Saturday Snapshots #73

by Jeanne on January 16, 2010

in Photography, Saturday Snapshots

BlackbirdF web

Blackbird – London, January 2010

Our house has a mature pyracantha hedge that surrounds the garden on two sides.  It's a great plant for a number of reasons:  it is evergreen (meaning that we have year-round privacy); it makes masses of sweet-scented blossoms in the spring and summer; it has formidable thorns (meaning good security); and in the autumn and winter it is covered in brightly coloured red and orange berries.  Or rather, it was until early January.

On 5 January, it started snowing and the land only really thawed out yesterday.  There was much complaining in the press about cancelled flights and delayed trains, but for the most part, people did not starve.  But for garden birds, the situation was very different. If you have no stores of food and no paws to dig through snow and ice, the frozen ground is a feeding disaster and starvation a real possibility.  It took only a day or so for the birds to discover that our hedge was a veritablle smorgasbord of non-frozen nutrition and soon we were inundated:  blackbirds, blue tits, robins, wood pigeons, fieldfares, black caps and chaffinches were suddenly making swoops on the hedge all day long. Over the course of less than a week, they have systematically picked the hedge clean of berries.  It does not look as pretty anymore, but it's great to know we helped so many birds to survive the cold snap.  This picture was taken on the first day when the birds started feasting on the hedge – a female blackbird delicately picking a single berry.

This is part of a series of non-food photographs that will be published every Saturday on CookSister. Click here for a full list of photographs previously featured.  All photos featured in Saturday Snapshots are available to buy as greeting cards or prints in my RedBubble store, including the new Year of Saturday Snapshots calendar, an A3-size calendar bringing together the most popular images from the first year of Saturday Snapshots.  Feel free to browse - it makes a great gift!

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

susina January 16, 2010 at 6:42 pm

Beautiful!!!!

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Joan Nova January 16, 2010 at 8:03 pm

Timing is everything in life and in photography…and yours was perfect that you actually caught it with the berry in the mouth. Fabulous.

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barbara January 16, 2010 at 10:04 pm

How perfect. I have had a flock of white galahs outside my window this morning. By the time I got my camera they had flown too far away to get a good shot.

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Manggy January 17, 2010 at 5:51 pm

That is impressive. In my neck of the woods it’s virtually impossible to get a close-up shot of a bird without it flying away!

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nina January 18, 2010 at 9:20 am

That is an awesome shot!!!

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Jeanne @ Cooksister January 18, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Susina – thanks!
Joan – I have to admit that there were a couple of discarded pics too, but I knew eventually I’d get her just nibbling the berry!
Barbara – just had to look up galahs on Wikipedia as I’m not familiar with them – they look so exotic & beautiful! Shooting pics of birds does make you realise that shooting pics of food is not without its advantages. For one, the food can’t fly away!!
Manggy – I will admit that there was a 300mm lens involved… :) But yes, they were very nervous & did fly away a few times…
Nina – thanks!

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Jamie January 18, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Wow! That is incredible! Beautiful!

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deeba January 18, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Take a look at that Jeanne…LOVE it! Not easy to get a bird nibbling…lovely!!

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rajani@eatwritethink January 21, 2010 at 3:20 am

love the shot!! you are really blessed to be living amidst beauty like this.

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