wren and today it was the turn of the…


Mm… but one long-tailed tit remembered about the little tray feeder on the branches of my tiny Acer beside the pond. I so love to see the birds weave their way through its branches down to the ground. Ah... but it got there to find no sunflower hearts in the feeders! Oops.. once it left I quickly went out and topped it up again.


The peanuts on the pine tree are a popular fast food spot too. The long-tailed tits were having tasters of almost all the food on offer today including the apples on my obelisks! That was odd to see when the blackbirds had been eating from them just before.


Ah… but I do believe we had a surprise visitor (the second ever sighting) bouncing quickly through the branches of my small pine tree this afternoon. I can’t be sure until I catch it on film. Mm… maybe its time for a guessing game now…

All photos above were taken in my garden, through a window, on January 4th 2009.

18 comments:

Lisa at Greenbow said...

What excitement around your water feature Shirl. Great photos. I can't wait to see more.

Natural Moments said...

Beautiful, Yet another little bird I have never had the pleasure of seeing in person.

Liz said...

Beautiful photos Shirl, lovely little visitors!

I just need to attract mine closer to the house... Hmmmm :D

Karen - An Artist's Garden said...

I love these little birds Shirl. At the moment our garden is dominated by a flock of jackdaws.
Great shots :)
K

Robin's Nesting Place said...

Oh, you're making me want a water feature now. Yours looks so natural.

Tricia said...

Lovely shots of a lovely little bird Shirl.

Ponds are such a useful source of water for birds. Mine has been frozen solid for a few days now and this morning (Monde 5 Jan) the ice is covered in snow. So more de-icing to do!

Little Brown Job said...

Wonderful shots! I'm not jealous, honest!

Paul.

Miranda Bell said...

These are just the most delightful little birds - I've seen lots around our garden but never on the bird table - staying up near to St Andrews at Christmas my Mum in Law has long tailed tits every day which visit her nuts... having said that we now have a nut hatch and a woodpecker which I'm not complaining about! Looking forward to seeing all your nest boxes this year... Miranda

patientgardener said...

Long tailed tits are my favourite bird - they are so cute. We normally have a group of between 3-5 of them visit most days at this time of year.

Susan Tomlinson said...

These are great photos! Is ball and stick a common nickname for the long-tailed tit, then? If so, it seems very fitting.

I love the way you've positioned your feeders in the trees so that the photos look more natural and less posed. I'm going to try that for one of feeders and see how it goes.

shirl said...

Hi again Lisa, Bernie, Liz, Karen, Robin, Tricia, Paul, Miranda, Helen and Susan:-)

Lisa – Oh yes… and a little more today too! I had no intention of posting daily at the momemt but as with GBBD records I want to post what’s current and each day has something new at the moment! I feel quite spoiled with all this activity! Come back later tonight and I’ll have another posting for you :-D

Bernie – It is a pretty bird and I’m very happy that I can share it with you. You won’t believe it I’ve another bird for you now too – come back later this evening :-D

Liz – Thank-you, they really are lovely visitors. Yes, my feeders are set up to see them from my window and this area isn’t large so it is easy to get reasonable views from the feeders. Oops… I have been known to prune some plants to help with the view for the camera too :-D

Karen – So do I, especially when they are such new visitors to my garden. I am thrilled that they pop by. Ah… funnily enough we are getting one jackdaw hanging about – it knows there are peanuts about! We are getting flocks of starlings today – I can’t imagine what a flock of jackdaws would do to my small space! Thank-you, pity I had reflection from the window in a few. It’s great that I can get anything though through the window – a much cosier way to take photos at this time of year :-D

Robin – Oh… I would recommend it! Mine is in a shaded spot and with the rain we get here, moss is just doing its thing. It is a great colour as a backdrop for photos at this time of year especially :-D

Tricia – Thank-you, I am delighted to be able to share them. I agree, although my pond is small on the surface it is fairly deep so usually it doesn’t completely freeze over. It contains many rocks that I built up the sides with. I decided to make it more of a rock pool than a pond with places for frogs, toads and anything else to take shelter in. The water is held in a standard grey plastic kidney shaped mould with shelves for pond plants. I have just filled it with rocks – oops perhaps that is a waste ;-) Hope your weather warms up a little to save you having to do the daily defrost!

