Watching Me Watching You


Nice try Woodrow…


Woodpecker 025 Wm


But I know you’re there.

Looking less than pristine after all the rain: Great Spotted Woodpecker

This weekend is the Big Garden Birdwatch, organised by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). So we sat at the kitchen table this morning with checklist, binoculars, bird identification book, and some coffee, to record what flew in. Perhaps not unexpectedly our bird population is skewed in favour of woodland birds. Nuthatches, woodpeckers and pheasants frequent the feeders, but not so many of the birds that the RSPB actually wanted us to count. Doh.


Nuthatch 003 Wm




Willow Tit 001 Wm


Willow Tit. Or Marsh Tit? The two species are virtually identical.


Ptolemy and Ptolemy Too continue to prove elusive from a photography point of view.Β They made a dive for the rhododendron patch the minute the tripod came out. They won’t be able to hold out under there forever though. A pheasant needs to eat.


Great Tit 002 Wm


Great Tit

Of the birds on the checklist the most numerous were the Great Tits, a sum total of three.


Chaffinch 001 Wm




Blue Tit 002 Wm


Blue Tit


Blackbird 005 Wm


Can I just lean here a moment? It’s been a long day..



Β We don’t see sparrows at all. The long tailed tits only appear when it gets very cold. None so far this winter.


Great Tit & Coal Tit 001 Wm


But here’s an odd thing..

A Great Tit and Coal Tit sharing not only a feeder, but almost the same hole in the mesh. The Great Tit was not about to peck its friend, it waited patiently while the Coal Tit took its share.


And then..

where there are birds, or rather bird food..


Squirrel 011 Wm


Game over.


2018-02-28T17:58:31+00:00January 25th, 2014|Tags: , |


  1. Chloris January 25, 2014 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Wonderful photographs, Jessica. I am so impressed with the shots you got. I particularly love the woodpecker and that dear little nuthatch, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one. You might know the squirrel would come and spoil the party.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 6:55 pm - Reply

      Yes, the squirrel is back with a vengeance. Or should I say squirrels because there is more than one. I can identify them from the state of their ears – this one must be young and yet to get into fights, not too many bits missing!

  2. Crafty Gardener January 25, 2014 at 5:39 pm - Reply

    Such gorgeous birds visiting your feeders … and Mr Squirrel is cute in his own little way.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 6:59 pm - Reply

      No doubt we will have more fun with the squirrels this winter. I do enjoy their antics, and the battle of wits!

  3. Janet/Plantalisciousj January 25, 2014 at 5:40 pm - Reply

    Wonderful photos, you clearly have a lot more patience than I do, though I did unearth my tripod the other day, which would definitely help improve the quality of any bird photos I attempt. And I am cross with myself because I planned to count today, when it was – for a short while at least – Not Raining, an increasingly rare event. Ah well.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm - Reply

      Patience is not usually one of my qualities, but somehow watching birds the time flies! It took most of the day to get the shots, the ironing will have to wait until tomorrow πŸ™‚

  4. Joanne January 25, 2014 at 5:42 pm - Reply

    I love the fist photo. we are attempting ours tomorrow, though the weather has taken a turn for the worse so I don’t hold out much hope.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      It’s done the same here, the wind really strengthened this afternoon, but the rain will hit us tomorrow I think. Good luck with your count.

  5. countrysidetales January 25, 2014 at 6:04 pm - Reply

    Well, I beat you on the LTT and Sparrow front but you’ve won on everything else I suspect. I started my hour at 3.30 this afternoon, during which time the sky went black, a hurricane blew in and a typhoon finished the whole thing off. Sigh.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 7:12 pm - Reply

      Our weather is not getting any better is it.. I was thinking of you when I recorded nil point for LTT’s, I knew you’d have loads!

  6. Christina January 25, 2014 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Jessica, beautiful bird photography! I love especially the nuthatch. We have have an annual bird count event here in the US as well, I think it is in February (have to research the date, hope I didn’t miss it). We participated once, I believe two years ago, and it was a lot of fun and we learned actually quite a bit about which feathered friends are visiting our garden. Sounds like you and your husband had fun watching the birdies this morning as well. Thanks for sharing and wishing you a nice evening,

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      Thanks Christina and welcome to rusty duck.
      It was good fun, there were birds that we’ve not noticed before (a dunnock) that I had to look up! So we learnt a lot too. Good luck with your count.

  7. angiesgardendiaries January 25, 2014 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    If you send me some of your nuthatches I’ll gladly send you down some sparrows πŸ˜‰
    Jessica – excellent pictures. I’ll be doing my bird count tomorrow and I already know that Goldfinches and Linnets will be absent from my count this year πŸ™

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      I’ve seen goldfinches here, but they are very rare. Possibly because I do too much clearing to tidy the borders. Needless to say, they didn’t turn up today!

