Tag Archives: blackbirds

Lunch with a Blackbird

A warm day meant the sliding door was open.  Near this door  is our dining table.  Just outside this door is a collection of potted plants and a plastic bowl full of water for the birds to drink from.

This blackbird is often in this area of the garden IMG_0054and as I was eating my lunch, he appeared to drink from the bowl.   Fortunately I had my camera right next to me.

Friday Fledglings

It is “that” time of year again in the garden. The time of year when the Blackbird fledglings are bumbling and stumbling out of their nests and are in various places around the garden.

I am so familiar with the “alarm” tweets of the parent birds warning of wandering cats or other dangers. But I am also now very familiar with the soft but gradually insistent “whistlely chirrups” of the fledglings.

Nature has dictated that baby blackbirds fledge with their tail feathers still to grow long and strong and their ability or skill to take shelter in high branches poorly formed. They do not look at all aware of the big bad world they have fluttered into.
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I feel for the hard working parents who have devotedly fed several babies and fattened them up beautifully only to then have to find them and feed them in the most obscure and often dangerous places.
Two days ago when the sun shone and the sky was intensely spring blue I could hear two fledglings calling. I found this one here in the Kowhai tree on the reserve on the other side of our fence.
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The other was amongst the maidenhair ferns beneath the old Magnolia tree. One quick photo here and I departed very quickly to avoid further stress to the birds.
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I scattered food for the hungry parent birds and wished them and their young very well.
I can hear more chirrups already this morning on a blustery spring day. The rain that is forecast for later in the day may help the dedicated parents find better supplies of worms and insects to nourish the family. . Meanwhile I will see what I can find to supplement the food supplies.

“Look I can do it myself!”

Yesterday in the lovely sunshine I spotted this ball of downy feathers sitting on the edge of the water bowl we leave outside for Jazz to drink from.
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Jazz often prefers much cloudier water he finds in empty flower pots and the birds often drink from the orange bowl.
Blackbirds enjoy a bath in the orange bowl too.
I did not manage to get a photo of this blackbird fledgling’s first splash but I am sure I saw surprise register on his/her face and she/ he very promptly hopped out. However instinct took over and back in it went with water flying everywhere and a great deal of preening and awkward, uncoordinated fluttering.
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It really reminded me of a small child attempting and then managing a new skill.
Today I can hear younger blackbird fledglings urging their tireless parents on to bring them more food. The torrential rain we had on Thursday has ensured an excellent supply of worms and tasty treats thank goodness. There may be more bird bath antics to come!

Wind whipped and battered

It is official. Even the scientists confirm my suspicions. It has been a very windy spring and while we are used to that here in windy Wellington, many of the gales have been much stronger than the usual blustery conditions we live with.
Almost without fail there have been wind warnings forecasting gusts of up to 140kms per hour. Fortunately my particularly patch on earth has a degree of shelter from these northwesterlies. But we have sustained damage, most recently to an old television aerial.
You can see the trees in the tall tree part of our garden taking a buffeting. The fresh leaves of the birch trees are already looking bedraggled and bent in response to the prevailing bluster.
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The Viburnum “pom poms” are burnt and brown.
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Those are the ones that have survived on the trees. So many have been stripped. In past springs they looked like this.
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The rock roses have proved to be hardy and flourishing bushes but the relentless wind sees the crepey flowers brown and shrivel.
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And then there are the birds who must be exhausted battling through the endless gusts and the strength of the wind. Look at these two blackbird fledglings sheltering in a sunny and calm part of the garden this afternoon, resting while the parents are off foraging.
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Blackbird fledgling resting to the right of the green tray.

Blackbird fledgling resting to the right of the green tray.


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As I went outdoors the parent bird flew near me and waited hopefully in the Magnolia tree.
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I had nothing to offer him this time but I have been tossing scraps and crumbs out in greater quantities to help the birds survive.
Other parts of the country have been hard hit again today and we are hoping that the winds will abate tomorrow as predicted.

Some colours of Autumn

Autumn is evident even though rainfall is still low here and temperatures mild. Many of the deciduous trees in the garden have been dropping their leaves for weeks now due to the drought.

If we get some chilly nights some the trees might colour up more but many have leaves that look crispy dry with only some discolouration.
The Smoke Bush (Cotinus Coggygria) is showing its usual beauty, apparently unaffected by the lack of rain.
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And the Cotoneaster is covered in rich red berries.
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Last week the blackbirds were feasting on these but after some millimetres of rain the birds are back hunting worms instead.

Good night

It has been a lovely sunny afternoon. The light lingers on and the sun has only set in the past ten minutes.

The blackbirds were singing a good evening song and I spotted a Fantail in the garden.

I had no joy finding the Fantail but I did capture some photos showing the end of a calm, golden, late spring afternoon.

Crunching the numbers

I’ve completed my annual bird survey today. The instructions were to record the largest number of each type of bird that was seen or heard at any one time – not the total number of each bird over the hour. That was a bit complicated but bird numbers were low in the garden today so it was not as arduous as I thought it might be.

The common sparrow headed the list, followed by wax eyes, blackbirds, chaffinches, starlings, and goldfinches. I could hear a Tui over the road feasting on the red flowering gum trees so that was included too.

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I blogged about the 2011 bird survey here.

I received an email late this afternoon telling me that a new website is being set up so that I can record any observations relating to nature but it will also be where future annual bird survey results will be loaded. I’m really pleased about that as there are times when I see a new bird in the garden and wish I could tell someone “official” about it.

The other numbers I crunched today were on my blog. WordPress provides a raft of statistical data and I do check my stats regularly. This post will be number 308. My readers have posted 966 comments and I now have 70 blog followers.

Thank you to all my readers. It is very gratifying to know that you enjoy my postings and continue to turn the pages on my blog.

There is an interesting statistic amongst the people who regularly comment on my blog and that is that 4 of them have names beginning with the letter “J”.

I also have a regular group of “likers” and it is always a pleasure to find your “Like” appearing in my notifications.

11 of my blog posts have been “shared” and that seems an extra honour and potentially widens my audience.

Spam wins the day with 1,356 items that have been successfully thwarted at the cyber boundary of my blog and I am very grateful about that.

I began blogging with so much trepidation but now it is almost a habit and I miss the days when I don’t post something. I began writing to satisfy an inner voice but having gathered followers I feel spurred on to provide something that I hope will interest you in some way. My photography interest is proving to be very satisfying to me and that has been a surprise too.

Thank you again for reading, lurking, liking and commenting. You all enrich my days.