Freezing February Birds

It’s February and it’s freezing and being a bit of a fair weather nature watcher I’ve not been out much – other than to constantly top up the bird feeders and defrost the bird baths of course! So it’s been a month mainly of bird watching through the window or via the cameras in the garden. Our array of camera gadgets is slowly growing. Trouble is with each one you get, you tend to want more; or at least that’s how it seems in our house. No matter where we’ve got cameras pointed, there always seems to be something more interesting happening elsewhere in the garden!

Anyway like much of the country we’ve had snow yesterday and today – not a huge amount, but it’s never really got above freezing here.  So it was a nice surprise to download the trail cam in the afternoon and find a pair of goldfinches had visited our new niger seed feeder. Sorry the video is a bit dark, but it was snowing!

Goldfinches in snow

Inspired by our intrepid goldfinches, I got round to sorting through some videos we’d taken in the garden in the last week or so, to see what else I could find.

We’ve got a new GoPro camera which can be remotely activated using a phone. Perfect on a cold day for sitting on the sofa hitting record whenever something interesting appears. I’ve been trying out different angles and distances to see what works best. This video was shot with the camera only about a foot away from the action.

Garden birds

This next video compilation was the GoPro again, but this time filmed from a greater distance looking down. The greater distance does of course give a wider field of view and I think  the GoPro lens may be a wide-angle one too. You can still see lumps of ice in the bird bath although I had already taken two kettle loads of warm water out to defrost it.  Lots of different species of birds have been using the bird bath in this cold weather though, so it’s well worth thawing it out.

Bird bath birds

This next little compilation was filmed with the GoPro strapped to a branch next to some of the feeders. The GoPro has the advantage here over the old trail camera in that it is much smaller, making it easier to position closer to things. You can strap it to twigs that would be too thin to support the trail cam.

Peanut feeder

But I have not abandoned my old faithful Bushnell trail cam. I had it pointed at the same feeders, but from a different angle. I was really chuffed that it filmed a couple of the siskins that we’d been so excited to see the previous week. It also picked  up the female blackcap, although the male still eludes us. It was nice too, that between the two cameras, there was footage of 3 of the 4 species of tit we get in our garden – blue, great and coal. The long tailed tits as usual refused to perform for either camera.

20180227-205811

One final surprise the cameras threw up was a visit from our squirrel – trying (but failing) to get into the peanut feeder.  I suspect he managed to get some of the other food out of shot.

Most of our regular bird species show up on one or other of the remote cameras but not all. So sometimes I just need to get off the sofa and sit in the garden with a “proper” camera. These jackdaws are regular visitors to the bird table and are particularly keen on the suet pellets. It does look slightly oddly like the one on the right is taking suet to the table rather than taking it away?

The wren of course seldom deigns to feature on the trail cam/GoPro videos. But this week he/she was more obliging than usual and did allow me to get a few shots. None perfect, but recognisable at least.

It even sat for a while preening itself, hence the next sequence of three “rumpled” looking photos.

So although it’s bloomin’ freezing, there’s plenty to watch in the garden. The bird feeders are busier than ever, so hopefully our garden birds will make it through this cold spell.

One final photo – a bullfinch, just because they are such gorgeous birds. Not actually taken in our garden but about a mile away near Chris’ work. He was feeding on wild cherry blossom buds at the weekend and he’s just too beautiful not to include in the blog (the male bullfinch I mean, not Chris!).

 

11 thoughts on “Freezing February Birds

  1. I’ve got a Bushnell trail cam but only use it for watching the hedgehog, find it really difficult to put anywhere to watch the birds. We have put it on a tripod before but would only use it whilst we were at home as it can easily be seen and would worry about someone pinching it! 😦

    Will check out gro pro though!

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    • Yes we use the Bushnell a lot for the hedgehogs. We’re lucky that our garden isn’t really overlooked so we can leave the trail cam out on a tripod for days without a problem (touch wood). The GoPro we’ve got would be no good for hedgehogs as don’t think it’s got night vision – but there may be versions that do have it. Battery life on the GoPro is not very good which is a bit of a problem too. The one we’ve got is waterproof though so looking forward to doing some rockpooling with it! Whatever you choose it’s fun to see what you get in your garden isn’t it?

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      • Sadly our garden has a cul de sac right behind it and its like being in a goldfish bowl 😦 Although tiny we are lucky enough to get a few hedgehogs, great spotted woodpeckers and other birds as its not far from woodland/fields/park so we should be grateful!

        I love checking out the trail cam but just lately its been a big fat cat (not my big fat cat) eating the hedgehog food! He’ll eat anything it seems!

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      • We have a similar problem Our own big fat cat stays indoors, but we have a few skinny neighbourhood cats who can squeeze into the supposedly cat proof hedgehog feeding station we made!

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    • Get a ground spike rather than a tripod. So much easier to use and can be wrapped in bark to make it more camo if needs be. I use a gorillapod to attach my bushnell to branches and that works really well too.

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  2. Pingback: Freezing February Birds — Too Lazy To Weed | By the Mighty Mumford

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