Redpollice Academy

Bird hides are strange places.  They are basically garden sheds with windows that open, but instead of being full of trowels, that bicycle that you promise yourself you’ll ride down the canal in better weather (yet never do) and the Flymo that gives off electric shocks when you use it, they are stocked to the rafters with expensive, hi-tech camera and telescopic gadgetry.  They are also full of people wearing non-rustle camouflage clothing, sitting – for the most part – in silence…  I assume this is also a difference from your sheds too – If not, I’m afraid I have misjudged you all.

In his book, Birdwatchingwatching (2009), Alex Horne describes bird-watching as ‘essentially an enormous game of hide and seek, in which you do the hiding and the seeking and the birds have no idea they’re involved in a game.’  The birds go about their business unaware that they are basically being pried upon by a group of voyeurs – It’s a brilliantly simple way to watch nature up close and the birds aren’t bothered by any of this…  Until the deafening silence is broken when someone’s phone rings.  In my experience, mobiles that ring in bird hides seem to embarrass the owner in two ways: (i) They feel bad that they forgot to switch the device to silent and this may scare off anything outside and (ii) The ringtone is always seemingly cringe worthy.  My two experiences of phones going off in bird hides has brought the sound of something akin to Motörhead and, more recently, a computerized voice loudly repeating ‘YOU ARE BEING CALLED BY YOUR DAUGHTER… YOU ARE BEING CALLED BY YOUR DAUGHTER!’  Both of which seem incredibly out of place in a shed… and possibly out of place anywhere.

My phone is always on silent, but I always check before entering a hide – I would hate to scare off a Blue Tit with something from my extensive Celine Dion collection.

Anyway…

A visit to Warnham Nature Reserve was my means of adding to my 2014 bird list.  It is a great little place just outside Horsham and it was here that I saw my first ever Osprey a couple of years ago.  They also serve the biggest slices of cake I have ever seen.  It is also home to my (so far) favourite bird hide (How cool do I sound?)

CAKE!

CAKE!

Outside the hide is a wooded area that attracts a remarkable array of wildlife.  Birds line up in the trees and take turns to visit the feeders – It’s a bit like aeroplanes waiting for their turn to come in and land at an airport.

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Greenfinch

Greenfinch

Great-Spotted Woodpecker

Great-Spotted Woodpecker

Robin

Robin

Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll

Blackbird (plus soon to be ex-worm)

Blackbird (plus soon to be ex-worm)

Siskin

Siskin

Lesser Redpoll (with dubious bird-table manners)

Lesser Redpoll (with dubious bird-table manners)

Shoveler

Shoveler

No new species, but a slice of cake the size of my head and some great views of birds from the warmth of a glorified potting shed made for a superb day.

 

After the unmitigated success of Fauna Corner last week, I am proud to announce the launch of my 2014 Butterfly Board, where I pictorially highlight the Lepidoptera I’ve managed to spy whilst out and about.

Butterflies are beautifully photogenic creatures and usually fairly cooperative when having a camera pointed at them.  That said, I am pretty sure that one will, one day, be the death of me as I tend to give pursuit whenever I see one, following them without due care and attention.  Last year I almost fell off the North Downs whilst trying to get a photograph of a Marbled White.  I got no photo, but did get grass burnt elbows.

Small White

Small White

Orange Tip

Orange Tip

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About mixaeljones

Hello! I try to undertake a yearly challenge and write about it in a semi-witty manner. I often use twenty words when three will do. I am also a big fan of terrible puns and taking unintentionally blurry photographs of wildlife. In 2013 I tried to eat a food I hadn't eaten before each week (I got to 28!), in 2014 I attempted to seek out as many species of bird as I could in the year (I got to 201!) and in 2015 I delved head first into the world of butterflies and tried to see as many different types as possible (44!)... I've also done some belly dancing, been Father Christmas and nearly played tennis against Bjorn Borg. If any of this seems like it might be of interest, feel free to check out my blogs... Comments encouraged! Have a nice day :)
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