Here are two more shots of the nuthatch taken with the borrowed lens. (Click here for what the heck I mean about “borrowed lens.”)
My friend Ellen was excited to show me her new Canan f2.8 lens with a range of 70 to 200mm. She asked if I wanted to borrow it for a week and I said yes (of course). With 200mm as the maximum zoom, its capability as a wildlife photography lens is limited, but still very useful for some circumstances. Many of the days were overcast and that made the 2.8 aperture very handy. It is also a high-quality lens so even subjects that are a bit distant will still be sharp.
I experimented with the lens mostly in the backyard where I know I have a steady supply of subjects near the birdfeeders. White-breasted nuthatches turned out to be the best subjects as they perched in a tree close to the feeders before coming to get a seed. Here are some of the results. The lens has since been returned but it was a joy to play with it for a few days. Thanks Ellen.
I originally used this homemade birdfeeder (made from simply from drilling holes into a section of a fallen branch I found in the yard) to serve suet to the birds. It proved to be quite labor intensive to get the suet into the holes and it has the potential to harm birds if they get the suet on their feathers, so I put the feeder on the backburner for a while. I never like to discard things like this because you never how it may be repurposed.
The other day I got the idea to stick peanuts in the holes instead. It worked out great. The larger birds such as blue jays and red-bellied woodpeckers are strong enough to pull the peanuts out and fly off. The smaller birds such as nuthatches, downy woodpeckers and titmice simply perch on the branch, or even another peanut, to pick apart the shell and get at the nuts inside.
It’s supposed to be 70, pushing 80, degrees this week. Although New England can throw us some surprises, I’m fairly confident we are done with winter and spring is ready to bloom.
So with that said, here are my last leftover winter photos. I love the photo above. My birdbath bowl broke in half this winter and I didn’t have the heart to throw it away. I used it as a small platform feeder, but when the snow came, obviously it accumulated and covered the seeds. After one of the storms I used some peanuts and sunflower seeds to make a face on the accumulate snow. I was hoping a bird would show up and enhance the photo even more, but no such luck … at least not when I was looking. But it made for a neat photo anyway.
Enjoy and happy spring.
Here’s a side-by-side (well, really top-to-bottom) comparison of the two nuthatches in New England. The White-breasted is more common throughout much of the region. It is also larger than its cousin. The Red-breasted is more common in the northern parts of New England and visits the southern region in the winter in numbers that vary greatly from year to year.
Here’s the latest For the Birds column, which runs weekly in The Hour (Norwalk, Conn.), The Keene (NH) Sentinel and several Connecticut weekly newspapers.
The feeders went back up a few weeks ago. Nothing extraordinary has shown up yet, but it sure is nice to see the “regular” birds back.
My constant companions are nuthatches, titmice and chickadees. There is usually a downy woodpecker or two there as well, but they are not as reliable as the aforementioned birds.
I love seeing the nuthatches. I love the titmice and chick Continue reading