Welcome to our back garden in North Oxfordshire...and meet our feathered visitors!

Monday, 30 May 2011


I must admit that I find jackdaws really creepy. But as they are, unfortunately, regular visitors to our garden (several at a time...), I guess I should add a jackdaw entry to this blog.

Photos of jackdaws aren't easy to get, as they are spooked really easily. That's funny -- they spook me very easily, too!

I finally got a couple of photos this afternoon, and I've posted them here. Remember that you can click on any of the photos for a larger version.

Isn't that second photo a little chilling?


Sunday, 29 May 2011

An evening in the garden - 17 May 2011

John and I sat out in the back corner of the garden on the evening of the 17th of May, sipping on alcoholic ginger beer and watching the birds. Here are three photos I took that evening.

Click on any of them for a full-sized version.



My favorite of our garden birds has to be the blackbirds. No, they aren't the most beautiful birds in our garden. But they are the most comical, and the males are the best singers!

There are several characteristics of blackbirds that make them special to me. One is how they literally hop all around the lawn, looking for worms. A few times I've had the chance to see one hop in place on the grass and then cock his/her head, listening for the sound of worms in the soil. It's very hard to see what they are eating without some sort of magnification; but even with the most basic of binoculars, you can see them pulling the worms out of the soil. It's very entertaining!

I also enjoy the behavior of young blackbirds, who follow their parents around the garden, begging for food. I still haven't managed a very clear photo of a blackbird male or female feeding a chick, but hopefully my luck will change one of these days.

I'll post here a few of the blackbird photos I've taken in the past...and remember that you can click on any of them to see a larger version.

A male blackbird, hopping around our lawn.

A baby blackbird, hiding in the plants near our front door.

The blackbirds enjoy the little pool near our back door...

...flapping and spilling water everywhere...

...and then looking a bit dishevelled on the edge!


The Yellowhammers

John was the first to spot the yellow-headed male yellowhammer in our garden last week. After several attempts to photograph him, I finally managed a few mediocre shots. Then, suddenly, I realized that what we actually had was a pair of yellowhammers -- even more special! I guess there's a nest nearby.

Yellowhammers have "Red Status" in the UK, meaning that their numbers have decreased rapidly. We'll do our best to help our pair as much as we can.

Here's the best photo I've taken so far of "MC" and "Amelie" Yellowhammer...and you can click on the photo for a larger version:


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Our Latest Visitor: "Mel" the Greenfinch

I saw a new bird on the peanut feeder this afternoon, and luckily my camera was close by. This was our new visitor (click on the image for a full-sized version)...

A quick web search told us that this is a male greenfinch. As it's our niece Melissa's birthday today, we decided to name our new visitor "Mel".



Let me also introduce you to the Great Spotted Woodpecker that we've nicknamed "Woody". He/she does not come to eat nuts as regularly as some of our other birds, but each appearance on the nut feeder is greeted with excitement in our household!

What a beautiful bird...but one that's very skittish of humans.

Click on any of the photos for a full-sized version.



Let me introduce you to "Batman", our resident robin. For my American readers, he is a so-called European Robin.

I took the following series of photos last autumn, out of our kitchen window. Batman was one of the few garden birds that we saw all through the winter as well. I now understand why the robin is featured on so many Christmas cards in England.

Batman was one of the first birds to take a bath in the little drinking/bathing bowl just behind our house.

Click on any of the photos for a larger version.


Blue Tits Have Taken Residence

I mentioned in my introductory post that a family of blue tits have taken residence in a bird house that's fastened to the fence along the side of our house. Well, here are a series of photos I managed to get a few weeks ago, before we could hear any chirping from the house (which we can now). Here's mom or dad - I'm not knowledgeable enough to tell which - first heading into the box (with some nest-building materials) and then exiting.

You can click on any of the photos to see them in a larger size.



Welcome to my new blog!

I'm a long-time blogger (Lord Celery has been going for a long time now), but I decided that I'd like to have a blog dedicated to showing photos of our bird friends.

I'm an ex-pat American who has traded apartment living in both New York City and Houston for a home in a village in North Oxfordshire, England. This adventure began in 2003, when I first moved into a rental house here in the village. After John (who is English) and I got married in 2006, we were lucky enough to be able to buy a home in the same community.

We live near the edge of the village, surrounded by farmland. We acquired a bird table for our back garden soon after moving into the house. Over the years, we have added a couple of additional seed feeder and bird baths, and a bird house I bought for John a few years ago is now home to a family of blue tits.

We love our birds and also love photography, and the two interests blend beautifully. I have been posting a few of our bird photos on Facebook and on my Lord Celery blog pages. But I've decided that it would be fun to have a blog dedicated to our feathered friends.

So if you are reading this, I hope you will come back often to see who has been hanging around our back garden!