We often hear them, but rarely see them. Apart from this footage from the trailcam from the recent snowy weather. I find it slightly alarming to look at, but knowing the owl is where the water is, (or an unfortunate rodent looking for same water), I’m assuming everything is ok.
It was in March 2018 when I saw my first redwing. The Beast from the East brought a blast of snow to Durham and suddenly there were strange birds in the garden. We had fieldfares too, and peering at the photos I realise I struggle to distinguish a fieldfare from a redwing from a song thrush. But I’m pretty sure they were all at the party.
And now three years on I have a trailcam and I’m browsing through the video clips. It’s snowing again, and the redwings are back again. And blackbirds. Lots and lots and lots of blackbirds. And a hoolit. Out of nowhere, in the middle of the night. Everyone needs a drink of water it seems.
The usual suspects. Nice to see the the tree sparrows having a brief meeting. But apart from that, squirrels, pheasants, magpies and friends.
Another quiet couple of days. Good to see the wren and a thrush. A couple of female pheasants stirring up the leaves, and a magpie attacks an apple. And squirrels of course. There are always squirrels.
19 Nov 2020 to 01 Dec 2020
A new spot for the trailcam. I decided to see how much it would see on the bird feeders. It took a few attempts as it’s quite hard to find a decent mount point, that’s stable and doesn’t blow around in the wind. It’s been an interesting diversion but on the whole not as interesting as I thought. Focus is problematic as the camera often wants to focus on the distance as the birds are two small. Squirrels seem ok!
Another complication was noticeable if the camera was tilted up a little. I think condensation or water is more likely to cover the lens when it’s angled upwards and this messes up the picture quality.
That aside, not a lot of surprises. Nice if you like squirrels. Grey ones. The occasional magpie, woodpecker and sometimes a nice flurry of tree sparrows. But on the whole no drama.
I think I’ll move it tomorrow. Nothing much of interest in its current spot: Squirrel Corner. Squirrels, magpies, a brief glimpse of a wren, more squirrels, and Mr and Mrs Pheasant.
A new spot. And a quiet one. This is a newly cleared area where I used to dump stuff for shredding. It’s all shredded now and I thought it would be a popular nocturnal thoroughfare. It doesn’t seem to be used much at all. The odd squirrel and magpie. The camera is tilted a little to high, so I’ll tilt that down a bit and perhaps put a bit of food down.
12 to 21 Aug 2020
This new spot for the trailcam is proving to be quite interesting. Despite being just a few metres from the house and close to the feeders it’s just out of view, and it’s surprising how much wanders by that I normally miss.
Quite a lot of scraggily looking birds. I’m not sure if they’re in moult, or juvinile birds, or both. There’s also quite a lot of the greater spotted woodpecker drinking, both adult and juvenile. I think it’s the same juvenile each time. It has quite a distinctive red dot on the right-hand-side of the nape of its neck, but it’s not always easy to see, and I suspect there may be more than one juvenile around.
Hedgehogs and mice appear in the dead of night.
The water is a huge hit. Birds that I don’t often associate with drinking from the ground level seem quite content to spend a bit of time there. Chaffinches, robins, blue tits, lots of long-tailed tits, and I’m pretty sure there’s a treecreeper that makes a brief appearance. The water depth may be a little too uncertain for them but a few of the bigger birds certainly have a dip. The greater-spotted woodpecker having a good bath at 13:10 is, I’m fairly certain, not the same juvenile that appears earlier.
There’s often a bit of background action too on the feeders, mostly Jackdaws and woodpeckers.
6 to 12 Aug 2020
I moved the trailcam. This turned out to be a good move. I moved it near a water trough and at around ground level. This spot isn’t visible from the house, or the garden for that matter. Quite secluded. It has proved to be a popular drinking spot.
There are lots of moulting magpies. Or perhaps just one moulting magpie. One moulting magpie looks pretty like another to me. It’s also possible that it’s a juvenile. There are a few sequences of a blackbird feeding its youngsters, (4:00 and 7:05), with what appears to be some peanuts that I’d scattered on the ground. Although they look pretty scrunched up I think I’ll keep the peanuts in cages until the birds are a bit bigger. A few long-tailed tits show up from time to time. I love the whirring their wings make when they fly off.
Some interesting blackcap behaviour at 4:33, where a female, possibly juvenile, blackcap approaches a female chaffinch. I don’t know what’s going on there. Perhaps it’s a juvenile looking for food. It also illustrates a conundrum I occasionally have with the Garden BirdWatch scheme. If I observe a bird on the trailcam, but not from my usual watching positions, do I add it to my records?
The juvenile greater spotted woodpecker is a regular visitor, at 8:56, then 9:58 visible on the fat-block feeder in the background, then at the water trough at 15:23, 18:03, 18:28 and 18:58. There’s a nice catch of a male bullfinch in the sunlight at 14:33.
I’ve moved the camera again. When the birds are perched on the nearside of the trough they’re just a little out of focus so I’m guessing it’s just a shade too close to the camera. And the trough needs filled. Poor birds are having to bend down a long way to get to the water. The other thing I may try and adjust is the timer. The default recording period is 10seconds, but in theory this should extend if activity is being detected, but in practice this doesn’t always happen. This can be a little frustrating if there’s activity on the camera and the recording suddenly ends.