  8. Denise January 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Wonderful shots – I should get a more powerful camera. Mine is good for food shots! lol!

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 7:46 pm - Reply

      Thanks Denise. In this dismal light it’s so difficult to get a sharp shot. The slightest movement, bird or feeder, and it’s gone. I took and binned several hundred to get these few. Thank goodness for digital.

  9. Pauline January 25, 2014 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Like you we did our bird count this morning as the weather is going down hill tomorrow. My camera is hopeless for photographing birds, not like you, yours are fantastic- well done!

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 7:52 pm - Reply

      I brought our count forward when I saw the weather forecast. Mike has the copy of photoshop that we use for cropping and watermarking. He was complaining bitterly about the number of photos I took, most of which were rubbish.
      I hope we don’t get too much rain over the next couple of days, I think we’ve had our share now.

  10. Simone January 25, 2014 at 7:07 pm - Reply

    Isn’t the Nuthatch a lovely little bird? I have never heard of it let alone seen one before. What happened to the squirrel spinner?

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

      I adore nuthatches. I’d not seen one either before moving here.
      Fear not. I am lulling the squirrels into a false sense of security. Then I will replace the batteries… πŸ™‚

  11. Rosie January 25, 2014 at 7:31 pm - Reply

    Like you we sat down this morning to record the visiting birds. An hour after we’d finished the heavens opened and we had thunder, lightening, sleet and hail. We recorded 22 sparrows, 1 thrush, 1 robin, 2 male blackbirds, 2 woodpigeon, 2 blue tits and 2 goldfinch. I think I said in my post that we wouldn’t see the numbers of birds we’d been seeing all week and we didn’t. Plenty of squirrels though crossing the garden at regular intervals with monkey nuts in their mouths – I think someone not far away has put some out for them:)

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 8:10 pm - Reply

      22 sparrows!!!! That is amazing, well for me it is. I wonder why they don’t come here.

  12. paxton3 January 25, 2014 at 7:48 pm - Reply

    I am going to partake in the bird watch tomorrow. I had more birds in my gardn this time last year. I’m not sure whether it’s the rain or the milder weather. No Mistle Thrush. Hardly any male Blackbirds. No Fieldfares. Plenty of Sparrows and Chaffinches though. I have never seen a Woodpecker, only heard one.

    Lovel photos.

    Leanne xx

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 8:14 pm - Reply

      If you hear a woodpecker, look out for the flight. It’s very distinctive. Like a plane where the engine keeps stalling. They swoop down and then rise up again.

  13. linda January 25, 2014 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    Love that you have different species of birds over yonder….
    First photo is excellent….award winning even!
    Our winds are still gusting….and our windchills are around -20c…..brrrrrrrr.
    Can’t wait til next Thursday…..

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm - Reply

      It took me a long time, and many attempts, to get that photo..
      Brrrr indeed. So glad you are taking us with you to Florida… πŸ™‚

  14. Wendy January 25, 2014 at 8:19 pm - Reply

    Fabulous bird photos, Jessica. I do envy you the nuthatch and willow tit, although like you, we don’t get any sparrows here. Our woodpeckers are just starting to drum against the tree trunks in the local woods. Those pesky squirrels…they look as bold as ever.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 8:26 pm - Reply

      Thanks Wendy. I’m waiting for the drumming to start. Last year they announced the start of the season on the bathroom soil pipe. I am hoping they don’t repeat that again this year.

  15. Denise January 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    We had starlings, crows, some very smart blackbirds, sparrows, chaffinch, collared doves and chickens. Can I include the chickens? They might get a bit huffy if I don’t!

    Your woodpecker is my favourite!

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 9:29 pm - Reply

      Primrose will never forgive you if you don’t. There may be an egg-laying strike.

  16. Em January 25, 2014 at 8:29 pm - Reply

    So lovely to see that Willow Tit – All gorgeous photos and I do love your GSW!

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm - Reply

      If Mike turned up for lunch carrying that much dirt there would be trouble..

  17. Cathy January 25, 2014 at 8:51 pm - Reply

    Great photos indeed – and your first one is stunning! It is fascinating to read about the birds others get in their gardens – there are some we never have, like your nut hatch and willow tit, but we have had the occasional sighting of a firecrest, which is of course thrilling to see. Heaven knows what will turn up tomorrow if we can manage our count then – the great unknown!

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 9:36 pm - Reply

      A firecrest! That I’ve never seen.
      Bad storm today in the midlands? Hope all is well.

  18. justjilluk January 25, 2014 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    We are doing it tomorrow. From experience the hour we choose , the count will be minimal. I swear the birds say “ey up its the rspb bird count.” and disappear til the hour is up.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 11:34 pm - Reply

      Make it look as though you are going to count, then do the real one an hour later. As soon as our hour was up they re-appeared in droves.

