I often receive photographs of birds from members of our local group. Most of them have been taken on group field trips – using long lenses and expensive cameras. So it is nice to be able to show some “pics”, taken in gardens, with phones and compact cameras. Pam and Ted sent me several shots of this goldcrest, taken through a window, and only 2 feet away! And the first they have seen in their garden. A really splendid little bird, clearly showing the crest and the diagnostic pale area around the eye. And it is working hard to find food. This will be a breeding bird – so somewhere nearby there must be a conifer with a nest and young. We rarely see goldcrest and never this close so I decided to find out more. The Kent Breeding Bird Atlas 2008 – 2013 estimates that there are between 30,000 and 60,000 pairs in Kent! Well, we know where one pair is – but where are all the others?
Peter took this photograph of a male sparrowhawk having a wash in the garden pond. Gardens are the best place to get good views of sparrowhawk. In the “wild” we generally only get a quick glimpse of a rapidly disappearing bird. Sparrowhawks started appearing in our gardens about 15 years ago having previously suffered a huge decline associated with the use of DDT. So it’s nice to have them back.
Sally took this picture of a starling. They really are beautiful birds. It was waiting patiently for me to feed live mealworms to our house sparrows. As soon as the mealworms hit the ground it was off and had picked up about 6 worms before the first sparrow arrived! I don’t mind really but my mealworm supplier tells me there is a supply shortage and they are “rationing” customers. Don’t tell me, tell the starlings!
Thanks to all for sending the pictures.