TonyQ

TonyQ's Year (A beginner's tale)

440 posts in this topic

Posted (edited)

I am not a birder.

So why am I starting in “My Big Year”? I have enjoyed watching, and photographing birds on recent trips abroad, most recently in Kenya. I would like to carry on that enjoyment in the UK, and learn more about birds. I think this will give me an incentive to get out and take pictures of birds (it already has). I am putting in the Scientific names to educate myself. The common name is the name used in the UK (as far as I know!).

 

My skills at identification are not very good – so I will make mistakes in this thread. I will begin with very common UK birds. I will put in more than one picture because I like them.

 

1. Robin Erithacus rubecula

The Robin is supposed to be UK’s most popular bird

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Earlswood, nr Birmingham 23.02.2016

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 25.02.2016

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 25.02.2016

 

The Robin is also a regular visitor to our garden

Edited by TonyQ
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2. Great Tit Parus major

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 07.03.2016

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 07.03.2016

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Our garden, Birmingham 29.03.2016

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3. Blue Tit Parus caerulus

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 07.03.2016

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 25.02.2016

(I put this second photo in because I think it shows its character)

 

The Blue Tit is also a regular visitor to our garden

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4. Chaffinch Fringilla coelebs

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(Male) Our garden, Birmingham 27.02.2016

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(Female) Our garden, Birmingham 19.03.2016

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5. Goldfinch Carduelis carduelis

post-45513-0-09912100-1459247711_thumb.jpg

Our garden, Birmingham 14.02.2016

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Our garden, Birmingham 12.03.2016

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Our garden, Birmingham 29.03.2016

These are regular visitors to feeders in our garden, sometimes coming in a “Charm” of 10 or 12 birds

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Posted (edited)

6. Siskin Carduelis spinus

post-45513-0-59236200-1459247897_thumb.jpg

Our garden, Birmingham 19.02.2016

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Our garden, Birmingham 05.03.2016

Edited by TonyQ
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7. Long-tailed Tit Aegithals caudatus

post-45513-0-18700500-1459248018_thumb.jpg

Earlswood,nr Birmingham 23.02.2016

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 23.02.2016

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Our garden, Birmingham 07.03.2016

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8.Dunnock Prunella modularis

post-45513-0-13430800-1459248310_thumb.jpg

Our garden, Birmingham 14.02.2016

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Our garden, Birmingham 19.02.2016

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9. Nuthatch Sitta europea

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 07.03.2016

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Earlswood,nr Birmingham 07.03.2016

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Well done for getting started @@TonyQ

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@@Tdgraves

Thank you - I thought I should make a start on the Year before April :)

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I am not a birder.

 

So why am I starting in “My Big Year”? I have enjoyed watching, and photographing birds on recent trips abroad, most recently in Kenya. I would like to carry on that enjoyment in the UK, and learn more about birds. I think this will give me an incentive to get out and take pictures of birds (it already has). I am putting in the Scientific names to educate myself. The common name is the name used in the UK (as far as I know!).

 

My skills at identification are not very good – so I will make mistakes in this thread. I will begin with very common UK birds. I will put in more than one picture because I like them.

 

~ @@TonyQ

 

Nor am I a birder.

Which hasn't ever prevented me from enjoying birds in Kenya and in South Africa as integral aspects of safaris.

Ha! I'm delighted that you've opted to post multiple images of the species you photograph...because I like them, too.

I've never known much about British birds. Thus I've greatly appreciated the shots which @@JohnR has posted of birds visiting his yard.

While your thread may likely encompass birds seen while on safari, by all means share the U.K. birds, as they're mostly “exotics to me”.

As Mr. Kipling wrote: “The wildest dreams of Kew, are the everyday facts of Kathmandu”. In your and my case, the geographic polarities are reversed.

Thank you so much for posting these.

Tom K.

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You may not be a birder but you have some lovely birds visiting your garden.

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Glad you´re participating as well, Tony. My motivation for starting was very similar to yours. We do have pretty much the same birds visiting, though I´ve never seen - or noticed - a Dunnock. Particularly like the Goldfinch, one of my favourites. They never come to my feeders, what attracts them? And what focal length were you using?

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Posted (edited)

@@Tom Kellie

Thank you for the encouragement. It is helpful to know that some of our common birds are exotic to other people. I think they are as beautiful in their own way as more spectacular birds. As I get over the initial enthusiasm I may switch to one per bird!. I will post birds from Kenya but I wanted to start with the UK!

@@Geoff

Thank you!

@@michael-ibk

Thank you - I hope it will be a good motivation. I was interested to see the similarity between the birds you have and the ones we have. (And that you used the "English " name for them rather than the "German".)