  19. CJ January 25, 2014 at 10:07 pm - Reply

    What a wonderful array of birds. Almost none in our garden I’m afraid. And us so fond of them. I must do better in the planting/feeding area. I accidentally ripped up our Great Birdwatch leaflet on Thursday. I was made to hunt through the bin and stick it back together again. We’ll be counting tomorrow.

    • Jessica January 25, 2014 at 11:39 pm - Reply

      I thought briefly about counting on line using a tablet, which is possible for the first time this year. But as I haven’t had the tablet very long I envisaged it all going horribly wrong so stuck to paper. And as it turned out I was right… the rspb website went down!

  20. wherefivevalleysmeet January 26, 2014 at 9:10 am - Reply

    Wonderful bird photos from your garden Jessica – we never see sparrows either. I don’t hold out very much hope for our count today – it is pouring with rain.

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 5:45 pm - Reply

      It’s been a dreadful day for weather, I was on the coast and almost got blown away! I hope you got your birdwatch done, I found it fun to do even if we didn’t see that many birds.

  21. Sue@GLAllotments January 26, 2014 at 10:24 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos – would love a nuthatch to visit – it’s one of the birds on our hit list to achieve a good photo of!

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      I love the way they curve their heads up like that, so elegant!

  22. SeagullSuzie January 26, 2014 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Plenty of sparrow here in Brixham and regular visitors to my garden. I love your bird photos, especially the woodpecker just peeping out. Terrible weather here today and very windy yesterday so we dont have many visitors. The weather is supposed to pick up later so I’ll be ready to sit down and record what comes by.

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      I hope you got your opportunity, sunny bits here between the showers this afternoon. Very blustery though! Sparrow populations seem to be patchy, some people have huge flocks and others none at all.

  23. Alison Collins January 26, 2014 at 1:11 pm - Reply

    I wish my results were as glamour as yours…It has been pouring all day here. I got – two collard doves, one robin and two blackbirds although I am convinced the blackbirds and the collard doves were just one bird returning for seconds in each case. Love your photos:/)

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 5:54 pm - Reply

      It’s been a lousy day for birdwatching. They’ve been seeking shelter here, in bushes and sitting in a row on one of the struts under the big flat bit of the bird table! Thanks Alison.

  24. Casa Mariposa January 26, 2014 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    I really love your photography. A bird would have told still for several minutes for me to ever capture it’s photo. I do quite well with things that don’t move such as rocks and more rocks. They’re very cooperative. We have tons of sparrows here and different finches. Perhaps the Ptolemy’s were busy with their models? πŸ™‚

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      The Ptolemys are very busy with something under the rhododendrons. As their namesake was an astronomer and mathematician I wouldn’t be at all surprised. Although I did see a lady pheasant close by the other day..

  25. colleen January 26, 2014 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    Bird envy. I was in A&E this am with a septic thumb, and it is vile weather this pm. All I’ve seen is a robin in the garden, and a single long tailed tit at the allotment. Grump.

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 6:03 pm - Reply

      They are all looking soggy and pretty miserable today. At least you’ve seen one long tailed tit, I am still hoping.. Commiserations on the thumb, I hope it’s easier now.

  26. Amy at love made my home January 26, 2014 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    I think that you should include Ptolemy and sidekick on your list, that would throw the RSPB people for a loop! Lovely to see more superb pictures from the rusty ducks! xx

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 6:07 pm - Reply

      They both went in, along with the nuthatches, woodpeckers and the willow tits. When I went online to submit my results I discovered you can add other species to your list!

  27. Anna January 26, 2014 at 5:01 pm - Reply

    Great photos Jessica. We had one of those grey furry creatures too. At least you can officially record them this year πŸ™‚

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Thanks Anna. Somewhat begrudgingly I had to put them down as a ‘daily’ occurrence.

  28. […] tailed tits and at the very last minute our greater spotted woodpecker (if you haven’t seen Jessica‘s wonderful photos of her woodpecker then do have a look). Wisely, most were preferring the […]

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 11:52 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cathy x

  29. CherryPie January 26, 2014 at 9:11 pm - Reply

    A beautiful selection of visitors to your garden πŸ™‚

    • Jessica January 26, 2014 at 11:53 pm - Reply

      Thanks Cherie. We do our best to encourage them!

  30. andreamynard January 26, 2014 at 9:24 pm - Reply

    Amazing photos, really stunning. I did a spot of bird-watching with my 6 year old daughter from her tree house this afternoon. She’s made a bird feeder at school and we hung it from an apple tree that we could see from the tree house. Have to admit that our spotting wasn’t too successful, mainly due to our cat Mog being intent on joining us. We had fun hiding out in the tree-house though and it was lovely just sitting there for a while listening to the sounds of the birds hiding all around us.

