June 18th — June 24th
It’s been an incredibly busy week in the garden. Dozens of young birds are visiting the garden, the blue tits and great tits now joined by young robins. Generally the plumage on young birds is similar to the adults, the main differences usually in intensity of colour. For the blue tits the blue crown is grey when young and the white contrast has yet to develop, the face and breast having a yellow wash.
Robins, however, have a completely different plumage as youngsters and look almost unrecognisable.
There is no sign of the red breast and the whole bird seems covered in spots. There’s good reason for the lack of red as the territorial robin’s bib warns off competition. Once the red colouring arrives, the parents will chase off their youngsters.
All the adult birds visiting the garden are looking a little bedraggled. They’ve been working hard to bring up their young and don’t get much time to preen.
The squirrels, recently absent from the garden have returned in greater numbers, so much so they have been eating more than we can cope with from the feeding station. To protect the food source for the young birds, we had to take drastic action with a squirrel baffle on the pole.
It’s turning out to be quite effective. There is plenty of other food around in the garden, so I don’t feel too bad.
Other notable visitors not spotted in the garden before include a pair of collared doves and a frog (or possibly a toad). I’ll be keeping a lookout for the frog to take a picture. In the meantime, here is one of the doves in the tree at the end of the garden.
At the extreme end of my camera’s capability due to the distance, this shot doesn’t show much detail, but you can still see the distinctive black collar.
It’s amazing that 20 weeks have gone since I started this project. The time has flown by. It’s been a fascinating study and a rewarding photography project right on my doorstep. Not to mention I’ve learned a whole lot, not only about the plants and animals, but also about getting good shots.
The biggest realisation has been the need for patience and persistence. Wildlife won’t sit around and wait while you take your shots so you need to keep shooting and looking for opportunities all the time.
I’ve also got to know my camera much more intimately. As it’s a model I’ve had for less than a year, getting to know it’s foibles is a huge boon.
If I could give a budding photographer one piece of advice, it would be to start a project like this where you get to use your camera every single day. The knowledge and skills you’ll learn will improve your shot taking astronomically.