January 2015 Blog - Archived                                                                                                             HOME


     JANUARY 2015
     24th Jan

Blue Tit Release seven days on

   The return of this blue tit is thanks to Fran and Claire and all at Cuan Wildlife Rescue for the sterling work they do and in particular treating this little fellow for a very bad case of scaly mite. It's looking in much better health and now has a really good chance of of surviving the rest of the winter. It's now one week since its return and release back into the garden. Despite being in the middle of winter and the condition of its plumage I am amazed at how well its coping and getting back to normal. My other blue tit that was only using one leg a few weeks ago also seems to be on the mend as it is now tentatively using the other leg again as can be seen in the video.

       VIDEO       Blue Tit Release Seven Days On           24th January 2015


   Possibly because of its different appearance it tends not to be accepted by a lot of the other blue tits, but as you can see its quite capable of looking out for itself. Fortunately its not all on its own as there is one that seems to be quite friendly with it, I would like to think that it may have been its partner from last spring.

      18th Jan

     A visit from our smallest British bird.

     Our smallest British bird, the goldcrest enjoying the January sunshine while looking for insects in my blue spruce conifer in the back garden, it makes for this every time it visits.



   The goldcrest is not the easiest of birds to film not just because its small but it hardly ever stays still as it flits through & under the branches foraging for insects, spiders and small caterpillars.
  I made this video just over two years ago and would like to make another with a few more close up clips next time.
   VIDEO   Goldcrest foraging for insects
30th Dec 2011
       16th Jan

   My blue tit released back into the garden

      I got a call from Fran at Cuan Wildlife Rescue this morning saying that my blue tit with the missing foot had finished its treatment for scaly mite and that as there was a respite from the bad weather today would be ideal for its release back in my garden. The time had come for its release and at midday the weather was perfect, not too cold, sunny and no wind. On opening its box it eventually popped out and flew off across the road into a nearby garden, but within minutes it was back in the garden with the other tits and birds feeding on its favourite, mealworms. It still needs to replace some of the feathers on its neck but apart from that it is very active and is in much better health than when I took it down to Much Wenlock.

     VIDEO      Blue Tit Release    16th January 2015

   12th Jan

Can you tell the difference between the male and female goldfinch ?

       Goldfinches are one of our most colourful garden birds and over the recent years they have taken to coming into gardens to feed on niger seed and sunflower hearts.

   At this time of year their natural food supply is starting to become scarce and they are coming to the feeders in the garden so it should be a good time to see if you can tell the difference between the male and female goldfinches. The male is slightly larger than the female which is not always easy to tell unless they are close together. If you can get a good view of them you can see that the male has more red on its head which extends past the eye, whereas on the female it only extends as far as the centre of the eye. The juvenile has the same wing and tail markings as the adults but lacks the red, white & black markings on the head and face. It also has a streaky brown body compared with the sandy and white of the adults.





      VIDEO   Female & Male Goldfinches    15th Mar 2014

    11th Jan

Cover Photo Star

       My special blue tit is now the latest cover photo on the Cuan Wildlife Rescue Facebook Timeline.

    Good news in a message from Fran
    'Hi Maurice Baker he has now had his last treatment and his leg is looking so much better. So as soon as the weather improves he can come home 󾰀Fran'
    9th Jan                      Today's Tip on Photographing Garden Birds

    Getting a natural look to your garden bird photos


  It's easy to attract birds to your garden feeders but photographs of birds on a feeder always lack that natural look, you can achieve a far better end result if the feeder does not show in your photograph.   One way to do this is place a small branch as a perch a short distance away from the feeder and focus on this as the birds will often land on this when coming in to the feeder. I find a more effective way is to just extend the length of the perches on the feeder. Just find a attractive looking piece of branch, maybe covered with lichen, about the thickness of your little finger and about 20 to 30cm long. Drill a hole in the end, the same diameter as the perch. Now push these over the perches on the feeder and you have a natural looking perch that the birds will use every time they come to the feeder. You may be lucky and get more than one bird on the perch opening up the opportunity for some interesting action shots as well. The feeder can be cropped from the finished picture giving you a very natural looking finished product.

