Saturday, 17 December 2011

Short and sweet

This was what greeted me at 8.15 this morning.

A very hard frost, white everywhere except on the bird feeders,

The usual gang of blue tits and great tits and on the one isolated feeder, a great spotted woodpecker.

He was slimmer than the one pictured, and his red bits were much more red.

It was as if he was in some sort of trance.  He was totally motionless, very upright and had one claw loosely hanging on to the feeder, while he stared into space.  I ran  upstairs to get my camera and by the time I was  back down he was gone.

Probably not an unusual sight for some people but a rare visitor in this urban locality.  Lovely start to the day.


  1. I love watching the birds, and an unusual one is a wonderful start to the day. There's this whole other world out there and sometimes I imagine such birds to be the reminders of and messengers from that world...

  2. And the moral of this tale is....keep the camera handy!

    Lovely visitor - I've never seen one of those in the feather!

  3. I love bird-watching too Penny. I'm a member of The British Trust for Ornithology and I keep a daily count of birds in my garden. The records of everyone taking part in the scheme are collated and recorded Nationally in order to see which species are on the decline etc.
    A lovely hobby and a useful one too.
    I agree birds do lead a very separate existence from ours, but it's nice when they cross paths.

  4. Fantastic, Ray! I'm not a proper bird watcher as my sight is too poor to tell some of them apart, but I love to see them and an unusual one is a bonus.

  5. Oh I know Nancy. The things I've missed by a hair's breadth in my life would fill volumes.

    They are indeed striking to see fairly close, the colours are so much brighter than you'd expect.

  6. Hi Perpetua.

    If you are "not a proper bird watcher", does that make you an improper one? Just a thought.!

    I keep a small pair of binoculars in the kitchen so I can correctly identify the species. Some are quite similar at a quick glance, and if I'm in doubt I check the details against one of my many bird books.

    Beats watching paint dry.

  7. Chortle, Ray. Oh, an improper one, naturally. :-) Until I get my cataracts done, even binoculars don't help much. My 87yr-old mother-in-law loves watching birds in the garden and has binoculars on a tripod by the patio doors, so she can watch with ease. Mind you, her sight is still almost perfect....

  8. I too have incipient cataracts but, having had my annual eye test last Tues have been told they are making such slow progress I may never have to have them removed. (here's hoping). Reading very small print has now become difficult so am to have my first reading glasses for only that, next week.
    Let's hope you can have your cataracts done soon.
    Sight is so precious isn't it.

  9. I love it when I'm captivated by nature! We have many lovely, colorful birds here in WA State. My favorite is the Finch.


  10. Oh I wish you'd been able to get a shot of "your" woodpecker...what a beauty!

  11. Thanks, Ray. You're like my mother-in-law who at 87 has only needed reading glasses for the last few years. I've been extremely short-sighted since childhood and find glasses and binoculars don't go well together. :-)

  12. Hi Kathleen.
    Yes I believe The United States, since it is so huge and covers so many different terrains and climates has a fantastic assortment of wildlife.
    Here we are less fortunate but still have a few really exotic looking birds.

  13. Theanne I too wish I'd been able to photograph my woodpecker, but even if the camera had been to hand I doubt it would have been much of a shot.
    My view was through the double-glazed leaded window of the back door, and any sudden movement, like opening the door would have scared him off.

  14. Perpetua, how about a small telescope, the monocular view might be easier than binoculars.?
    Just a thought.

  15. That's a very good idea, Ray. My right eye is far worse than the left, so this just might work. I'll have a word with DH and see what he suggests.

  16. It's wonderful how a bird can raise the spirits. For me, today, it was a goldfinch. Would love to have seen your woodpecker.

  17. Yes he was lovely Freda, but for me goldfinches are pretty rare too, though I did have a 'charm' of about a dozen in the very cold snap about two weeks ago.
    It is amazing isn't it how something so small can have such a big affect?