Goldfinch are very keen on Sunflower Hearts - they arrive in numbers, sit on the perches and remain there, pecking away and dropping bits on the ground. Other birds - like Blackbirds, Wood Pigeon and Dunnock recognise the arrival and sit underneath picking up the scraps. Grey squirrels are also keen to benefit from this!

 

All pictures so far (and probably in the future) were taken with Canon 70D and the 100-400 MarkII - almost all will have been taken at 400mm- but a few like Robins and the Blue Tit (portrait) were at about 300mm. I also crop freely! Almost all the ones in the garden were taken through the window.

Edited by TonyQ
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@@TonyQ It's a festival of British birds. Lovely.

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@@Tom Kellie

Thank you for the encouragement. It is helpful to know that some of our common birds are exotic to other people. I think they are as beautiful in their own way as more spectacular birds. As I get over the initial enthusiasm I may switch to one per bird!. I will post birds from Kenya but I wanted to start with the UK!

 

 

All pictures so far (and probably in the future) were taken with Canon 70D and the 100-400 MarkII - almost all will have been taken at 400mm- but a few like Robins and the Blue Tit (portrait) were at about 300mm. I also crop freely! Almost all the ones in the garden were taken through the window.

 

~ @@TonyQ

 

That sounds like a very workable arrangement for photographing the birds calling on your household.

Are spotting duties shared between you and @@Thursday's Child?

I come a cropper often...at least as far as wildlife photography goes.

You share with @@JohnR the use of your kitchen window as a ‘hide’ for viewing any garden visitors.

Were I in Birmingham the mischievous little boy in me would want to toss a helmeted guineafowl into your garden to give you a start!

I agree with you that it's awfully nice of @@michael-ibk, @@xelas and others to very kindly append English common names to their images.

Thank you for sharing the shooting information.

Tom K.

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Well done, @@TonyQ ! I like your post a lot, as those birds from #1 to #8 are exactly the same species I am seeing also in our garden when doing the so-called "balcony birding" (with a camera, of course).

Only thing is, yours must be much more tame than ours ... or you feed them better :) .

 

This "Big Year" is an awesome idea as trying to ID a bird from a book is sometimes a real PITA and comparing the photos is much easier!

 

Also please add a photo or two of your garden feeders ... I am still trying to understand which approach to implement. Thanks!

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@@xelas Thanks for your comment about the ST Big Year. I thought it would be a great idea to encourage birding and entice more of us to take it up and share their photos. Whether from Africa or wherever you may be in the world.

 

Edit. Obviously The Big Year is not my idea, find out more about it here. There's even a film based upon the premise.

 

Matt

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Posted (edited)

@@Game Warden

Thank you for your kind comment - and the idea has encouraged me to look more closely at birds and to photograph them!

@@Tom Kellie

We both like watching birds in the garden - it is a treat to be able to sit and see them

@@xelas

Thank you - it is interesting to hear that you get similar birds in Slovenia

Here are a couple of pictures that show the feeders

 

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These hang from a central pole - they are filled with Sunflower Hearts. We now have 3 of these -it was 4 but we tried a different sort on the advice of @@Tdgraves and @@Zim Girl - they said it would attract Long-tailed Tits (it took 3 or 4 days to work!)

 

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This has a block containing suet (animal fat) mixed with seeds. Blue Tits, Great Tits and Coal Tits seem to like it as well!

 

We also have water in the garden

Edited by TonyQ
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Nice, and thank you, @@TonyQ . Mine are still the old fashioned small wooden houses; time for replacement. A water fountain/basin maybe?

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@@TonyQ, i guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, but it seems to me as if the common European garden bird is more colourful and attractive than the ones here where I live!

 

Excellent sightings and photography!

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Posted (edited)

@@xelas

That sort of feeder is available here - but in our household we call them "squirrel tables" as Grey Squirrels climb up and eat everything :)

We have a couple of waterbaths and a very small pond

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Waterbath

@@Peter Connan

Your birds look pretty colourful to us! Thank you for the kind comments

Edited by TonyQ
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Really enjoying your beautiful photos @@TonyQ - they're taking me back to my childhood days although I don't recall ever seeing a siskin in our garden.

 

Hope you don't mind me going a bit off topic but seeing the dunnock made me recall my sister running into the house back in the early 50s saying "Come out quick - there's a huge bird in the hedge sparrow's nest!" Hurried out but nothing there so Mum and I thought she'd been imagining things. A while later the dunnocks were run ragged trying to keep the feeding up to a demanding cuckoo fledgling!

 

Looking forward to seeing these garden birds again in August when back in the UK. In the meantime looking forward to more.

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@@TonyQ - beautiful photos.

 

That last photo in the waterbath is amazing, and the robin shots are beautiful.

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