Monday, 10 January 2011

Gone again... white returns

The fresh green fern of my last post is well hidden again under a blanket of white. However, with this latest blanket of snow (lasting 3 days and with it cold temps) a very unexpected bird visitor arrived in my garden last Friday. I was very lucky to spot it but it does make me wonder who else has popped by when I haven't been garden watching.


~~~ Fern, not so fresh and green now ~~~


~~~ Sedum, flower heads looking pretty decorated with snow ~~~


~~~ Sedum pot on Saturday, now hidden under
a huge mound of snow after a second night of snow
and from clearance around cars and driveway. ~~~


With my whole garden well covered in snow again, on Saturday morning I was out early clearing snow in my back garden so the areas of bird food already on the ground could be found by the birds again. I then sat by my window with breakfast and a notebook with the intention of doing a bird count. Mm… that didn’t exactly happen.

Counting the birds in my garden on Saturday was a bit of a challenge… I really did try. Instead, I picked up my new video camera (Christmas gift) which I am still trying to get the hang of. I thought I’d try and capture a flavour of one area of my garden with its frantic feeder activity.

Please note, there is background music with this video.


Sunday morning revealed yet another downfall of snow and all the clearance of the day before was nowhere to be seen. I’ll be honest… I‘m getting a tad fed up of snow now.

Once again, before breakfast, I went out to my back garden to clear areas for the birds to find food and to top up the hanging feeders that were so popular on Saturday. Sunday however, saw little gardenwatching.

Snow clearance of my front garden became a priority yesterday in order for cars to be moved this morning. We also cleared a small area of our street (as other neighbours had done too). Still having high, iced mounds of snow from previous clearances (since the end of November) getting rid of snow is a challenge. We are grateful that our neighbour is happy for us to throw snow on his lawn.

Talking of Challenges, back in December I mentioned fellow Blogger Andrew at Tales of a Wessex Reiver was running a (just for fun) Christmas Birding Competition. Poor Andrew has been quite unwell over the hols and didn’t manage to do any birding at all. Great to hear you’re feeling human again Andrew, here’s hoping you make a full recovery :-)

Andrew is still planning to collate any results he gets (deadline Midnight this Friday) and plans to post them on Saturday 15th. He’s asking for results to be left on this post with some basic details of the area of the count. For my own records I’ll also add mine here.

Christmas Day saw 12 species of bird from my garden. In order of appearance they were: Chaffinch, Blackbird (including partial albino), Woodpigeon, Great tit, Brambling, REDWING (that was the first sighting ever. It was perched on my neighbour’s cherry tree. No photos or video), Blue tit, House Sparrow, Herring gull (flying over), Starling, Buzzard (flying over) and Jackdaw (distant tree).

Bringing the total number of wild bird species seen from my garden (between 00.00 on 25th December and 24.00 on 1st January) to 18 came: Robin, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Coal tit, Siskin and a Sparrowhawk.

I was delighted to see so many species in my small garden and the Redwing had me sitting at my window for ages after as I wished for it to return (having my cameras at the ready this time). I keep looking, but as yet have not seen it again.

Finally, I have kept the best ‘till last, special as it was, the Redwing wasn’t the very unexpected bird visitor I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I went to the Birdforum for confirmation of my ID for this one.

I am thrilled to say I had my video camera running this time! Although, I am still a bit shaky with quick action (not familiar with the settings on this new camera) and the footage is a tad shaky and only lasts a few seconds… I have it on record that a Reed Bunting visited my garden!!


Please note, there is background music with this video


I’m guessing the Reed Bunting followed the large groups of Chaffinches visiting my garden at the moment. The Bramblings are still visiting with them too. I have to say, I’m absolutely staggered at the number of bird species that can visit a small garden.

This male Reed Bunting has brought the total number of bird species in my garden (which I have seen) to 29. In all honesty… pre blog I would never have thought that possible. It just goes to show (especially in winter) what can be seen if you put food out for birds.

