Tag Archives: Bird Photography

A Flock Of Woodpeckers

Animals aren’t the boss of me. This is a new one.

A male bird.

Male Woodpecker Male Woodpecker Male Woodpecker Male Woodpecker Male Woodpecker Male Woodpecker Male Woodpecker Male WoodpeckerBut he is not the whole story. I was watching our female bird yesterday, this is she…

Female Woodpecker Female Woodpecker Female Woodpecker Female WoodpeckerA second bird landed on the feeder above her.

Female WoodpeckerThis is another female and note that the black outer stripe doesn’t go all the way to her cap, that is how we are going to tell our females apart.

Female Woodpecker Female Woodpecker Female WoodpeckerA new pair of birds are muscling in on our female’s bounty. These new birds are a mature pair they are not fledgelings (they have a red cap).

That was yesterday and the birds are still here today. In fact since first light (4:30) the male has been dominating the feeder, he owns it now.

If either of our females have young we are going to be in for a woodpecker storm. I think that both of them have young and it is the bad weather that is driving them to the nuts but we shall see.

The Dove of Love

There is a lot of interesting stuff to know about the Collared Dove but the thing that has put it in my mind today is the rain. It is tipping down outside and rain has no empathy. It brings life to many and death to many others. Caterpillars are being washed of the bushes (as if they didn’t have enough to worry about) and that is bad news for the Blue Tits who are trying to feed their young as well as the flies who are looking for a place to lay theirs.

Collared Doves are less at the mercy of the weather, they have a different way of feeding their young.

Collared Dove

“Crop Milk” (Obviously if you are a pigeon fancier you will already know all about crop milk) All of our dove’s and pigeons produce it and the only other birds that do this are the Flamingo and Penguin. So in the UK it is just the doves.

Collared DoveCrop Milk, also known as Pigeon Milk is a secretion from the lining of the crop so let us start with “What’s a crop?”

A crop is part of a bird’s digestive system, it is a pouch in the esophagus (the tube that goes from mouth to stomach) that is primarily used to store excess food that the bird can’t fit in it’s stomach. A “Doggy Bag” for birds that dine. It enables a bird to take some food home for later.

Collared Dove

Lot’s, but not all, of birds have crops. Eagles, Hawks and Gulls all have them and so do some other species like snails and earthworms but only our pigeons and doves produce crop milk from them.

As I said Crop Milk is a secretion produced in the crop. It is not like mammal milk. Both the male and female bird produce it and both feed their young. It looks more like cottage cheese than milk and is much richer in protein and fat than mammal milk.

People who keep Pigeons can buy formula Crop Milk to raise their squabs.

Collared DoveThe other thing that fascinates me about the Collared Dove is their arrival here in the UK. They only arrived here in the 1950’s and the first breeding pair were recorded in Norfolk in 1955.

They came from Turkey and the Middle East where they lived happily for hundreds, maybe thousands of years (Evolution doesn’t happen quickly). Then suddenly around 1900 they decided to go and see the world. They spread rapidly across Europe and ended up here in the 50’s. I just wonder why they all suddenly got the wanderlust?

Collared Dove

A brood normally consists of just two eggs but they can breed throughout the year. Three or four broods would be normal but six are possible.

They are welcome visitors to the garden. They don’t come here in large numbers. We have a resident pair and sometimes there are a few other birds that drop by.

A brood normally consists of just two eggs but they can breed throughout the year. Three or four broods would be normal but six are possible.

 

A Phalacrocorax carbo

Sounds prehistoric doesn’t it? Well it looks prehistoric too.

This is a post about the Cormorant.

Cormorant

It is also going to be a post about Cannop Ponds. Well I told you that I would show you around, just a little bit today though.

Cannop PondsThe Ponds are part of my playground. They are a bit of a walk and the last time we went out there we were gone for nine hours. I had to get Fizz’s feet re-soled. It is actually about an hour and a half walk from my house, through beautiful forest but I dawdle.

There are Cormorants here.

CormorantI think that they come here to laugh at the fishermen who seem to find it so hard to catch a fish. All that you have to do is dive in after it.

Cormorant

Cormorant

Cormorant

CormorantThat is a very strange looking bird.

Cannop Ponds

The Ponds are a very popular part of the forest, I haven’t really seen them in the height of the tourist season. I expect it must get quite busy but when Fizz and I come out on these walks we set out before dawn (we see wild animals) and we get here while it is still quite early, we have only seen it quiet.

Cannop PondsThis is a really nice place, completely different from the farmland and forest that surround us. We come here to look at birds and we will be back soon.