Blue tit
Blue tit

On the Thursday 27th February I spent a day at Netherbury near Bridport in bird hides with a group of friends from Blandford Camera club. The hides are in the garden of natural history photographer Colin Varndell and through the winter he allows photographers to use them for days at a reasonable cost. He makes sure that the feeding stations are well stocked with food and all we had to do was to be  patient, keep quiet and wait to see what appears.

With the weather we have had in the last while we wondered how the day would turn out, we had to make a decision to book the hides so it was pot luck, although Colin would have postponed it if the weather had been horrendous. We were very lucky it had rained heavily in the night but by the time we got to Netherbury the sun came out and it shone for most of the day except for a couple flurries of rain.

We were well prepared with warm clothing and chairs and food although we had a break for a welcome cup of tea and Susy’s scrummy flapjacks! While we were enjoying them Colin related some natural history stories of which he has many.

With the year being so mild the birds have been finding plenty of food in the wild, Colin  showed us a heap of rotting apples which he left for Fieldfares and Redstarts but he hadn’t seen many this season.

Any way we settled down in the first hides in fairly open ground, there were feeders and rough blackberry scrub where the birds could land. I was sat in a moveable hide covered in material and when we a a storm I thought it would take off, but it didn’t.

We soon had plenty of birds coming in, usually the Sparrows first followed by the more shy birds.

After lunch we moved to some hides in a wooded area of the garden  and again the birds and a squirrel and Bank Vole came in to feed. We had plenty of time to take pictures and it was enjoyable just waiting and not thinking about what things we had to do at home, we were there for the day and could just enjoy it.

It was so nice to be really close to the birds and below is a list of what we saw:

  • House Sparrow
  • Hedge Sparrow or Dunnock
  • Robin
  • Blue tit
  • Great tit
  • Goldfinch
  • Pheasant
  • Greenfinch
  • Chaffinch
  • Nuthatch
  • Blackbird
  • Wren
  • Greater spotted woodpecker
  • Long tailed tit
  • Chaffinch
  • Grey Squirrel
  • Bank Vole

Gallery of some of the images I took on the day click on them for a bigger image and to move through the pictures.

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