Friday, March 02, 2007


Just caught sight of something large and brown and flappy in one of the gardens that backs onto mine.

So I grabbed the bins, thinking it might just be a rook or similar with the sun shining on it - but it wasn't. It settled on the satellite dish on the back of their house and I got a good look at it. Sparrowhawk. Beautiful bird - it's always such a thrill to see a bird of prey, and again it's not exactly a common visitor. A year tick. I can't decide whether it was a male or female - it looked a bit big for a male, but it was a little orangy around the face so I'm leaning towards male.

Anyway, I grabbed Michael's camera, switched it on, set it to "sports" mode and tried to zoom in on the sprawk. Black screen. Why won't it work? Lens cap, dammit. I removed the lens cap and the sprawk flew off. Damn. I did get a great view of it flying over my garden though.

And typically, I've just had a similar problem with a couple of long-tailed tits on the fat feeder. I grab the camera, point and press the shutter. Blur. Again. Blur. LTTs leave. I realise that the camera's on manual focus.

Technology is conspiring against me... so I'll leave you with some pics that I've stolen. Imagine I took them, okay?

Long-tailed tit

Male sparrowhawk


  1. They are fantastic birds sparrow hawks. A couple of winters ago after a really prolonged cold spell one came into our garden chasing house sparrows. It did not manage to get them but it was a dam close run thing. I have the same problem with photos. Either I have not got the camera or by the time I have turned it on and got its focused the bird has flown.:)

  2. Birds are tough to photograph unless you are ALWAYS ready - and I don't know anyone who is ALWAYS ready!

    I've been trying to capture a couple of racoons in my backyard, but they are just out of reach of my camera - tantalizingly close to the eye, but far enough away to the lens that they just look like dark blobs. Argh!

  3. those ltt's always give me the run around, a little trick I use is too put some glue on the perch just before the food, that way they stay still...............................................................................only joking, not I tend to keep my finger on the shutter, at least 2 or 3 will be ok :)

  4. Birds are so inconvenient like that!

    Even when you're not trying to get photograph them, they appear long enough for you to spot them, but as soon as you pic up the bins to ID them they go and fly away.

    Birdwatcher - I would have loved to have seen that. I bet they can really move when they want to!

    Sayre - we had the same problem until Michael got a good camera. It's up to 19x zoom, so you get better pics than you can see with your eyes. It's really made a difference to the bird pics he can get. Would love to see raccoons, they look cute!

    Nic - that's tempting. The LTTs did come back later and Michael tried to snap them but the light wasn't great and they move too fast so all he got was long-tailed blurs.

  5. That must have been incredible to see!

  6. ok best thing to try is to make the food a little harder to get, that way they stay a little longer, get a branch carve out a gap quite long then fill with fat stuff, takes them longer to get the food out and gives you time to get a better photo ;)

  7. Yup Atilla, I was pretty thrilled to see it all right :)

    Nic, I like that idea. Maybe when I set up my new feeding area I'll do that.

    The few times they've been here they've been on the fat cake feeder, so I guess fat is the way to go!