SPARROW CHICKS IN DORSET


Our house provides nesting opportunities for sparrows on all sides. Somewhat ramshackle, with plenty of holes in the thick walls and under the eaves, it is perfect for the communal sparrow lifestyle. Every year we think of filling the holes, and then to decide not to. The sparrows do no harm. We’d miss them. Here are some chicks in the most easily accessible hole for photography. It is used every year, usually twice. An iPhone is best for the purpose because the flash is right next to the lens.

Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 01 Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 02 Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 03 Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 04 Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 05 Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 06 Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 07 Sparrow Chicks, Dorset 10

Gable End Wall 2
Gable End date

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WINTER BIRDING IN NEW YORK CITY (1)


Strange as it may seem, New York City is a great place for birding. The city may not sleep, and maybe neither do the birds, but nonetheless there are several excellent locations to see a wide variety of species. NYC lies right on the East Atlantic Flyway, the eastern migratory route of the USA. Along it, birds hurtle forth and back twice a year, from tiny warblers to large shorebirds, as they seek winter warmth nearer the equator before returning in summer.

north-america-migration-flyways
wqed.org

The optimum hotspot is CENTRAL PARK, in particular The Ramble (central) and the secluded Pond / Ravine walk by a pretty stream (north). This is definitely the first place to head for if you have half a day to spare. There’s a very good Central Park website (link above). You’ll also find a CP birding map online, and several websites devoted to birding CP from which you can get or make your own checklist (caution: some sites are a bit… intense). Among books, I have Birds of Central Park by Carl Vornberger and The Ramble: A Wilderness West of 5th by Robert A. McCabe. These are small coffee table books to enjoy rather than field guides, and can be found on Amazon (.com), ABE and occasionally eBay.

It’s worth mentioning PROSPECT PARK BROOKLYN as another good place for birds. It is very large and has plenty of water, which is excellent for water fowl and geese. I’ve seen chipmunks there too (well, I was excited, anyway). There’s the added bonus that the BROOKLYN MUSEUM is right there – perfect for a morning followed by an afternoon in the park.

Here are a few birds photographed in and around the City when temperatures remained below freezing despite a bright sun. There’ll be some more soon.

STARLING BY THE HIGH LINE, LOWER MANHATTANStarling, High Line, NYC

NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD, HIGH LINENorthern Mockingbird, High Line, NYC

NORTHERN CARDINALS, CENTRAL PARK Northern Cardinal, Central Park, NYCNorthern Cardinal, Central Park NYC

TUFTED TITMICE, CENTRAL PARKTufted Titmouse, Central Park NYCTufted Titmouse (2) Central Park NYC

HOUSE SPARROW, CENTRAL PARKHouse Sparrow, Central Park NYC

RING-BILLED GULLS, STATEN ISLAND FERRYRing-billed Gull, Staten Island Ferry NYCRing-billed Gull, Staten Island Ferry, NYC

HERRING GULLS, STATEN ISLAND FERRYHerring Gull, Staten Island Ferry, NYC

Helicopter photobomb above the bird!Herring Gull, NYC

HOUSE SPARROW CHICKS IN THE NEST IN A HOUSE…


The gable end wall of our house is very old thick stone, and full of holes. Some are deep enough for sparrows to nest in, which they do every year. Mrs RH is quite keen to fill the holes; I enjoy the annual sparrow nesting routines in the holes, and in the gaps under the gable eaves. Last year I recorded the sounds emerging from the largest hole as the chicks grew. This year, I tried photography. The problems, without special equipment, were lighting and focus. I wasted a vast number of shots on useless photos before realising that I only had to wait until the evening sun was full on the wall. Here are some resulting photos. A few days later, they had flown!

Apart from the noise of the chicks awaiting food, nothing much to see here…Sparrow Nest Totnell 1

Half an hour later the sun has helpfully moved roundSparrow Nest Totnell 2 Sparrow Nest Totnell 3 Sparrow Nest Totnell 5

The ‘money shot’!Sparrow Nest Totnell 7Sparrow Nest Totnell 8

SEVERAL BORING BIRDS (THAT AREN’T REALLY…)


COLLARED DOVE

Collared Dove RH

PIGEON

Pigeon

COLD PIGEONS

Pigeons

GOOSE 

Canada  Goose

MALLARD 

Mallard

STARLING

Starling 1

SPARROW

Sparrow

WHITE DUCK 

White Duck

COOT

Coot

GULLS

Gulls