Garden Wildlife

Let’s get this out of the way from the start: this post will contain images of tits and peckers. Whether that helps or hinders the popularity of this post remains to be seen. (Although an early tangent from the off: when I used to maintain a daily photo blog, that served to only post a single image a day from my archive, the most popular search term that drove people to the site was ‘naked ladies’. Because I once posted a photo of a a statue in Twickenham called The Naked Ladies and apparently a bunch of I assume young people, tentatively searching to see certain things, found my website instead.)

As I may have noted before, for the last few years we’ve lived in, or at least very close to, the countryside. This means we live amongst some interesting wildlife the sort we never saw in Twickenham. Back there, the most exotic wildlife we saw regularly were parakeets. Which I suppose are actually technically sort of exotic, other than the fact they’ve become endemic to that part of London. I like to believe the urban legend that they all stem from a breeding pair let loose by Jimi Hendrix.

In Sussex, however, we see all sorts of things. We even had a badger waddle past our house, although I didn’t get a chance to photograph it. The most common thing to see though are birds. Blue tits, starlings, even birds of prey and woodpeckers have all been seen from our house. (I should probably point out at this juncture my criteria for inclusion in this set is simply that I was able to photograph them from my house.)

During lockdown, we put out bird feeders, originally a little concerned that, rather than bird feeders, they’d end up just being cat feeders with extra steps. In reality my cats are all clearly spoilt and all useless hunters – in fact, we once had to buy a no-kill mouse trap because one of those idiots brought a mouse into the house and it got away from them. The biggest problem we had with the bird feeders was that the little birds we were hoping to attract were often hounded out by bigger birds like pigeons and crows. Luckily the little ones still managed to get some grub.

1/400sec, f/5.6, ISO 3200, 300mm
1/500sec, f/5.6, ISO 2500, 300mm
1/100sec, f/5.6, ISO 800, 300mm

This fat ball feeder was positioned such that the bigger birds had nowhere to stand in order to get at them. It meant there was actually some for the smaller ones.

1/125sec, f/5.6, ISO 800, 300mm
1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/250sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm
1/160sec, f/5.6, ISO 200, 300mm
1/400sec, f/6.3, ISO 250, 300mm

Not all of the birds we’ve seen have been tempted to our garden by our own actions. One day, during lockdown, when we were sat at out desks in what is now our son’s bedroom, we saw a woodpecker from the window.

1/320sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

Who apparently knew he was being photographed as he ensured that I also got a decent profile shot.

1/400sec, f/5.6, ISO 100, 300mm

We’re going to change tack a little bit for the last photo in this little collection. We have, on occasion, seen birds of prey flying overhead – and on even rarer occasion I take the opportunity to photograph them. You’ll have to excuse me for not being able to narrow down what it is beyond ‘bird of prey’ but if you’ve visited this website before this shouldn’t be any sort of surprise.

1/2000sec, f/5.6, ISO 640, 300mm

Other things I’ve seen – but not photographed, alas – in our garden include a jumping spider (that I watched in amazement as it pounced on a fly, picked it up with its teeth and carried away, despite the fly being several times its size), a grasshopper (unless it was a cricket), and a few other sorts of bird that flew away before I had any chance of identifying them. There’s probably a few other things too that have escaped my mind as quickly as they escaped the garden.


1 thought on “Garden Wildlife

  1. I have a post called “Once Black…” about how going to an Edward Weston exhibit gave me permission to explore shadows/zone 0 in my work. Every year that post gets the most hits.


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