   The first picture is the original photo, as taken, showing the perch attached to the feeder and the second is the end result with the feeder cropped from the photo.



Two more photos taken of the same perch, with a little bit of Photoshoping.


       5th Jan

Blue Tit on the mend


  Went to Cuan Wildlife Rescue centre at Much Wenlock today to see Fran and to see how my blue tit with one leg missing was progressing with its treatment for scaly mite. It's in good hands and is looking much better than when I took it in just over a week ago. Hopefully its feather condition will improve enough before too long to enable it to be released back into its home patch and it will be fit enough to cope with the cold weather.


Photographs by kind permission of Cuan Wildlife Rescue

     4th Jan

    A visit to the Long Mynd

  A lovely bright morning to take a walk around the Plush Hill area of the Long Mynd, I thought we may well see Fieldfares and Redstarts on the holly trees that surround the house where the alpacas are kept. Not a thrush in sight despite the trees being absolutely covered in berries, perhaps as the old saying goes, they are saving them thinking that there may well be some severe weather still to come later in the winter. It's strange as in other years they have all been stripped by now, no doubt we will be coming up here again before long so we will see how long they stay on the trees.

No thrushes but there is always something to see up here, although if you are on a mountain bike you may not see what is right in front of your nose. Today four ravens were flying around making their distinctive calls with no obvious intent other than the sheer enjoyment of flying and displaying their mastery of the air.

   1st Jan.

The Secret Life of the Robin

    With the robins now starting to pair up it is a good time to take a closer look at the intricacies of the fairly rigid structure of their life style, you don't have to go far to observe some of their activities as many of them can be viewed through your kitchen window taking place in your garden. In January they have or are in the process of pairing up and will then share a territory until mid summer.

Right on schedule, just after Christmas, I was lucky enough to be able to watch the ritual pairing up of two robins in the garden. The female had obviously set her sights on my male robin and made a number of approaches towards him, each time he instinctively  replied with a threat posture which she just ignored. Despite making these gestures he made no real attempt to chase her off and eventually he accepted her into his territory, I later saw them happily eating mealworms in close proximity to each other.

          VIDEO     Robins Pairing Up       28th Dec 2014

More about THE SECRET LIFE OF THE ROBIN can be seen in an article on my main website where I take a look at what makes our favourite garden bird such a fascinating character. I follow its activities through from late summer to the following breeding season. After its late summer moult it leads a solitary existence until they pair up in mid winter and stay together in a joint territory until the end of next years breeding season. Pair bonding and courtship feeding form part of the rituals that help overcome the robins natural instinct to be a loner.


The Life of the Robin
by David Lack   first published in 1965
Although published in 1965 it is a must read book if you wish to take a more detailed look at the complex life story of the European Robin

It is still available today through Amazon.




Welcome to my new blog. I live in Shrewsbury and although most of my blog will be a diary and observations about garden birds I will inevitably be drawn out to the beautiful surrounding countryside of Shropshire, from the meres in the north to the rolling South Shropshire Hills.


Support local wildlife by supporting

Cuan Wildlife Rescue

Much Wenlock



December 2014 Blog   -  4

 November 2014 Blog   -  6

October 2014 Blog     -   12

    Tips on Photographing Garden Birds

  I am just an enthusiastic amateur bird watcher and photographer with a keen interest in understanding bird behaviour. I will occasionally try and pass on a few tips that I have picked up that you may find useful  when photographing birds in your garden.



A selection of some of the 39 species of birds that visit my garden. I have gradually changed my urban back garden into a wildlife friendly area by adding water features, fruit and berry bushes & trees and letting the ivy cover the fence, trees and back of the house. I have introduced a rough grass area and encouraged wild flowers such as trefoil, knapweed, nettles & teasel to grow. By year round feeding & adding nest boxes I have recorded 39 different species of birds including predators, which I suppose is a sign of a well stocked wildlife garden.