Win, win... the birds get extra food sources to help them survive the cold and from the warmth indoors we have Bird TV to enjoy. Enjoy the Channels in your garden just now :-)


For those interested, I am now using the SONY HANDYCAM HDR-C115E video camera and editing my videos with Pinnacle Studio 12. I still have lots to explore with both :-)

12 comments:

Orchids and Nature said...

Another imformative blog. I see that your new camera is HD the results look great.

Midmarsh John said...

Brilliant results from the new video camera Shirl. Well done on spotting and capturing the Reed Bunting.

The other day I sat down and worked out how many different species had visited here so far this month. I had thought maybe a dozen and was surprised to find there were twenty.

shirl said...

Hi David and John, thanks for your comments. I am pleased with my camera so far.

Through cost considerations I opted for HD over a better or similar zoom. I’m hoping I made the right call. My old optical zoom was 40x and this one is 25x. I could still use my old camera for zoom at a push to capture something although I could see I would be less than happy with the quality now.

John, I agree it is surprising. Twenty is great, with the Reed Bunting, I guess I am looking at 19 here at the moment (I had 18 for Andrews Christmas Comp). I bet many birds will be on a weekend break to the Countryside for the RSPB count ;-)

Lisa at Greenbow said...

A Brambling AND a Reed Bunting. WOW To get to see them on video makes me almost feel like I got to see them too. What fun. As you watch your garden your yard list will grow. It just goes to show you have a wonderful habitat for birds.

Liz said...

Hi Shirl,

Lovely to see the Bramblings and Reed Bunting, very exciting indeed - I've never seen either bird!

Sorry to hear you've got more snow, we got some last week that was gone by the next day thankfully! But it did scupper my plans to go out... It did bring in a Male Chaffinch which was a first for this garden - last year I had females but it's always been a species that has (seemingly) avoided me... I also had two Songthrushes:)
And recently I've seen a return of the Bullfinches! yay.

lotusleaf said...

Very good video shots although you are not familiar with the camera.

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

Hi Shirl - I still have not seen our grass since the end of November and I read that you too have those dreadful piles heaped up on the road next to your home aswell as us.

I've not been able to garden watch that much but delighted that you finally got a Reed Bunting in your garden. I remember the video you did last year from Loch Leven that featured a little RB.

I must watch out for some RB's. One bird that I have not seen yet is a Mistle thrush. We had them in the garden this time last year and they look so beautiful when in flight.

Anna said...

What a special visitor Shirl ~ you must have been delighted. That cherry tree looked as if it was alive with birds!

fer said...

Very nice post! is great being able to see them. I look forward to more videos from your new camera

Shady Gardener said...

Winter's blossoms - birds! :-)

shirl said...

Hello everyone, I’m delighted that you’ve all enjoyed the videos :-)

Hope you’ve all had a good week. I’m delighted to say we have rain today, the snow paths and piles are shrinking back and the garden is returning properly for the first time since the last week in November… Yay!!

Lisa, I agree with WOW, I never would have imagined this last year at this time :-)

Liz, I can’t believe our luck I have to say! Great you’ve seen Chaffinches. They are the top garden bird here in Scotland. Yay… to the Bullfinches… I’d love to see them. They would be another first :-)

Lotusleaf, thanks :-)

Rosie, yay… you’ll be enjoying the rain too today I suspect. We’ve been the same with snow here. Good memory, Rosie! Yes, that was the first time I had seen the RB along that river bank. Yes, not seen the Mistle thrush here this year either. Spotted a Redwing though :-)

Anna, I was and that tree has been mesmerising with birds - especially when the sun is shining on it. The just sparkle as they go back and forward :-)

Fer, thanks. I’m really looking forward to trying my new camera out on a garden visit now :-D

Shady, very true, couldn’t agree more:-D

The Wessex Reiver said...

Thank you for your get well soon comments Shirl. Great to see the Reed Bunting on the feeders, they'll come in when the weather is bad. Also heard of a woodcock and grey wagtails at feeders over the bad weather in December - like you i'm longing for some warmth on my back and the first signs of spring