19th March 2014
Time for another visit to Lynford Arboretum, so I set off with my bag of seed. Having parked, had breakfast and a cup of tea, I set off down the track to the gate by the feeders. There was the usual procession of tits, Chaffinches and Blackbirds picking up the crumbs, but sadly no sign of the Hawfinches that do occasionally pop in to have a drink from the water bath. However, by way of compensation, a Redwing did appear and provided me with a couple of shots.
Next stop was the Silver Firs by the brick-built folly towards the southern end of the arboretum. Here recently have been a pair of Firecrests that have provided good views, so I was hopeful of a couple of decent shots. Unfortunately, it didn't quite turn out like that. First of all just one Firecrest was calling rather intermittently, and when it did show was very active and flitting from extremely dark shady conditions to extremely bright back-lit conditions making having the camera on the right settings almost impossible.However, I did manage a few record shots.
The bird eventually fell quiet and so I took a stroll down to the lake to see what was about. There had been a number of Crossbills about and, as is normal, they would perch on top of the highest tree so that, from a photographic perspective, they were always miles away. However, as I approached the lake, I could hear the characteristic chipping quite close by. I searched all the surrounding tall trees to no avail and then realised that the two birds present were perched at head height just 10 yards in front of me in a lake-side Alder, waiting for an opportunity to get a drink. Although they were close it was not easy as they were hidden by branches but for the female I was able to adjust my position to get this shot. A clear case of being in the right place at the right time.
I then moved on to the final site which is where the bag of seed came in. At the southern end of the arboretum there is a bridge over a stream that leads from the lake. On the bridge there are a number of large concrete pillars that for some reason have a half-inch depression in the top rather like a bird table. This where I deposited the seed. Within ten seconds tits, Dunnocks, Robins and Chaffinches were gathering to see what was on offer.
However, the next bird along was rather special as, although I had photographed Marsh Tits before, this was by far the closest and under reasonably controlled conditions.
But the prize today goes to one of my favourite birds, the Nuthatch, which not only visited the seed, but also spent so much time selecting only the best seed that it provided me with ample opportunities for some really close-up shots.
Don't forget that for better reproduction of my photos, see my photo gallery at flickr.com/photos/seymourbirdies