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 12:00 am - Reply

      That does sound lovely! I’m glad the weather cleared for you, it’s been blowing a gale here this afternoon.

  31. Diane January 26, 2014 at 9:58 pm - Reply

    We had a similar bird count here in France but I decided that the form was far too complicated and gave up. Anything in France that has a form involved is always much more difficult than anywhere else in the world and in triplicate at the minimum!!! Have a great week. Diane

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 12:10 am - Reply

      Oh no! But I can imagine. I am inclined to do likewise with forms. This exercise had the option of connecting on-line with a tablet, but I could see myself getting into even more knots with that. The form was the path of least resistance.

  32. snowbird January 26, 2014 at 10:36 pm - Reply

    I absolutely LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that first pic. What a gem!!! You have a wonderful array of feathered friends in your garden some of which have excellent manners! I enjoyed your squirrel too. What a wonderful post, I did enjoy

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 12:22 am - Reply

      Thanks snowbird, I love that first pic too, you wouldn’t believe how many I had to take to get it! Woodrow thought he was safe hiding behind the pole, so thankfully he hung around for a while.

  33. Caro in the Urban Veg Patch January 26, 2014 at 11:39 pm - Reply

    Well, that was a treat! Great post, Jessica – particularly love that you ignored the housework to get the best shots! I didn’t officially bird count which was just as well as I only saw 4 wood pigeons in between the rain. That was a bit unusual, there only used to be one. He must have got himself a wife and family, they looked like they were sticking together!

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 12:32 am - Reply

      The weather has been rubbish, especially today. Even my little robin was sheltering in a bush.. still singing though! You have beaten me on wood pigeons, only one here. Thanks Caro.

  34. woolythymes January 27, 2014 at 12:07 am - Reply

    looks like it was a great day for the watch….I should have spent time outside too….we’re expecting a dive in temps tonight. bummer. Hi, Woodrow. Nice photo op!!!!

    (Every year I wait for the cedar waxwings….my friend has them covering her hollies….the only time they ever visited me was during our infamous ice storm of ’09—-the holly was covered with bluebirds and waxwings…..almost reason to wish for another ice storm. it was magnificent!)

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 12:35 am - Reply

      I’d love to see those, and your hummingbirds!! It’s getting cold here too next week, we will be shivering together.

  35. nataliescarberry January 27, 2014 at 2:22 am - Reply

    Oh my gosh, Jessica, that first picture is GREAT!!! I enjoy your post as usual. Blessings, Natalie πŸ™‚

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 3:29 pm - Reply

      Woodrow was very obliging! Thanks Natalie.

  36. Charlie@Seattle Trekker January 27, 2014 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Well done, the photos are amazing. I really love the detail you captured.

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

      Thanks Charlie, often it’s not until you zoom in you realise just what you have got!

  37. haggiz January 27, 2014 at 7:52 am - Reply

    Such beautiful photos as always, but I adore that first photo. We had a robin and a blackbird! Weather was appalling, such a shame. Julie x

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 3:36 pm - Reply

      It’s been a lousy weekend for birdwatching hasn’t it. But the weather this morning was even more incredible, thunder and huge hailstones.

  38. Christina January 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm - Reply

    You always show us great images but these are really special, such clarity and the birds seemed so close. Thank you for sharing your treaures

    • Jessica January 27, 2014 at 3:40 pm - Reply

      Thanks Christina. I could spend hours watching and photographing birds. We have a bird table very close to the kitchen window, and they’ve got used to people moving around.

  39. frayed at the edge January 28, 2014 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Just catching up after a very busy weekend! I could send you some sparrows – we have a resident population, which has grown steadily since we have lived here – except, of course, for the one the sparrow hawk ate recently!!

    • Jessica January 28, 2014 at 10:58 am - Reply

      Unfortunately we still have the sparrow hawks, or raptors of some kind anyway. They have had to broaden their horizons a bit, food wise!

  40. Jo January 28, 2014 at 11:53 am - Reply

    I don’t think you did bad for birds at all. We had such an awful weekend weather wise that we didn’t get many visitors. You’ve got some fabulous photos of your guests, I love the woodpecker.

    • Jessica January 28, 2014 at 12:40 pm - Reply

      I think the birds must be getting as fed up with the weather as we are. Thanks Jo.

  41. Natalie February 3, 2014 at 11:30 pm - Reply

    Beautiful bird photos! I love seeing your birds. So similar to ours, yet so different. Your nuthatch looks much like ours, though. And of course the eeeeevil squirrel!

    • Jessica February 4, 2014 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      I’d love cardinals, really envy you those!

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