Male Common Redpoll in winter.

One from the archives, taken in Saskatchewan in the late 1990s. I found a small flock of Common Redpolls (Acanthis flammea) feeding on windblown seeds caught in a snow bank.

Due to the temperature and wind I set up a portable hide (blind). This allowed me to get close to the birds without disturbing them while keeping slightly warmer as I was out of the wind. Sitting in the hide also put me closer to eye level with the birds on the snow bank.

The red on the breast makes this individual a male. The current scientific classification of the various Redpoll species is under debate by the various taxonomic authorities. My reasoning is that if they can’t agree I’m sticking with this being a male Common Redpoll.

Common Redpoll on snow.

 

Red-breasted Nuthatch.

Throwback Thursday only travels back about nine years. A follow up of sorts to my Wordless Wednesday post yesterday as the shots were taken a couple of weeks and maybe a distance of five yards apart.

There’s a reason why I picked a Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) for this Throwback Thursday post. The species had been a regular and common visitor to the yard and feeders since I moved to the area 10 years ago.

Until this autumn that is. After having a yard full of adults and young early in the autumn I’m now hardly seeing any. I hadn’t really noticed the dramatic reduction in numbers until I read something online about large numbers of Red-breasted Nuthatches moving into the north eastern U.S. from Canada. It’s thought that the conifer seed crop in Canada is low causing the birds to head south for the winter. Since reading about the irruption a week or so ago I have seen only two birds in the yard, a few days apart.

This article gives more information and probably explains why our Purple Finches have also disappeared.

As the cap on top of the birds head is black this is a male Red-breasted Nuthatch. Females have a slate grey cap, the colour of the back and wings.

Male Red-breasted Nuthatch.

 

Squares.

This week’s Cosmic Photo Challenge is Squares. I had a few ideas for the challenge but this ended up an obvious choice with squares of wire mesh holding peanuts for the birds.

This is a male Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus) feeding on peanuts in a garden in Cheshire, England. Although a year round resident in the U.K. it is more commonly seen in the winter when it comes to bird feeders.

This is the way most people see Siskins which probably explains why a magazine editor used this photo over others shots of the species in natural settings that I had submitted.

Eurasian Siskin on peanuts.

Being watched at sunset.

One from the archives taken in Lancashire, England in the 1990s. I spent most of the day at Martin Mere Wetland Centre, a Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust nature reserve. There’s a selection of wooden hides (blinds) overlooking various areas of the reserve.

I made sure that I was in the most suitable hide as the sun was setting with the intention of shooting silhouettes of the wildfowl on the water. This male Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) appears to be staring at the lens although I suspect that it is a coincidence as the birds generally ignored the hides. I like the way the last light is catching the grey portion of the birds bill.

Being watched at sunset.

Napping male Common Pochard.

Throwback Thursday travels back to Cheshire in the 1990s. This male Common Pochard (Aythya ferina) was napping in front of a wooden hide (blind) on Hurleston Reservoir in south Cheshire. The ripples and peeking eye add to the image for me.

Large numbers of Common Pochard winter in the U.K. and this bird was in a small flock that visited the reservoir.

Common Pochard napping.