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Back yard birding thread... (Corona virus restrictions)

Game Warden

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A long-tailed nightjar at 5am this morning, hence the poor light. But I was buzzing because it was so close by, and it was calling away. it behaved like a bee-eater, a few times it flew straight ahead caught something and returned to the same spot. 



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  • 2 weeks later...

On a rainy day in the UK Midlands I wasn't expecting a lot from my kitchen window but I left my camera on the counter just in case. Both hand held through double glazing that needs a clean inside and out :rolleyes:









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Nice @JohnR I saw a spotted woodpecker in our garden for the first time this year last week, as well as a wren, which evaded my attempts at toilet hide photography!

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Another rare visitor at this time of year. The reed bunting adults were around in May. Taken in very gloomy conditions between showers at ISO 6400, f5.6, 1/320, 400mm handheld; I like the graininess in the background.




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For ages I've been seeing *finches and and a few *tits. In just a few days on some of the more miserable days I'm suddenly seeing some of the more rare garden birds. Now where are my pair of bull finches? It's an age since they put in an appearance.



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I should have put this up when I posted the nightjar. this was a video clip I made of it calling and moving on the lamp-post that same early dark hours of the morning. It's not called for the past week so I think it's not around - i hope it is safe somewhere else and will come back soon. 




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i will swap you 2 of my bullfinches for a lend of your Nuthatch @JohnR

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  • 2 weeks later...

I waited a while for this kookaburra in my neighbour's tree to cooperate by moving clear of the intervening branch to no avail.




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Admittedly not in my back yard but in the paddock just over the road from my house




Little Pied Cormorant, Wood Ducks aka Maned Goose and a Mudlark joining the party






Then a White Ibis dropped in


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  • 3 months later...

Well given that we are still stuck birding pretty much locally I thought I'd revive this thread. We've had a mega-rarity in my local birding patch, Green-wood Cemetery. This is a Western Tanager which should be, well, out west! but we've had a lot of strong storms and westerly winds these last few weeks. In fact several rarities have blown in lately but we usually don't go chasing too far, this one was a few blocks from my house :)


It was a New York State bird for me, although not a life bird as we've seen them in the western USA and in Mexico.


I've actually gone back three days now to get the best shot I can manage...the bird doesn't like to sit still for more than a fleeting moment!


Day 1




Day 2. He's been frequenting this yew and drinking from holes made by Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers (a type of woodpecker we have.)




Day 3--the best so far--but I'm still not satisfied.




With folks still in lockdowns across the world, maybe we can resurrect this thread...


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All 3 look great @janzin - rare birds and sunshine, who needs to travel overseas?

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  • 1 month later...

So as we lurch into lockdown again, we are restricting our walks to our local nature reserve-which we can get to from the house, and which is no harsdhip at all.Last week we managed to see little, Cattle and Gt White Egret in one walk-in fact the Cattle egrets just needed to move two more fileds closer and we could have added them to our garden list!

there is usually one Gt White Eret now and often up to 3, so here is one we saw yesterday in the gloom/fog, as well as a confidin Redwing, and just because I like it a robin in Winter light!

We try to walk at least up through the villiae and on days when I don't take the camera, are often treated to a patrolling Red Kite . And when we moved here 20 years ago, i would never have dreamed of hearing and seeing Ravens from the back garden!





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Here we go, I've been spending sometime exploring my backyard (or actually my neighbour's), neighbourhood and closeby parks. Kept an eye out for birds, especially since a brief sighting of a kingfisher. After doing some research, I picked a park where kingfishers were regurlarly seen and where they created a place where they can nest (obviously not the season now, but a good place to search for them I guess). My goal was to find a kingfisher, if I was really lucky, photograph one.


Besides finding a kingfisher, my goal was also to practise taking pictures of birds. I noticed I quickly reach the limits of not only my skills, but also my equipment. I have a Canon EOS 500D with a lens up to 270mm. Which is sufficient for filming (more zoom will result in unstable footage), but I guess for bird photography you want more than 270mm. Skills can be trained, so I'll do my best to get the most of the equipment I have.