 The 39 garden bird species captured on film or photographed: Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Brambling, Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch. Chiffchaff, Coal Tit, Collard Dove, Common Redpoll, Dunnock, Fieldfare, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great Tit, Greenfinch, Grey Wagtail, House Sparrow, Jay, Lesser Redpoll, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Robin, Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk, Starling, Stock Dove, Willow Warbler, Wood Pigeon, Wren. and a Garden Warbler no photo



My list of Shropshire bird photos:

Arctic Tern,  Bar-headed Goose,  Barnacle Goose,  Bee-eater,  Bewick's Swan,  Blackbird, Blackcap,  Black-headed Gull,  Black-tailed Godwit,  Black Redstart,  Black Swan,  Blue Tit,  Brambling,  Brent Goose,  Bullfinch,   Buzzard,  Canada Goose,   Carrion Crow,  Chaffinch,  Chiffchaff,   Coal Tit,  Collard Dove,   Common Sandpiper,  Common Redpoll,   Coot,   Cormorant,   Curlew,  Dipper,   Dunlin,   Dunnock, Egyptian Goose,   Fieldfare, Gadwall,  Garganey,  Golden Plover,  Goldeneye,  Goldfinch,   Goldcrest,   Goosander,   Great Crested Grebe,  Great Spotted Woodpecker,   Great Tit,  Green Sandpiper,  Green Woodpecker,    Greenfinch,  Greenshank,   Green-winged Teal,  Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail,   Greylag Goose,  Herring Gull,  Hobby,  House Martin,   House Sparrow,  Jackdaw,  Jay,   Kestrel,   Kingfisher,  Lapwing,   Lesser Black-backed Gull,   Lesser Redpoll,   Linnet,  Little Egret,  Little Grebe,   Little Ringed Plover,  Long-tailed Tit, Magpie,  Mallard   Marsh Tit,  Meadow Pipit,  Mistle Thrush,  Moorhen,  Mute Swan,  Nuthatch,  Osprey,  Oystercatcher,  Peregrin Falcon,  Pheasant,  Pied Flycatcher,  Pied Wagtail,  Pink-footed Goose,  Pintail,  Pochard,   Raven,  Redwing,  Redstart,  Redshank,  Red-legged Partridge,  Red Kite,  Reed Bunting,  Reed Warbler,  Ringed Plover,  Robin,  Rook,  Ruff, Sanderling,  Sand Martin,  Scaup,  Sedge Warbler,  Shelduck,  Shoveler Duck,  Siskin,  Skylark,  Snipe,  Song Thrush, Sparrowhawk,  Spoonbill,  Spotted Flycatcher,  Spotted Redshank,  Starling,  Stock Dove,  Stonechat,  Swallow,  Swift,  Teal,  Tundra Bean Goose, Whooper Swan Tree Sparrow,   Treecreeper,  Tufted Duck,  Turnstone,  Waxwing,  Wheatear,  Whitethroat,  White-fronted Goose,  Wigeon,  Willow Warbler,  Woodpigeon,  Wren,  Yellow Wagtail,  Yellow Legged Gull,  Yellowhammer,

Feature from my Website

The Secret Life of the Robin


If you wish to Email Me please use this Link


More photos & videos on my:

  Website      Shropshire Bird & Wildlife
  Website      Shropshire Bird Videos
  YouTube Channel - Shropshire Birds 
             65 Videos    250 Subscribers     79,780 Views
  Twitter  -  @MauriceBaker8

Twitter Comments

Deswaldo @challenge_des  @MauriceBaker8 Thank you for wonderful videos and information from your YouTube channel and blogs. Sharing will inspire others, like me      04 Jan 15

 Rep.Maurice Baker ‏@MauriceBaker8 @challenge_des Thanks Des for share & your comments, my blog must be starting to achieve its aims of promoting an interest in wildlife   4th Jan 2015