Saturday, 5 March 2016


I haven't posted for a while and not from the lack of birding. Sadly a combination of lousy weather, distant birds, lack of anything of real note, work and lastly a laptop that keeps inexplicably blowing memory card readers.
Honestly in the last eleven days I've had to return (red faced) five different readers. I'd install the blasted thing, use it once then on the second use it keeps ejecting itself with a fault code "exceeding maximum power (voltage) recommended for the device being used" no one I know has a clue, it's fine downloading SD and MICRO-SD including massive video files from my helmet cam'.
So any images I'm having to directly download from he camera via a USB cable which takes forever.
I went for a cycle along the Brampton Valley today with a mixture of hail, sleet, bright sunshine and freezing wind. It was a bit quiet. Small flocks of Fieldfare were again distant. Running along the hedgerow going up Merry Tom lane/farm was an interesting flock of Blackbirds (15) and Redwing which kept getting flushed by something.
In the field at the top of the lane heading towards Pitsford I got to listen to and count 6 Skylarks.

A Kestrel, Buzzard and Redkite were the only birds of prey I saw yet annoyingly twice this week I've seen a Merlin chasing Tit flocks at our depot on Pineham industrial estate. Also on one cycle to work got unbelievable views of an Otter on the canal. Best views ever and sadly only the third I've ever seen in my lifetime.

So to the Siskin. Despite seeing plenty I've somehow never got any half decent images of this delightful winter visitor.
I've never had any visit my garden either, until today.
I got home after my cycle and went to top up the feeders ready for the regular Goldfinch pre-roost binge.
I spotted two Siskin on the nearly empty feeders. I know faced a dilemma, you see being the owner of three greyhounds and a newly rescued Whippet my feeders and nature area is a gated and fenced off separate bit of the garden as is my shed...I mean "DOUG'S HIDE" where if I  wanted photos I'd have to go to and flush them away in the process, the curse of the bogey bird.
So off I went as did the Siskin at least the Blue Tits stayed as I topped up the feeders and headed to the shed...I mean hide..and waited.

No surprise the Goldfinch were first back on the scene. I could hear the Siskins calling so knew they'd come back. I was getting excited to be honest they'd already been added to my garden list I now needed to get some photo's. Sadly the regular finches were hogging the better feeders so had to settle for the darker area of my nature reserve lol. But for once I don't care even though they're not a masterpiece in photography they're more importantly off the bogey list, yippee.

 Hopefully they will be back tomorrow though going on various sightings of Siskins locally today it could be them moving off/passing through, guess where I'll be tomorrow morning and I figure if I ride my bike to the top of the garden I can put them on my "bike year list" ;-)


  1. Good to see the Siskin. I haven't seen any this far south but at Loch Ness they visited in large flocks.
    I can't think what the card reader problem is. I have had problems in the past but since i started formatting cards everything has been fine.

    1. What I've figure it's not card related as I've used a friends card reader and laptop and pc. The guys at pc world are bemused as they can't figure it out neither. We've been able to rule out virus too as the laptop isn't connected to the net ever and is "standalone" accept for security and software updated. Baffling as Mr. Farage might say

  2. A long, long time ago, when the days were dark and dismal (yes I am that old!) I can remember watching a program on a small flickering box that we had in the corner of the room, when they were announcing that a marvelous new piece of kit, called a computer, would make our lives stress free....I guess they're still working on that one then?
    Good luck on getting yours sorted...and stress free! soon Douglas.

    A good selection of birds there, even 'the quiet times' are good, with the regulars still putting on a show for us.
    How about mounting the bike on a turbo trainer in the hide, then you can keep up with the exercise while still ticking off the bike, garden and hide, lists?

    Nice that you got Siskins in the garden, no such luck here this year (yet!!) I'm afraid. Looking forward to seeing some photos of that Merlin??...[;o)

    1. Computers love them or hate them we just can't live without them sadly. The turbo trainer sounds like a good idea we've been thinking of getting one too. Annoyingly the Merlin seems to elude me when I have the camera but showed amazingly well when I don't. Not a happy bunny

  3. Great to see you back!

    Delighted to hear you've at last got Siskin in your garden, Doug. In my experience, although they're quiite happy to use tubular feeders, they prefer sunflower hearts in open trays (mine are about 4 or 5ft off the ground, on poles). It's also my experience that once they've visited, there's a very good chance that they'll return (ours have been daily for nearly 2 weeks now) so I hope that you are lucky.

    Best wishes - - - Richard

    1. Thanks Richard, I've got a tray for the Robin, wren and Dunnock which they're using. They've turned up again a male and female, the male has a ring on its leg

  4. Welcome back Doug!!!! Great garden birds Siskins, I have only had three or four single birds in recent years, I'm not complaining though as I do get my fair share of other species.

    1. Cheers Paul. I really wanted something for my Siskin files. Previous attempts were always to far away etc. It was an added bonus they turned up in the garden