Eee! It’s been a bit cold out there, I don’t intend to spend any more time in the garden today.
Most of today seemed very quiet apart from soon after I had dug and loosened some soil. Quiet a few worms were exposed but I had the wrong lens to get close enough for them. The Blackbird that I have put as the header image came looking for them though.
And a few minutes later so did this Robin. It did not oblige by perching on the handle of my spade.
I know I say “in our garden” but this Wood Pigeon next-door still counts, I was still in my garden. I think it was looking at the peanuts that are in a feeder hanging on the end of what looks as though it could have been washing line at one time.
One of the things I am hoping to do during this day count is have something new for each posting. Or at least to see how many days I can go with finding something new each time. As the day count goes on it is likely that I will get more and more difficult. I might find myself prodding around looking for a Wood Louse and failing. We will see how it goes. I will at least try and limit myself so that if I do post a photo of something that has already appeared it has something about it to make it worth it, such as different behaviour, i.e feeding their young, or a clarity and quality that makes a really good photo.
Today I am actually starting with birds that I have already posted photos of Goldfinch and Green Finch. The header image is a Goldfinch but the photo above shows one with grass in its beak to use as nesting material. I saw Goldfinch picking up twigs and feathers and whenever it flew off with material another immediately followed it. I wonder if that means they build a nest as a pair. This Green Finch, singing away, was out in the open and showing itself much more than when I usually spot them. They are usually tucked in the bushes and you are lucky to see an eye peering at you. Unless you have a feeder that they like.
Now onto new birds.
Parts of the dawn chorus are dominated by Blackbird song similarly in the evening. During the day you either hear their alarm call or the swish, swish as they sweep leaves aside looking for insects and worms.
At one time during the day two Great Tits could be heard signing loudly. One was in a tree in the far left corner of our garden and the other in a tree to the right in the far left corner of our neighbour’s garden. They were declaring the territory and trying to attract a mate or impress the one they already had. Several pairs of Dunnock seemed to be flying between the trees and bushes keeping quite well hidden. They seemed to be less territorial.
This Magpie was strutting about our garden pulling at stalks and twigs but they were still attached to the plant or bush so it was not having much success. One was also seen at the top of a tree failing again to get twigs for a nest. Another Magpie was near it probably regretting that it had paired up with a useless nest builder. In this photo you can see the nictitating membrane is part way across the bird’s eye.
I have left it a bit late before getting around to looking at the photos from my time in our garden today so here are some photos of new subjects quickly put together before we get to midnight.
Today’s header image is a Squirrel silhouette. When I first went into the garden this morning at 8:30 I had my long lens on and this squirrel scampered along some branches and then settled for a little while and started eating some buds. The sun was almost directly behind it creating the silhouette.
I then decided to put my macro lens on and look for something different, instead of birds and butterflies. Hence the Celandine, Bleeding Heart, bursting Cherry tree buds and Forget Me Not flowers.
I then spent a while following a Bee Hoverfly around trying to get a decent photo of it hovering above my head. You might gather that I was not successful, I am not including any of the photos here. They were a lot easier to photograph when they settled on something, as were the bees.
Would you believe I spent some time in the garden today? I watched the Blue Tits going in and out of the nest box and only once saw something like nesting material. It could of course be many Blue Tits and not one has decided to move in yet. There are no scars, tattoos, or other distinguishing features to allow me to tell one from the other. Mmm. That could mean that it was the same one every time. So nothing different to yesterday to warrant a photo of them/it.
Unfortunately all the photos of other subjects were quickly grabbed ones. This Goldfinch came low enough in the trees for me to get it. There were a couple of them high in separate trees signing away making a heck of a racket. Either trying to attract a mate or saying “Keep away, this is my territory.”
A Greenfinch let itself be seen. Usually, in our garden, they are skulking about the Hawthorn. You know they are in there somewhere but all you see is a shadow moving.
This Long Tailed Tit was nice to catch. I have seen ones like this a few times over the last few days. They get the material from somewhere further down the row of gardens and take it further up only quickly passing through our garden. I had to be quick to get that shot.
Only 3 photos today. Apologies for not having a different one to use for the header image. Perhaps I will have my macro lens to hand soon.
What another nice day it has been. A lovely clear blue sky all day. Again it was a great day for butterflies but the only one I tried to get a photo of was the comma on the underside of a Comma. Again the Goldfinches stayed high in the trees so no photos of them. I could hear Dunnocks but they kept well hidden.
Our bird box, that was used last year, looks as though it is going to be used by Blue Tits this year.
It looks like a tight fit as it flies off presumably looking for nesting material or food for itself.
Only on one occasion did it look as though it had some duvet stuffing in its beak to build a comfy nest for eggs. Here it has returned with nothing. Perhaps it is one of them returning to check on the progress the other is making. And when it is a bit fluffed up it looks as though it is bigger than the hole.
But its layers of feathers easily squash down as it slides into the nest box. At one time a Blue Tit flew into the nest and within a couple of seconds another flew in. Almost immediately one flew out. Was it a pair working on their nest or was it two birds eyeing up the nest box and one of them being sent packing?
This photo shows the comma on a Comma butterfly much better than my photo yesterday.
I say Day 1 but I don’t expect to keep count. “Stay at Home”. Who knows what excitement the next few weeks are going to bring. I have spent a few hours in the garden today. One of the tasks was to tidy up after hacking away at the Buddleia, there is no way I could use the term pruning. With a bit of luck and a lot of sunshine the bush may survive.
While I was working I also had my camera on a tripod ready to take photos of whatever took my fancy. I was quite surprised at the number of butterflies around. One of them was a Brimstone that quickly fluttered across the garden and over the fence. I have yet to see one settle in the garden so the chances of getting a photo of one are quite remote. Perhaps I will have a better chance down at Denso Marston Nature Reserve when I get the chance to visit again.
I think the first butterfly I spotted was a Tortoiseshell though. A few times one settled either feeding or sunning itself.
There seemed to be several Comma butterflies around some looked quite small. In the second photo above you can see the Comma on the underside of its wing.
A Peacock butterfly settled on out fence for a few seconds, warming its wings in the sun, before flying off down the gardens.
Blue Tits and Great Tits were flitting about the bushes and one Blue Tit was checking one of the bird boxes. There were a few noisy Goldfinch and Dunnocks around, singing from near the tops of some of the trees. But several times a small flock of Long Tailed Tits wandered through and some of them showed themselves rather nicely.