Nature in Motion

My friendly long tailed tit landing

My friendly long tailed tit landing

This photo is a fluke but I love it.  I had been hoping to get a photo of my cheeky, but very friendly, fledgling long tailed tit as he pays his daily visit to my door.  I snapped quickly with my phone and this is the result.  It is literally as he is landing and it looks as though his feathers are screeching to a halt.  He is still learning how to fly after all ~ And I’m still learning about photography!

One of the things I love about blogging is communicating with fascinating people who enjoy the same things as I do.  Recently, through various posts, I have discovered that Sarah Longes who blogs “One Day at a Time” at Mirador Design, loves garden birds as much as I do. Recently we were conversing in the comments section about all the fledging birds we have in our gardens.  In mine there are robins, blue tits, blackcaps, blackbirds, pigeons, sparrows, chaffinches and a very cheeky long tailed tit.  This little bird is a bit of a rebel.  While all the others are happy to hop about under the apple trees or sit on the fence, this sociable little bird gets very close and personal on a daily basis.  His mother must despair of him. He shows no fear, but great curiosity, as he flies right up to my french windows and perches on the door handle.  He seems to enjoy watching me as I potter about the house and when I sit down by the window he stares straight into my eyes.  It truly is amazing and I have got so used to it that I look forward to seeing him now.  I will be really sad when he grows up a bit and flies off to pastures new. I promised Sarah I would take some photos of him so here they are.  They qualify in a post on ‘Motion’ as they show my little bird landing and getting ready for take off.  I love the blurred one as it literally caught him as he landed and it looks like he had to do an emergency stop!

My last group of photos are from a day out by the lake yesterday.  While my husband was enjoying his fishing I was amused by a family of ducks.  There was a mother and father and 9 ducklings which were obviously very young.  8 of them were very adventurous and wandered off all over the lake but one seemed quite nervous and often stayed very close to mum.  It was charming to watch so i took lots of photos of the ducklings in motion.

The Cuckoo Returns

Cuckoo signals the arrival of Spring in UK

Cuckoo signals the arrival of Spring in UK

Children back to school
Spring holiday is over
The Cuckoo returns

This morning I heard a nearby cuckoo for the first time this year from my garden in the UK. It is amazing to think that many of these cuckoos have wintered in the Congo, having endured tempestuous weather in Europe, flights over the Sahara desert, and droughts in many places, since leaving the rainforests of Africa. They arrive in the UK between the end of March and mid-April. As everyone here knows, they lay their eggs in other birds’ nests and then abandon them to the care of the resident bird. Once hatched, they take over the nest, being so much bigger than their host. They especially like the nests of meadow pipits, dunnocks and reed warblers. This is a bit worrying for our local garden birds as we have a few Dunnocks as well as lots of Blue Tits, fat pigeons and some Robins.
The cuckoo is a dove-sized bird with blue grey upper parts, head and chest with dark barred white under parts. Because of their sleek body, long tail and pointed wings they can be confused with kestrels or sparrowhawks. The male and the female are similar and the young cuckoos are brown. Cuckoos are in decline so I suppose we have to protect them even though we don’t like their squatting habit!
They do of course herald in the spring and for that we are truly grateful
Links you might find interesting:
http://www.arkive.org/cuckoo/cuculus-canorus/
http://www.bto.org/science/migration/tracking-studies/cuckoo-tracking

Eggs ~ Haiku

This post is nspired by Haiku Heights prompt word which is Egg.

Fast food for fledgelings

Nesting under bleeding heart

Five healthy chicks hatched

robin gathering mealworms to feed its young

robin gathering mealworms to feed its young

Naturally at this time of year there are birds nesting and I am lucky enough to have a variety of birds in my garden.  We have watched fascinated as a pair of robins burrowed a nest into a large plant pot where they successfully reared 5 chicks.  We have also seen Blue Tits nesting in one of our bird boxes.  I am very lucky to have a variety of bird boxes all hand made by my clever daughter.  She adapts them to different species of birds and they seem very popular!

Vacant possession

A luxury detached home

Built for a blue tit

My Blue Tit's Bird House

My Blue Tit’s Bird House

The first thing that popped into my head was not the birds nesting in my garden!  It was the Russian Christmas at Chatsworth House that I went to a couple of years ago.  Chatsworth is a gorgeous stately home set in beautiful Derbyshire countryside.  It is beautiful to see at any time of year, but especially so at Christmas when every room is transformed according to a theme.  The Russian Christmas appealed to me as I love Russian culture and crafts.  The photo shows a room filled with hanging eggs decorated by local school children.  It is a Russian tradition to decorate eggs, usually at Easter, as a celebration of life and a promise for the future. The eggs are called, ” Pisanki”

In coldest winter

Celebrating life and hope

Pretty pisanki

Decorated eggs at Chatsworth

I Decorated eggs at Chatsworth

Youngling

Invading my space
Busy Blue tit emerges
Eco warrior!

Blue Tit

Blue Tit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was amused to watch a blue tit flying in and out of a small hole in my brickwork. I thought he might be nest building, but actually he was helping himself to my cavity wall insulation then flying into a nearby bush to line his nest! Whatever next? Central heating? Solar panels?
blue tit 2

blue tit

Blessed by the birds

I am sitting by the open french window reading my favourite blogs when a tiny little wren pops in through the door.  This is amazing as yesterday another little bird flew in throught the same door.  I was sitting reading and saw a bright yellow streak flash by my newspaper.  It was a young female goldfinch.  It settled down beside my chair totally oblivious to my little dog, Dayna, sitting beside me.  I was so worried that Dayna might hurt the bird that I put don my hand to chase it out.  The little goldfinch grasped my fingers and let me carry it out into the garden.  It showed no signs of being willing to fly off so I tried putting it on the bird table with some food ~ but there it sat staring at me.  Popping back onto my fingers I moved it to the bird bath thinking some cold water might jolt it into flying away.  But no, it seemed quite happy to sit there and watch me.  At last I got my camera to take photographs of it as it posed.  It was a big burly pigeon who eventually frightened it off.  I was thrilled to see it soar into a nearby tree.

Was it newly fledged and unaware of danger?  Was it disorientated by flying indoors?  I don’t know but I will always be thrilled that for a few minutes I was able to get so close to such a beautiful creature.

goldfinch on my hand 2

goldfinch on my hand

Goldfinch on the bird table

goldfinch on the bird bath