The telegraph pole over our garden wall provides a handy look-out for jackdaw-kind. These, the smallest of Britain’s crow family, are renowned, like magpies, for their thieving ways and proclivities for bling. But they are companionable birds. They mate for life, and form large flocks. They also gather with rooks and starlings, joining in their aerial sundowner displays.
The common name derives from their call: tchak-tchak, but they have many other apt descriptors including ‘chimney-sweep bird’. Anyone who has ever had to remove a jackdaws’ nest in their chimney will never forget the astounding deluge of soot and sticks and bird detritus. So if you have an unguarded chimney be warned. They do like the pots to nest in; also holes in trees and nooks in castle ruins.
I’m wondering what this one is thinking about. It looks like a bird with a plan.
Bird Weekly #42 Lisa at Our Eyes Open wants to see what we’ve seen bird-wise in the past fortnight
Bright Square #13
A couple of winters ago we tried pinning fat balls to the garden fence for passing birds to peck at. Then along came this big old rook from the nearby rookery. You can see what will happen next. And it did. No sharing here.
Bird Weekly: on wire or fence Visit Lisa at Eyes Wide Open – the go-to blog for bird lovers
One of the extraordinary things that happened last March, along with advent-lockdown, was the appearance of this red-legged partridge on top of the old privy roof. Well! Never had this kind of thing happened in the garden before. In my experience partridges are rather covert birds. You’re lucky to have a fleeting glimpse if you happen to startle one along a farm-field hedgerow. This one, however, stood in full view for ages. Not only that, it began to further advertise its presence with some very loud and rasping calls. It was all rather thrilling. Who knew that partridge plumage was so very magnificent. I certainly didn’t.
Square Up #29
Bird Weekly: Lisa calls for brown feathered varieties
Life in Colour: Brown
It was definitely a case of trial and error. This wood pigeon was far too big and heavy to perch safely in our little crab apple tree AND snaffle the apples. Various approaches were attempted. Finally the down-under manoeuvre did the trick. Success!
Today Becky is using her magic crystal ball to do some conjuring.
Bird Weekly – up tails all
This week Lisa wants to see ‘butts in the air’ bird life.
It is distinctly shivery in Shropshire just now, the wintery weather set to stay for a couple of weeks at least. And so as ever when the parts are chillier than is altogether comfortable, thoughts turn to the old Africa album and days when we lived in warmer climes. Christmas and New Year are the hot season in Kenya, following on the short rains (a term that these days belies their frequent flooding capacities).
Lake Elmenteita in the Great Rift Valley was one of our favourite getaway spots, only an hour or so’s drive north of Nairobi. The shallow soda lake is the breeding and feeding ground for both greater and lesser flamingos (it’s mostly the former you see in this shot).
The small tented camp where we stayed nestled among fever trees at the foot of the East Rift escarpment, below the Aberdares range. I took the photo just as the early morning sun rose above the heights and lit up the flamingos. Of course this scan from an original photo doesn’t quite do the scene justice, the crispness lost in translation. But you get the gist. It’s still very lovely. Though come to think of it, this part of the Rift was very chilly at dawn: jumper and jacket and wellies required, so not so different from my usual Shropshire outdoor garb.
For those who want to know more about this extraordinary place plus a spot of Kenya’s colonial history see my earlier post:
On watch at Elmenteita: the lake that blows away
Today I’m doing a two-in-one post for Becky’s January Square Ups, and Lisa’s Bird Weekly. Please pay them a visit.
Square Up #3
Bird Weekly This week Lisa at Our Eyes Open wants to see birds with long wing spans.