Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Natural Food

Yesterday morning there were quite a number of the younger Sparrows congregating on top of my fruit cage.


Lots of coming and going and plenty of the usual Sparrow chatter.


At one stage it looked as though a couple of them were trying to find a way in while others stood on guard watching from above.


I watched for quite a while and noticed that the majority were paying close attention to the leaves of the buddleia which has grown so large some of the branches now rest on the fruit cage. I can only assume there were plenty of insects and it was fascinating to watch as the Sparrows ran their beaks along the leaves gathering what natural food there was.

The background noise includes the sound of a neighbour cutting their lawn.

Later in the day I had a look to see which creatures were being attracted to the Sunflower. Along with the odd bumblebee there was a succession of white butterflies gathering nectar.

White Butterfly on Sunflower

In this video clip I have slowed down the second section to one quarter speed and you can clearly see the butterfly testing each section and how it digs deep when nectar is found.

Most of the bird seed is lasting much longer. The ground feeder is hardly used at the moment. I guess many of the birds are finding plenty of natural insect life which means they should be getting a good balanced diet. While the number of Starlings seems to be increasing after a short lull the number of Blackbirds visiting has fallen steeply.


  1. Great videos John and I agree it really was fascinating to see the Sparrows running their beaks along the Buddleia leaves in search of insects. The butterfly one was equally interesting, I have noticed there seem to be far more white butterflies around this year than others, I was actually saying that to someone this morning.

  2. Thanks again Jan. I checked this morning and there are plenty of greenfly and little black flies on the leaves so that must be what they were after.

    My lavender bushes are covered in white flutters today. They are breeding in numbers I haven't seen for years. The Painted Lady population here is exploding also. The wet warm weather must be good for the caterpillars or at least the plants they live on. Also I normally see the odd Peacock butterfly from time to time but there are several around the garden today.

  3. Great captures of the sparrows in flight John; nice and sharp.
    You shouldn't have too many greenfly in your fruit cage, the way those sparrows are dealing with them. lol

  4. As sparrows chatter on the cage
    in search of bugs to eat,
    a butterfly sups nectar from
    a sunflower so sweet.

    It’s evident that all is well,
    with Bobby as the scout -
    who settles down to take a nap
    when finished walkabout...

    LOL ~ see, now I can't stop with the 'poetry' ~

    I really like the sparrow photo where you have caught them in flight. Also it was most interesting to see the video showing the proboscis of the butterfly search and then dive deeply into the sunflower's centre.

    We have had little birds (chickadees and nuthatches) flitting around in clusters in and around the fruit trees happy to experience some rain at last...perhaps damp bugs plump up a bit, and are more succulent ;)

  5. Thank you Keith. I think you have given me an idea there. Apart from the Blue Tits no other birds can get in the fruit cage. Last Spring my blackcurrant bushes were all but destroyed by greenfly. Next year I will leave the door open until the fruit starts forming and see if the birds will save me from having to spray.

  6. Thanks again for the poem Glo. You must be a mind reader as the second verse fits with a photo I took this morning.

    When I watched the film 'W C Fields and Me' he often referred to his lady friend as 'my little chickadee' and I had no idea what that was until I started reading blogs from your part of the world.

  7. Brilliant video of the butterfly feeding, John. In the slowed down part it appears the proboscis separates and rejoins - is this actually happening or an effect of the camera? I knew the proboscis was in two parts but I had no idea it did this during feeding operations.

  8. Hi Rob. You have given me some information I didn't know about the proboscis. Thanks. At first I thought the effect might have been caused by blurring of the action. I had a close look at the original video footage and stepped through it frame by frame.It appears to me that the two parts do separate every time it lifts the proboscis.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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