I started in my backyard, where I lost the restraint of photographing into other people's backyards when I saw this blackbird in a crabapple tree two backyards next to mine. I loved the setting of the bird between the bright red apples.



I really loved this photo seeing it on my phone. A bit disappointed to see all the noise on my laptop.


Despite hiding behind a fence, I scared the bird after this one picture. So let's get on a bike and explore the neighbourhood. Larger birds are easier to photograph, so I hopped off my bike and slowly walked up to these Egyptian geese.




One was putting up a display, spreading it's wings. Which I liked as it makes a better photographing challenge and more interesting image.
















The goose reminded me of a stewardess, pointing out the exits of the plane. I must really miss flying :D  


I decided to leave them and ofcourse that was the moment they took off. Just managed a quick photo of the second one in flight.





Once in the park, there were a lot of birds to be heard. But taking a picture was a different story. I took some pictures of ducks, just to check my settings and experiment a bit. But I wasn't here for ducks, so started searching for the kingfisher. Then something blueish caught my eye. Would I spot one within 20mins? Ofcourse not! But I did followed the bird with the blueish color. It was too big to be a kingfisher, but I discovered later this is a Jay (sorry, I'm a complete noob with birds)






Here you can see my zoom isn't helping much, the bird is still blurry and small. I also took my wife's camera (Panasonic Lumix 60x optical zoom or 20-1200mm). Unfortunately the Jay was gone before I switched gear.


My wife's camera helped to get birds closer, but I lacked a bit of knowledge how to change settings. But I realised if I would like to shoot smaller birds, I needed the zoom.


There are many Magpies in my neighbourhood, but they are so skittish! I can't get close and they won't come close. Wonder why, they are quite a large bird, so would expect them to be a bit more relaxed around humans.


This Magpie was having a snack - btw, maximum zoom with the Lumix camera.



I think it was a pity the sun disappeared, everything looked so dull underneath a cloudy sky. But this walk wouldn't end dull for me. I didn't find my number one target, but then I did find a bird I really didn't expect to find: a great spotted woodpecker. It was hidden in the bush, but I could clearly hear it and soon found it. I was so excited! Don't know how common this bird is, saw it in an update of @JohnRas well (who took a way better photo then I did). It was really nice to see this bird, especially when pecking a tree, had never seen that in real life before.















I really liked walking around on saturday and sunday, paying more attention to birds than I've ever done. I was looking around in my neighbourhood with new eyes, learned names of birds and appreciated them as an exotic bird although some might be quite common. I think I own Blue Tits a huge apology, as I think I've been calling them Great Tits many times before, but now I've learned the difference.



I'll be the first to admit my photography skills can be developed a lot. But seeing your supersharp photos of birds, I wonder what gear you use? For example, @Towlersonsafariyour Robin looks so good, I just don't dare posting my picture of it. ;) 

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I did enjoy your post @LarsS until the end but! I am the last person to ask for advice! But I will say that I use an Olympus micro four thirds mirror less camera and the robin was shot with a second hand Olympus 300 f4 a lens @PeterHG uses with great skill. I think it gives a great combination of ease of use and lightness. But I am more of a bird watcher than photographer.

It is fun to see what is in one's local patch

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With the return of winter, birds are gathering around the feeders.  


But first of all, two pictures taken at the end of the first confinement :


Eurasian magpie




A bee, I guess




The last two years, goldfinches have appeared daily, in my garden, in appreciable quantities, up to fifteen together.











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Lovely Goldfinches @Bush dog.

I believe the insect is called a Hover fly.

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there are, my book tells me, 281 species of hoverfly in the UK @Peter Connanand @Bush dog and very few have English names-but i like the idea that it could be  the Marmalade hoverfly

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One of the harmless but very frustrating and silly   lockdown activities I tried to persue last year was trying to photograph flying insects! the hoverfly above reminded me and so, and please forgive me, here is a flying damselfly, and a flying  hoverfly !11

Looks like I will have plenty of time to try to improve this year



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 Grey Fantail in the Tamarisk in the back garden today. Very active birds but one of my favourites. The build a beautiful nest like a stemmed wineglass without the base.





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Still around the feeders


Great woodpecker




Blue tits








Green finches






Great tit





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