Monday 2 January 2012

The post in which a certain word doesn't appear

It seems like I've been gallivanting all over the place during the past week or so. But this morning I decided to spend a bit of quality time at home, staring wistfully into the garden.

In the 2 hours after dawn, we recorded 17 species, all feeding within the environs of Tense Towers (fly bys don't count). I tried to take a few photos of a Reed Bunting, hopping about beneath the sunflower seed dispenser at the base of the feeding stand. However, it was too shady for anything crisp, especially through two windows.

As the sun wearily dragged itself up into the sky, the shadows cast by our neighbour's house gradually receded. Eventually, one of the feeders found itself in the full glare of some golden wintery light and I brought a small arsenal of optics to bear on the fat block hanging from the Hawthorn tree.

It was fun having the time to try different gadgets and settings. I managed a few shots with my phone cam through a telescope, but then a Blackcap, Sylvia atricapilla, appeared and a less fiddly approach was needed. Good old Very Wrong Len was hauled out and plonked on the tripod, windows and doors were opened to improve the view and Tense Towers became much cooler quite quickly!

This male warbler only started visiting the garden during the last few days and seems to appreciate the fat block, as there aren't many insects about at this time of year. He's never still for a second, though, and as I amateurishly blundered about with ISO, F stop and exposure settings, a whole host of blurred images and muttered obscenities were created.

Male Blackcap with a... small blue bird of some sort*
Between the Blackcap's visits, various other birds queued up, or barged in, to enjoy a free meal. Here's a few more of this morning's cast...

Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dendrocopos major
Robin, Erithacus rubecula
Starlings, Sturnus vulgaris
In case you were wondering, yes, that annoying branch did mysteriously disappear half way through the morning [whistles innocently, whilst averting eyes from the general direction of the secateurs].

* Author's note: A few days ago, whilst idly scanning a list of my posts from the last 6 months, I noticed that a few of them had much higher visitor numbers than the rest. A whole 50% more than the next highest. Odd, I thought... what could possibly be the reason? Were the topics related? A short investigation revealed that, yes, the posts in question were connected, being those pertaining to the ID mystery of Poecile palustris and P. montanus. And in which the short word beginning with 't' and ending in 'it' appeared rather frequently. Now it could just be that this identification question is one that does exercise the many great ornithological minds of the globe, but I suspect that the search engines of the world spend an inordinate amount of time looking for that particular grouping of three letters. In my quiet backwater of cyberspace, I had not even considered how peculiarly androcentric the internet can sometimes be. So the other bird in the Blackcap photo is Cyanistes caeruleus, also known as a Blue Cap.


Spadger said...

Glad you're managing to keep abreast of cyber search engine vagaries. Given the vogue to assign US names to some of the birds we share with our friends across the pond, eg: loons, mew gulls, etc, then to save any future embarrassment perhaps you should substitute the busty substance word for chickadee :0)

Imperfect and Tense said...

I've a mate in NZ who calls every bird a budgie i.e. gannet = big white sea budgie. But I think we'd run out of adjectives if we went down that road. As for the internet, there's a lot of complete and utter chickadees out there who need to get a life.

Martin said...

Double the number could still be few hits... Double 2 is 4... Ornithological mysteries.

Are you still interested in the ID question? I've got photographs of two ID books from home and may go and boost your search scores further in a wee while. Oh and copies can be emailed ;)

Imperfect and Tense said...

I don't have many posts that attract over 100 hits and from all over the world, it was easy to jump to an obvious conclusion.

Better minds than mine have put up photos of both species in the hide, so ID is now less of an issue. We still appear to have just Marsh thingy. What's more, there's a bit of discussion as to whether they mimic each other's calls!