Hope is the thing with feathers

Before heading to Derbyshire for the summer to work as an Ecological Consultant learning to survey bats and habitats, and to write up technical reports, I spent a lot of time just with the birds in my Highland garden. By “a lot of time” I mean months. Primarily January through to April, during the coldest time here, I walked and sat by the sea, walked on the Machair, and sat in my garden photographing birds.

With the purchase of a number of varying types of bird feeder during my first year of owning the house, and three new bird nesting boxes installed on trees and a shed, the birds had begun to flock every day, all day, to my little corner of Scottish heaven. So I sat out in freezing temperatures in the snow – and suffered from exposure on two occasions – and in rain, and in a heatwave, and photographed the various species which deigned to visit me in the garden.

To my delight these included a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major); two Song Thrush (Turdus philomelos); four European Robins (Erithacus rubecula); a Treecreeper (Certhia familiaris) who I named Sascha (so sassy); a few Great tits (Parus major); Greenfinch (Chloris chloris); Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs); a group of very noisy House Sparrows (Passer domesticus); a very typically land-based and mouse-like Dunnock (Prunella modularis); a random pair of Long Tailed tits (Aegithalos caudatus) who sadly didn’t stay for long; a pair of Blackbirds (Turdus merula); a beautifully songful Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus) who visited for only a few days; a glorious pair of Reed Buntings (Emberiza schoeniclus), a Snipe (Gallinago gallinago) named Wesley, naturally; and later on a small group of European Starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) began to visit in their own chaotic fashion every late morning.

Not all of these species used the feeders, but they came because of the food and other bird traffic, and stayed in the garden long enough for me to watch and study their behaviours and photograph most of them.

Published by Clare Lusher

Photographer. Londoner. BSc. MSc. RHS trained Horticulturist gone rogue.

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