I spent just over an hour today concealed in a hide by the side of my pond, camera at the ready - I wasn't disappointed.
I have kept the hide in various garages for over 15 years - I first made it when I was studying upland birds. The hide is constructed of a metal (Dexion) frame and covered in cloth tailored from an old tarpaulin. I set it up last Sunday to give the birds a chance to get used to it by the pond.
Frustratingly reluctant to turn for the camera, but clearly a siskin nonetheless!
The pond is a great place to watch and to photograph birds because unlike feeders, which normally only cater for narrow ranges, all birds must come to water to drink and bathe fairly frequently. The birds can also be seen in a more 'natural' setting. This morning was very cold and most open water in the gardens frozen, so by making sure there was an area on the pond free of ice, I improved the chances of enticing the birds down even more.
Siskins (Carduelis spinus
) are winter visitors to most of Britain but they also breed in Scotland, Wales and scattered areas in England (particularly where there are large conifer plantations). The seeds of conifers, alder (Alnus glutinosa
) and birch (Betula
sp.) form the bulk of their natural diet, though they are also attracted to nuts in gardens, particularly if offered in a red mesh. I suspected some in my garden a week ago but didn't get a good enough view to confirm it. Having one drop down in front of my waiting camera was incredible, but also frustrating (so often the case with bird photography) in that it wouldn't offer me the perfect pose! No matter I would have been happy just to see it.