Saturday, 29 August 2015

Great Crested Grebe

The Great Crested Grebe is the largest of all the European grebe's and can be credited with being the reason the RSPB was formed.
In Victorian times this colourful waterbird was killed in great numbers for it's plumes and skins which were used in the clothing industry. A group of Victorian women got together and started a campaign to stop the slaughter, this led to a ban being put on the killing of this magnificent bird and the RSPB was then formed.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Black - Headed Gull

Close to where I live there are a set of canal locks and the area is full of different kinds of wild birds.
Amongst these birds you can find the Black-Headed Gull.  Although it is called the black - headed gull, as you can see by the picture on the right it's head is not actually black it is a chocolate brown colour.
This head colour is the birds breeding plumage and is present throughout the spring and summer months. When the breeding season is over the chocolate brown head colouring fades considerably to just leave a dark spot just behind the birds ear.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Canadian Goose

Rich landowners are to blame for introducing the canada goose into Britain. These landowners used the bird as a decoration in the gardens of the stately homes.
Since then the population of this goose has increased so much that in some places it can reach such proportions it is classed as a pest.

Monday, 18 May 2015

The Blackbird

In the uk and Europe the blackbird is a very common site in gardens and town centres. Originally a woodland bird blackbirds will happily live amongst humans but have maintained their waryness of us making them a hard bird to photograph up close without a zoom lens.
The female of the species is in fact not black, it is brown as you can see from the picture on the left.
Females can easily be mistaken for thrushes but the absence of a spotted breast will indicate it is a female blackbird.
The male is totally black with a bright yellow beak. To protect it's territory a male blackbird will chase off any other males aggressively uttering a fast rattling noise in the process.
The blackbirds song is loud and tuneful and will be sung from the top of a tree or from a rooftop and can be heard from quite a distance away.
Their main feeding space is in the open on lawns or in flowerbeds. Earthworms and other invertebrates make up most of their diet but the will also eat apples and other fruit found at the base of trees when they have fallen.

Friday, 15 May 2015

A Few Facts about the Mallard

With a bottle green head, a mixture of grey and magenta in it's plumage the male mallard is the more colourful duck compared to the female.
In the uk they are common in ponds and are almost always guaranteed to be in inner city parklands. When mallards are feeding you can see them dipping their heads under the water so their bill is just below the surface or totally submerging their heads and sticking their tails into the air.
The female is less colourful than the male with plumage that is a mixture of brown and black and it's bill is a dark blackish brown. This is in total contrast to the males bill that is a bright yellow.
Attacks by gangs of males on one female in the breeding season are a common occurrence, showing that the male mallard can be aggressive at times.

The female mallard can lay anything up to twelve eggs in a shallow nest made of twigs and grass. They line their nests with down for warmth and comfort. With the ability to swim immediately after hatching the young are seen tagging along with their parents for approximately 7 weeks until they fledge.
They are carnivourous as well as omnivourous and will feed on animal and plant food and of course bread that is in plentiful supply from parents that bring their children to the park to feed the ducks.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

The Robin Redbreast

One of the most familiar garden birds in the uk is the robin. Robin's can often be seen hopping about the lawn and flower beds in search of insects to eat and cannot resist a freshly dug flowerbed where insects are plentiful.
A robin will stay and guard the same territory all year round and the robins song can be heard every season of the year.If you have a bird feeding station in your garden try putting some mealworms on it as this is a particular favourite of this bird.

There are many stories as to how the robin got it's red breast, one of them is that when jesus was on the cross at his crucifiction a robin landed on his shoulder to whisper something into his ear and a drop of blood from jesus's head dropped onto the robins breast and stained it red so ever since then every robin has a red breast.
Originally a woodland bird the robin has adapted well to living in close proximity to us and is not afraid of our presence. They have been known to feed off an outstreched hand.

Friday, 17 April 2015


The coot is all black with a splash of white on it's forehead.
Common in village ponds, parkland waters and even inner city lakes and ponds.
It is capable of diving deep, with the aid of it's partially webbed feet, in order to get food.
From a distance it appears the coot is all black but in fact if you get close enough you can see that it also has flecks of grey in it's feathers.

Thursday, 16 April 2015


Often mistaken for a house sparrow the dunnock is one of the commonest backyard visitors in the UK.