Paul – Thank-you! LOL, looking forward to your weekend shots :-D

Miranda – Yes, they really are. Ah… a single LTT arrived today again – I think it is the trail blazer in trying out all the feeders! How wonderful for you to see them daily on your visit. These visitors are completely new to me so I have been thrilled to see them. Ah… I’d love to see the nuthatch although that really isn’t likely here. Fife has had some sightings. Oh… yes the nestboxes, fingers crossed this year for a successful brood. We have had a rooster in the non camera box for a few months now and this appears to be one of a pair. Of course it is keeping all options open and having a look in the camera one too. Mm… the same performance as last year I wonder :-D

Helen – I’m not surprised they are your favourites especially if you get to see them every day! Hope lucky you are. I don’t see them every day but perhaps they do visit daily too. I still can’t believe we see them here :-D

Susan – Thank-you! Long-tailed tits can actually look quite slender in the summer (so my book tells me), but in winter, when their fluffed feathers make their bodies look rounder they have a distinctive ‘ball-and–stick’ appearance. You can see why the name came about. Ah… in positioning feeders I do now consider the backgrounds for photos and videos when I put them up. Funnily enough after seeing the twine in the photos and the feeder falling to one side I removed it completely later on. I replaced it with another where the top fits properly and used small black cable ties threaded through the back and attached it to the stem a little further up. I also pruned one small branch so I have a really good view now! I would recommend trying it and some birds will then search the branches for food after too. I’d love to hear how you get on :-D

Joe said...

Hi shirl,

Great stuff. I just topped up our fat ball feeder, which the Long-tailed tits like, so hopefully we will get them again soon.

Joe

Mike - Fenphotography said...

More amazing shots Shirl, loving them.

dowhatyoulove said...

Very beautiful little bird. So much fun to see birds from all over the world. Ponds are so wonderful to have in your yard, the birdies love them!

shirl said...

Hi again Joe & Mike and hello there Stacey & Bernie :-)

Joe – Glad you like it, yes I’m sure the LTT will enjoy the fat balls. Mine are taking peanuts from feeders too. I hope you see them again soon too :-D

Mike – Thank-you! Thanks for the tech tip on ‘Noise’ in your recent posting too. I guess it would be quite powerful when you get the hang of it. I need a lot more time to have a proper look - you certainly get great results. Perhaps having so much in the background (plants etc) makes it trickier for my shots. I’d need to work round that to try it.

Stacey & Bernie – Yes, it really is. I agree with you about both the birds and ponds. My… I’ve just had a browse through your blog and you have some stunning scenic views in it! Wow, what beautiful images :-D

Mel said...

Hola Shirl,

Everytime I 'visit' your garden I get a bit jealous! hahaha

Beautiful pictures of your visitors!

Besos,

Mel

easygardener said...

I wish I could take some bird photos but I can't get close enough. I had 9 long tailed tit squashed inside my large, caged fat feeder the other day. Oh for a picture to post (lol)

shirl said...

Hi again Mel and Denise :-)

Mel – Hola, oh… the grass is always greener ;-) I love to see the birds you see too! Thank-you, I am taking all my photos from inside at the moment but I do enjoy being outside, standing still with my camera and listening to their chatters! Keep enjoying your birds :-D

Denise – Wow… I agree that would have made a great photo. Yes, I’m lucky that the area directly out of my window is the narrowest part of the garden so the feeders are reasonable close to see, photograph and video the birds. Zoom lenses and then finally a cropping can make the view look much closer too. I crop all my photos. Mm… but if you can’t get close enough views it must be tricky. Pity… I’d love to see you post pictures too :-D