Grumpy Redstart

It is very rare that I get an opportunity to take a picture of male black redstart. I see them all the time, but they are restless and they never come to the feeder. This one was moving around the feeder, although he did not eat the seeds – he used the surroundings for vantage points to spot insects in the grass. And he stayed a few times in one place long enough for me to take a picture.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

That last picture gives me the impression of an old grampa looking disapprovingly at me. Something about the line between the black and grey feathers above the eyes gives him that look.

Tiny Vegetable Patch Inspectors

The inspectors are tiny, not the vegetable patch. That is quite huge (over 40 square meters). It took me 1 hour to plow it all and that knocked me out for two days. Now I am breaking the dirt lumps and making the beds for the veggies which I expect to keep me busy for a week. Last year we had only one huge patch with potatoes, this year it will be split into several small ones for peas, onions, beans, and cucumbers.

And today when I had my lunch break, several small birds came to inspect my handiwork and feast on earthworms and insects brought to the surface – the redstarts are back, a sure sign that spring has really begun. These birds never come to the feeder, they are strict insectivores and they really enjoy the vegetable patches after the rain or when the surface is disturbed.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

I assume that these are all black redstarts Phoenicurus ochruros, because those I usually see around here. But there might be some common redstarts Phoenicurus phoenicurus among these four pictures this time or even all of them. These are all females and those are hard to distinguish, species-wise, for me. Today was one of the rare instances when I have also seen male common redstart, but he, unfortunately, whooshed before I got him into focus.

Kites are Back and Tempting Again

Red kites returned from their winter vacation south and are circling our house daily. Regularly staying in one place just long enough that I manage to fetch my camera, but not long enough to take a picture. So this is a so-so picture from a few weeks ago. I also hear daily their typical cries, so even when I do not see them, I know they’re there, somewhere.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

Tits in Front of my Window

Not my window, but rather a window belonging to Avalus, who says,

Now I can finally make a tit-joke posting.
The pair just would not want to get close enough to each other. Cute little critters they are.
Also, a blackbird got in on the action.

©Avalus, All rights reserved.

©Avalus, All rights reserved.

©Avalus, All rights reserved.

©Avalus, All rights reserved.

Birds on Snow

I will post some pretty birds from this winter in due course. So the weather in the pictures will not always correspond to the actual weather out here.

However, these pictures were taken today. The winter tried to reclaim the land and we had several days of wind, snow, and freezing temperatures. I do hope that the seeds that I have planted in the greenhouse survived.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size

Can You Identify This Pretty Little Bird?

Avalus took some good photos of this little guy, but he hasn’t been able to identify what type of bird this is. My bird guides are North American, so not really useful to identify a European species, but I bet that one of you can help us figure this out. Leave us a comment with your ideas.

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

©Avalus, all rights reserved

The Last Birds of Winter

Ahh, my friends, Spring is coming. We actually had a “heat wave”, with more than 20°C in February. Climate change will be no fun, but there’s nothing you can do about an early spring day but enjoy it. The pics here are a few weeks old, but I didn’t get around to post them. BTW, <b>Charly and rq</b>, the cranes are on their way. I sent them with greetings for you.

©Giliell, all rights reserved A little wet siskin

©Giliell, all rights reserved Not a siskin, but a wet yellowhammer

©Giliell, all rights reserved A female sparrow. We’ve got lots of them, but usually behind the house is tit territory and they keep t the hedges in front of the houses.

©Giliell, all rights reserved While taking those pic I thought “that’s actually the weather when the hawfinches used to come” and look who made her appearance.

And then we had a very rare visitor, and they didn’t want to stay for an extensive photo shooting, so I only got one halfway decent pic:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

If you ever wondered what the back of a sparrowhawk looked like…

Bramblings Whoosh

This year we have snowy winter. The snow came late, but it came in droves. And with plenty of snow also came bramblings, a flock of about 30 individuals. They returned multiple times, and I have managed to get some pictures, although the light was less than ideal.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

Goldifnches!

These were very welcome visitors – about 8 to 10 of them. Last year I have seen no goldfinches at all, the whole year. A small flock last week made me really happy.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.

© Charly, all rights reserved. Click for full size.