Out and About

It has been just like spring this last week.  We have had daytime temperatures in double digits centigrade and lots of sunshine.  Saw my first butterfly on the 15th, a bright yellow male Brimstone zipped through the garden, no chance of any photos to mark the occasion but my time will come. Since then there has been two more.  Talking of the garden me and Mrs H have managed to get it back into order with a lot of hard work, have even cut the lawns!  Time to go out and about.

Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)

“I’m out of here!”  No matter how carefully I approach the water’s edge these wary diving ducks just melt off into the distance.  This drake is keeping a close eye on me.

Great Spotted Woodpecker (Dendrocopos major)

Defeating the law of gravity.  A walk in the woodlands of Holkham Park and I saw this Woodpecker walking upside down along the branches, shame it wasn’t in a sunny spot.

Nuthatch (Sitta europaea)

“Call me Zorro!”  The Nuthatch is one of my favourite woodland birds.  The blue/grey upper parts, peachy colouring below and that black eye mask should make this little fellow stand out, they are excellent at concealment though.  The Nuthatch is the only British bird that can walk head first down trees.

Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiacus)

What is it with water birds giving me the evil eye?  This species was introduced to the ornamental lakes of country estates in East Anglia in the late 17th century.  Originally it struggled to survive the winters, now it’s population is booming.  Escapees are breeding so well they can be found all over the place, and they are very vocal!

Goldcrest (Regulus regulus)

” A little privacy please!”  Not the best of shots but I had to include it as I love the look on the Goldcrest’s face.  I stumbled across these two taking a bath in a small puddle in the footpath at Holkham.  Just wish I could have got closer.  These are Europe’s smallest bird.

Long-tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

How cute is that?  No problem getting close to this one.  As the Lemming used to call them ‘fluffy things on sticks’.  They also make the most beautiful nest, a little dome of moss, lichen and spiders webs lined with hundreds of downy feathers.  To fit inside the adult has to curl it’s tail around itself.

21 thoughts on “Out and About

  1. Wow! I am a little jealous that you have butterflies already. By contrast, we had four inches of snow earlier this week. It is wonderful to see photos of so many of your little birds (and big ones too like the Egyptian Goose). I especially liked the inquisitive look of the Goldcrest, which looks to be a cousin of our Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa).

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    1. I am hoping there is no sting in the tail and the weather stays clement. Glad you like the images Mike, you visit Europe often so you might get the chance to see lots of our birds, I always look forward to your posts stateside where nearly everything is new to me.


  2. What a lovely sighting of birds! I’ve only seen a Tufted duck once. It was here by mistake or wrong turn. It was hanging out in Oakland CA with the Scaups. A friend and I went up there to see it before it flew home. It was an exciting sight and one more duck added to my life list.

    The Egyptian Goose…another one that went astray and was here on a golf course up near San Francisco one year that I got to see from quite a distance. It didn’t have this lovely plumage though. Must have been in its winter white then.

    No butterfly or skipper sightings here yet. My butterfly loving plants are still deep in sleep and winter mode.

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  3. Great photos Brian, lots of favourites there. We don’t get the delightfully patchwork-like Egyptian geese; and some of the others have different habits up here. The tufted ducks aren’t too shy – maybe the local bread-throwers have habituated them. But the long tailed tits don’t hang around for a photo. Love a nuthatch, and mostly only hear the woodpeckers! No Brimstones up here but will be looking for the usual suspects on Sunday on a long run. A few spotted in the Lothians but not by me. Roll on Spring!

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  4. A nice selection of photos. I’ve never seen an Egyptian Goose before – fantastic plumage. (My wife and I keep saying that we should visit that part of the country sometime). And we have now seen 3 or 4 butterflies in our valley (at 1,400m). I tracked one down and sure enough it was a Tortoiseshell. It’s amazing when you consider that 80-90% of the valley is still covered in snow. The many days of sunshine has obviously tricked them into coming out to play!

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  5. Nice set of pics! You and Cedar both putting out bird posts – life is good. I actually had to go look and see if the Goldcrest was the same as our Golden-Crowned and learned that they are actually different birds. Really like your shot of the Nuthatch and my favorite is probably the Long-Tailed Tit, an 11 on the cute chart for sure. Feel free to mail one of those over here (I will not tell Ron). If have never heard of the Egyptian Goose and pretty sure that will by added to Clowns as the source of most of my nightmares. One creepy looking waterfowl – almost looks like Dr. Frankenstein put it together and zapped it to life. Starting to warm up here, so hoping I can get out in the field pretty soon too. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Cheers B. Yes those geese are a bit weird and spreading rapidly. Like some ducks they nest up high on things like bridge supports so the young have to make a jump start into the world. The long-tailed Tit I’ll try and send one in the post, bit difficult getting in an envelope without damaging that tail 😂 And I guess Ron will smell a rat 🤔🙄

      Liked by 1 person

  6. So pleased to hear your butterflies are appearing, looking forward to your awesome captures of them the coming season. Beautiful captures, the Long-tailed Tit is absolutely adorable! Love the Goldcrest capture too, great caption! 🙂

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