Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Watching at the Reserve

Taking gardenwatching a step (car/bus journey) further, watching birds and wildlife outside the garden can be great fun. There's always a chance to get sightings that you may never see in your own garden. Capturing photos and video can also become a challenge too. I am guessing that many Nature Reserves were busy over the long weekend.

My daughter and I took a trip up to SWT Loch of the Lowes last Sunday. At just after lunchtime, the small car park was almost full. Luckily we got one of the last two parking spaces. Walking inside the Visitor Centre, we even queued to show our ticket! The Osprey story probably brought everyone in.


Click on photo to enlarge it.


It was quite different two weeks earlier when we had visited then. Capturing photos and video through the observation window can be tricky. Fortunately there was little movement inside - people walking around and their reflections showing in the window. I was able to capture some okay window shots shown in the montage above. Part of the problem is that depending on where we sit the angle through the glass varies and so in turn do my images. That’s my excuse anyway :-)

On both occasions (in my own garden too) numbers of Siskins visiting the feeders were what was catching everyone’s eyes. I heard at the centre that they were likely to be feeding up before they headed off again. Funnily enough, I’m sure we have seen juveniles in my garden during the summer which would suggest that they don’t all migrate.

Red squirrels I have never seen in my garden… sadly not ever likely to either I’d take a guess. Lol… maybe I should invite Gordon Buchanan and the Springwatch team to investigate! However, even after after finding my first bird’s nest at age 8½ yrs on the day we moved into a new house, the red squirrel is my first wildlife memory. I lived further North then. I really enjoy seeing them at this Reserve especially as they run around a woodland setting.

Woodpeckers, Jays, Yellowhammers, Treecreepers and Bramblings are others that I have only seen there. I had no idea that the Jay was so big nor the Yellowhammer so bright yellow! Although books do suggest that the Yellowhammer is brighter in the winter.

As you might expect, I also enjoy chatting to other visitors (and staff) at the Centre. However, I’ll not chat on here tonight. Instead, I’ll let my video below give you a flavour of what we saw at this Reserve. For anyone familiar with the Centre layout, I was sitting to the right hand side of the window.

For a change, I have used the audio swap feature with my upload. I can’t control the volume with this so if you are sensitive to noise you might want to turn your speaker volume down a little as it may be louder. However, I am very pleased with the final result so I hope you enjoy it too :-D




For those who can’t view this video it ends with the image below. This feeder regularly appears in the live feeder camera image. You can see the tail of a red squirrel. The squirrels often disappear inside this type of feeder. Shortly after, it comes out and runs across to the tree trunk, down it and off along the ground.




Pine Martens can be seen at this feeder too although not at the moment. Something must be keeping them away. Feral cats have been suggested. However, back at the end of October 2008 I visited on a Pine Marten Evening and was very lucky to see one feeding on the ground not far from the window.

I have recently uploaded these videos to YouTube and the quality has improved greatly. I thought I’d share one here again. As it was whisper quiet at the time of filming I removed all sound and added no extra music.




Back in my garden, as I write this, it is almost midnight and I am watching my outside night camera image live on the top right of my monitor. I have been hoping to see hedgehog visits to my feeding station and hedgehog house. No sightings tonight so far but I have seen them over the last few nights. Mm… it appears that I'm not the only one gardenwatching either!



Just about to switch of the PC... guess who came to visit? Markings on this hedgehog suggest it is our first regular visitor!


The photo montage shown above was taken on March 26th 2010. The video and screen grab was taken on April 4th. The Pine Marten video was taken on October 30th 2008.

7 comments:

Shady Gardener said...

Was there peanut butter in the tree for the chaffinches? (beautiful birds!) The siskins are pretty... they remind me a bit of our Eastern goldfinches, although I suspect our birds are a bit smaller. We do see Pine Siskins periodically... usually elsewhere. Great Post and videos! Thank you!

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I get so excited seeing the birds of your area. I sure wish I could see them in person. They are gorgeous. That rascal of a squirrel. The tail tells the tale.

Dan said...

Hi Shirl
I love the picture of the squirrel with his tail sticking out, giving the game away.
Sounds like you had a great day at the reserve.
Best wishes
Dan

Layanee said...

Birds are so interesting to watch with their frenetic antics. You are the Queen of wildlife video.

shirl said...

Hello everyone, apologies for being so long to get here. I’ve been caught up with stuff since this posting and been busy in the garden in the evenings too. Hoping you have been enjoying your gardens too :-D

Shady, the peanut butter wasn’t specially added for the chaffinches. It is in another area too where woodpeckers enjoy it. I think it was originally added for them. They are pretty especially at this time of year. Thanks, especially glad you enjoyed the videos. I was pleased with them both :-D

Lisa, it is always a treat to be able to share our birds with you. Perhaps one day you may see them for yourself. These red squirrels are truly endearing little characters quite unlike their grey cousins :-)

Dan, Lol, yes that video screen grab was part of a long clip. It was in the feeder for ages and most of the time the tail was fully inside too but you could see it through the feeder window… as you say giving the game away! We always enjoy our visits there. I see you’ve been out and about too. I’ll be over to see shortly :-D

Layannee, I agree there… they really are. Wow thank-you for your compliment! I was a little longer than usual making the first video but was especially pleased with the result. I hope everyone was able to play it as it does capture the feel of a visit like this quite well :-D

Midmarsh John said...

Don't know how I missed this post until now. Love the videos and great to see you have hedgehog activity.

shirl said...

Hi again John, glad you caught this one. Delighted you enjoyed the video. I had fun with that one :-)

Since this posting I’ve seen very few hedgehog visits. Guess they are still coming as the food goes… although the birds have discovered the Manor now too ;-)