Wednesday, 14 March 2018

The Rainforest Foundation...

The Rainforest Foundation do a fantastic job in helping to prevent the spread of Palm oil plantations around the world by raising awareness, purchasing land and giving advice on Palm oil free products and foods that we can all buy. If you’ve ever visited a rainforest to go birding or wildlife viewing, you’ll know what incredibly biodiverse habitats they are and what a tragedy it is to be loosing them forever. Please consider making a donation to help them meet their objectives and save the countless species that need the forests to survive.

Check out their work at and follow them on Twitter @RFUK.

Pristine rain forests are the most biodiverse habitats on earth. Help protect them
and the thousands of species that depend on them.

Monday, 12 March 2018


Had a surprise today when this young Sparrowhawk rocked up in the garden. I saw it land on top of the bird feeding station, scattering all of the occupants. I grabbed my camera and took a few snaps through the dining room window before venturing into the back garden, expecting it to fly off as they normally do. But it didn’t. It saw me and changed position on the cage but didn’t fly off, so I walked closer. I got to within 15 ft and began snapping away again, surely it would fly any second now?

However it still didn't leave, occasionally glancing at me but otherwise trying to work out how it could get inside the cage. I walked towards it in full view and raised my camera again, still it wasn't bothered so after a couple more pictures I walked right up to it. It was just 5 ft away - it had no fear of me whatsoever, indeed it looked right at me and then down into the cage, flew closer still and I had to back off slightly so that the camera could focus!

Sparrowhawk just 5ft away


What a magnificent bird...hope it doesn’t get the
Hawfinch though!

Stare of death, just look at those eyes!

How do I get in here?

Never had one act like this before myself, they are usually very skittish and will fly at the slightest movement. Incredible to see one this close.

Friday, 9 March 2018

Getting up-close and personal with some of our Winter visitors...

This winter has provided unprecedented opportunities for me to film and photograph some of our more scarce winter finches right here in my own garden. Regulars like the Siskin have built in numbers since the 'Beast from the East' snowstorm last week and are now hovering around 30 birds whilst the long-staying Hawfinch continues to visit the bird table along with Brambling, which now vary from 8-14 birds daily. Filming them over the last few days have allowed magnificent views - this morning the Hawfinch was feeding just 3 ft from me (although I was well hidden). The results are below. It's not often I can see, let alone film, these beautiful birds as close as this.

The real 'Beast from the East'
Side-by-side, a Siskin stands right next to the Hawfinch
and the size difference is incredible. R. Harris
Female Brambling enjoying the seeds

Thursday, 8 March 2018

Brambling and Hawfinch...

8 March

Lovely views of the Hawfinch, Brambling and Siskin at the bird table today. They'll probably disappear in the next few weeks so great to make the most of them. Not everyday you get to see our largest finch next to one of our smallest, incredible!

3 March

Some stunning birds still hitting the bird table today and no doubt will continue to do so during this spell of cold weather. Today at least 14 Brambling, the regular Hawfinch, 12 Siskin and 6 Greenfinch coming to the feeders. Watch the videos in HD on YouTube.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Venom evolution...

An interesting research paper, if you're into snakes, by Dr Bryan G Fry and his colleagues on proteomic and functional variation within black snake venoms (Elapidae: Pseudechis) can be read here. Fascinating how venom has evolved in different species for different prey types.