Sunday, 11 January 2009

Like selling sweeties from the bairns...

An impulse buy - Quite Shocking!!

Yesterday I went out to the local garden centre to buy some more bird food (mealworms to be precise). As often happens I had a bit of an amble about looking at the other stuff available to buy. I know, I'm sad, but always like wandering about garden centres. First off the block was a purchase of some Felco secateurs. I've been after a pair for years but the near £50 price tag has always put me off... usual thing, they may be good but can I justify the cost. Well yesterday, with the VAT reduction, I succumbed.... Thank you Mr Brown for producing the Credit Crunch. These secateurs were therefore a......... SNIP! (Drum roll please)

So in they went into my basket. Followed very quickly by a tub of mealworms. Then Andrew spied a very attractive looking stand, advertising wildlife camera kits. Everything from pond cams, to nest cams to this, a basic camera kit available in Black and White or Colour. After chatting to the knowledgeable (and erhumm quite attractive) lady assistant I discovered something which still confuses me. The above camera was £70. The nest cam kit, £199. The £129 difference? Seems just to be a wooden nest box as it's the same camera kit in the nest cam kit. Quite a nice FSC Nestbox, I grant you, but I bet you're now thinking exactly what I thought!!

So unsure why, but I had to have one. Even if I need further kit to record direct onto the Laptop, which is easy to install, this was much too much an exciting purchase to miss out on. And completely unplanned, hence the posting title (by the way bairns is Geordie for Children). So into the shopping basket that went. Onward to the tills and away home. Happy, but financially a lot lighter than an hour before. Why save money these days I say!!

This is the camera next to a £2 coin for size comparison. It's tiny and I have to say it's very good (actually it's a standard security camera and as such just a live feed optical device, but the clarity is brilliant). I pushed it out the window last night after dark and spied on the cul-de-sac outside. I have to say absolutely nothing happens outside my house on a Saturday night. Where is everyone? My current plan is to install it looking at a feeder, but we'll see, and once able to record I'll see what I can post on the blog. Boys and toys eh....... !!

That excitement was yesterday, but as I write this on Sunday evening, the wildlife programme Swarm is on BBC 1, starling flocking at the moment described by Neil Tennant as "a quicksilver of Starlings". Fame at last, ha ha.

Today was a much warmer day down here 8 degrees by mid afternoon. As such my drive to a friend allowed me to notice huge gull and corvid numbers talking advantage of the increasing wind and warmer weather. In particular Carrion Crows were wheeling in the air, with mixed species flocks of Jackdaw, Rook and Carrion Crow sharing melting pools of water to bathe, something they'll have struggled to do for weeks. Sadly every time I stopped the car to take a photo, they flew off. So this rubbish Rookie photo above is just a record shot to remind me of the day.

However 2 separate Ravens also hoved into view. The first flew off from a field to my left and tried to climb as it flew in front of and across the path of the car. However strong headwinds slowed it's ascent and gave me cracking views from only a few feet away, just showing how big these birds really are. In flight they are remarkably agile, this one in particular flipped it's wings to roll once it was high enough. The second Raven of the day was flying high about 5 miles further on into my journey.

These were in fact the third Raven I'd seen this weekend. Yesterday afternoon at Sand Bay I had scanned through about 50 Redshank, when there in front of me was a Spotted Redshank. Nice find, but while viewing this through the scope a tell tale Kruaak Krauaak alerted me to a bird behind me. Spotted Redshank scope-voyeurism was instantly abandoned and I watched the Raven through the bins as flew right overhead. Absolutely brilliant and I can never ever tire of these huge and brilliantly entertaining members of the Crow family. Always a thrill to see one, but three in one weekend is just "a Kind of Magic" as Queen sang.


  1. Now that's some post Andrew!

    Like the idea of the camera
    *goes off to think about where to site one*

    I too was watching the "Swarm" - amazing stuff!

    You'll not regret your Felco secateurs - good investment.. Had some as a present, and wouldn't be without them.

  2. Boys and their toys indeed, Andrew :-D

    I'm certain you will have great fun with the camera - you know you will ;-)

    Secateurs too... Yep.. well spoilt on this trip! Bairns today ;-)

  3. I'll look forward to your camera experiences Tricia.

    Shirl, I don't think I'll ever match your standards... well unless I borrow some serious boy and toys kit from work !! Now there's a thought.

  4. I also had to have a feeder-cam Andrew, Great fun!!

  5. Hi Andrew - I must admit I'd love a camera for each of our boxes (nothing like being greedy eh!) Have really enjoyed watching all Shirls boxes that she's been posting this last year. Just incase you decide on another set of Felco's as I did at Christmas I got them from here for about £27 - arrived very quickly - a good company to deal with.

    Enjoy the milder weather... have a good week - Miranda

  6. Do you record anything Warren?

    Thanks for the link Miranda, I had thought a while back about buying on line but thought best to try before I buy, so to speak.

  7. I do envy you your new camera Andrew. Good heavens, those secateurs are quite pricey. You did spoil yourself, lol

  8. Ahhahh yes Oldcrow, but those secateurs are a "cut above the rest" LOL

  9. Am I missing something here? Secateurs? I would like to see jackdaws, crows, rooks and ravens. So many people hate them. Why? They are sociable and intelligent birds. Photos please!

    Met you through SCOF, the Dark Lord! :) xxx

  10. P.S. I didn't realise you follow comments here, rather on your commenters' own blogs, so I'm now ticking the email follow-ups.

  11. Thanks for popping by Black Cat. I'll see what I can do about Crows, but you may wish to view Birding on Wheels, Yoke has a pet Jackdaw.

    As for secateurs, they're the Gnats Pyjamas in gardening equipment.

  12. Well I seem to be missing out here! I think I'm going to have to buy myself a nestcam! (don't want to be left behind in the techie stakes). Looking forward to seeing pictures!

    Black-cat. If you want to have a peep at Jackdaws, I have a post on my blog with a film of a local jackdaw roost taken at Christmas. What a din!


  13. Looking forward to the images Jane.