Identifying birds by sound…

… is like dancing architecture. Or something. Yesterday I managed to go for a walk, the first one this week. As I was standing in a clearing I heard a strange bird call, getting louder, coming towards me. Since it flew against a light sky all I could see was the silhouette: Small head, size a bit bigger than a jay, slender. Relatively small wings. And I had its call. If human voices are unsuitable for reproducing bird songs, human letters are so bad it doesn’t even make sense to get started. The best description I could give is ” sounds like your V-belt needs replacement” and if you put that into google you get 1.000.000 hits for V-belts.

I finally found a site with bird sounds that allowed you to browse by families and going from the size and shape I could finally identify it as a green woodpecker.

green woodpecker

Maybe it was even this fellow?

I also found out that the mysterious bird I’ve heard so often but never have seen is a black woodpecker.

Wednesday Wings: Hunting Kinglets

Kinglets, or more specifically goldcrests, are the prettier cousins of our common wrens. They aren’t exactly shy birds, although they don’t like too many people in the woods, but they move fast in an area with lots of bushes and twigs. I know a spot where I have good chances of spotting them. Taking their picture? The work of Sysiphus… The big lens needs a lot of light and the autofocus needs time. Given the terrain, chances are good that the bird is long gone once it has found that particular twig*.

So here are my results of several hunts.

kinglet

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The best shot, though I don’t recommend “click for full size”. It is grainy, since the ISO went through the roof, but shooting birds at less than 1/125 is impossible anyway.

*I could still bite my own ass for not having waited a few months longer until I had enough money to buy the “sports” version…

And now for a whole row of “I should have put superglue on the branches”…

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Walking in a Winter Wonderland, part 1

This is going to be picture heavy and more than one post, but they’re all so magical.

We didn’t get snow, but some serious hoarfrost which created the most wonderful things.

bird

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First shot is what happens when you forget to switch your camera from “artificial indoor light” to “natural light”, though I do like the blue tint it produced.

erica flowers

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Erica blooming in pink and white

hoarfrost

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hoarfrost

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frozen spiderweb

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frozen stalks

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pond

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Monday Mercurial: Bunnies don’t care for Christmas

But they did like a few days of dry weather so they could go out and munch some grass.

bunny

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Fleckchen is now almost as big as Molli and definitely as mischievous. In spring my dad will have to remove their hutches and close all their lairs and hiding places.

bunny

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Molli didn’t want to pose for a picture.

bunny

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Fleckchen didn’t care as long as I didn’t step on his grass

bunny

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Wednesday Wings: The Story of the Kinglet

©Giliell, all rights reserved. Click for full size

In German, a wren or kinglet is known as a “Zaunkönig”, the king of the hedges, and this is how he got his name.

One day, the birds decided to crown a king. They wanted the strongest bird to be their king so he could protect them, and they decided to hold a competition. They would all fly towards the sun, and the bird who could fly the highest would be their king. They all flew as high as they could. First, the small birds needed to return to earth. Then the geese and swans. the falcon flew very high, but finally he had to give up. The eagle flew higher and higher until the sun burned his light plumage to a dark brown. Finally, he was at the end of his tether and turned around. But the small king of hedges, who was still called by a different name back then, had hidden himself between the feathers of the mighty eagle. He had waited for just that moment, and when the eagle turned around, he came out, flew a bit higher and sang his triumphant song, declaring himself king.

The eagle was very angry at the cheating little bird and swore to kill him. The little king of hedges flew into the thick hedges to hide from the eagle, who was named king by the other birds. He keeps hiding there to this very day, but he still sings his song about beating the eagle in a flying competition.