Phil Holmes's Bird Photos

I've become quite a keen photographer, particularly of birds. I own a Canon EOS 40D digital SLR, with a 18-85mm zoom, a 75-300mm zoom and a 500mm F4 telephoto. That's a big beast. I've also got a Canon 1.4x teleconverter (extender, in Canon-speak) and a macro extender.

The pictures below are small versions of some of my favourites. Click the relevant heading to go to larger copies of the photos.


Blue Tit (Cyanistes caeruleus)

Blue Tits are little birds, with a characteristic blue cap, a black eye stripe
and a yellow breast. They're confident and acrobatic little birds - often the
first to arrive on a feeder and the last to leave. They love peanut feeders
and fat balls.

Coal Tit (Periparus ater)

Coal tits appear like a cross between a Great Tit and a Blue Tit. They have the black and
white markings of a great tit, but are about blue tit sized. They are quite timid. Their major
characteristic feature is the white stripe on the back of the head.

Long Tailed Tit (Aegithalos caudatus)

Long tailed tits are tiny birds, noticeably pink, with black caps and a white
stripe on their heads. Funnily enough, they have very long tails. They fly
around in excitable flocks, making a very characteristic "clicking" sound.


Brambling (Fringilla montifringilla)

Bramblings aren't particularly common, and I've only ever seen one to my knowledge. Here it is.

Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs)

These photographs are of a male chaffinch, which are beautiful, sparrow-sized birds. Females are rather drab in comparison.

Green Finch (Carduelis chloris)

Green finches always appear more yellow than
green to me, with a clear wing stripe and a large
bill - used for eating seeds.


Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata)

Spotted flycatchers are pretty rare - they are red status of conservation importance, the highest priority. We've had them nesting in the garden on and off
over the years, and this year we were lucky enough to have them back. I think this one is the adult male. Note how upright he's sitting on the overhead
wire, his very noticeable tail shape and his streaked breast.


Stonechat (Saxicola torquata)

Stonechats are amber on the conservation importance rating, which means
that they remain under threat. This male was hopping around near the
beach at Minsmere, and allowed us pretty close. Note the insect in its beak.


Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)

Another rare one, on the red conservation status list. These were all at Minsmere. The two photos of the bird in the reeds is the same bird - the one on
the right shows it with a fish in its beak. It was quite a way away and sufficiently well camouflaged that I couldn't see it with the naked eye. The ones
below are of birds on the wing. One day I'll get a sharp one.

Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

A juvenile grey heron at Minsmere in November.  


Little Grebe or Dabchick (Tachybaptus ruficollis)

The smallest grebe, seen at Minsmere.  


Jay (Garrulus glandarius)

Jays are the most colourful members of the crow family, most often seen
in woodland and identifiable by their white rump. They are famous for
burying acorns, and I have heard it said that they're responsible for all the
oak trees in Britain.

Birds of Prey

Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus)

One of a family of three which were flying around
by a field near my home. I believe this is a juvenile,
perching on a power line.

Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus)

Marsh harriers are fairly common at Minsmere, where this photo was taken.  


House Sparrow (Passer Domesticus)

We had a small family doing some nest building in March 2009. This looks
like the male.