Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Garden birds, and how they're difficult to photograph when you don't have a telephoto lens

We've been enjoying watching the birds in our garden this week. There are masses of them around at the moment, and it's absolutely fascinating to watch them. They seem to have very definite patterns of feeding, and you could almost set your watch by some of them. It's worrying when you don't see a certain bird for a little while, and you start to assume that it's been eaten by a cat! But so far they've always made it back eventually. Mind you, we can't tag them so we can't be sure the same birds do come back. Here are some of them.

Blackbird eating worms.
Not a bad picture of one of our goldfinches. We have lots, all day. They're costing me a fortune in thistle seeds! Love them though :) They shout at us at around tea time if we're still out in the garden making a lot of noise, because they want to come in for their tea. Recently they've been coming in anyway, even if we're still there! Wow! It's amazing, and we all sit very still and hold our breath while they eat. Sometimes Matthew forgets to be quiet, and he shouts something and they fly off. But they always seem to forgive him, and they come back the next day. Aren't they beautiful? I can recognise them when they're flying now, even though I can't see their colours. And I can recognise their calls too.
We're not sure if this is a female greenfinch or a siskin; both look similar in the book we have. I've not been able to get a clear enough picture to make out the colouring properly. It doesn't come to visit very often, but you can spot it easily when it does, because it's such a vivid green. The colour hasn't come out too well in this photo.
A goldfinch from the back. They always come in pairs, and this one's mate is on the other side of the feeder.
A blue tit in the tree behind our garden. This one used to just turn up very occasionally, but lately it's been coming every day. Yesterday, while we were out in the garden being very quiet, we were joined by this blue tit, a great tit, and a coal tit as well. When we see a new bird in the garden I get whopper goosebumps, it's so exciting. For next Spring we're going to move our bird box to a better place, and hopefully we'll get something to nest in it.
Another of the goldfinches. It's difficult to say how many pairs visit us, because they could just be one pair that comes several times a day. But there are always plenty of them around, and one of the trees behind our garden is packed full of them at around sunset.

So, apologies for the not-very-good photos of the birds that frequent our garden, but I'm working on it. I'd like to get a telephoto lens for my camera, but the adapter alone is more than I can afford, so I'm going to have to save up. After I've paid for the trip to Barbados for Noomski and Jessica's wedding, my savings account can be used for a new lens and adapter :) (No credit card for me, no way!)
It's not just the camera that's the problem, of course. The birds themselves are very difficult to photograph with just your ordinary digital camera with a 4x optical zoom! They don't stay for very long, so if you've left the camera upstairs you've no chance of retrieving it in time. The camera is always guaranteed to be handy when there are goldfinches in the garden, because although we love them dearly, we have plenty of photos of them. The camera will mysteriously disappear when there's an unidentified green bird in the garden, or an elusive coal tit. But I'm being very patient, and I'll get some good photos one day. Sometimes it's just nice to watch them, without getting snap happy :) Sometimes you have to stop photographing, and get on with doing.


  1. Thank you, phantom blog reader! That mystery is cleared up. Now, which Catherine are you? I know several :)

  2. Dawsonioni, queen of know-all :) heh! I'm only 90% but he has a nice little black head and seems yellow-er than green-er. Maybe! Love watching the birds. Don't get any of those nice finches though even after trying niger seed... maybe our new house will do the job!