NBPS Flickr Contest: Great image by Kristina V!

I love this image – while the ‘rule’ is often to have animals facing into the frame, or with more space in front of the direction they are facing than behind, I think the composition works in this case. The snow and the white birds offer a pleasing color balance. I also love the reflections. Great job Kristina!

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NBPS Flickr Contest (Evan Pagano)

This is a great image – instead of just focusing on the insect, Evan has included the environment. I love the shape of the flower! I would like to see a tad more depth-of-field just to compare. More depth-of-field could make the background distracting, in which case I think that this is the best exposure.

Garden fledgelings (Jodie Randall)

A couple of days ago I received a call from a friend to say that a family of Long-tailed tits had fledged in his garden. When I arrived, I could hear the loud high-pitched calls of the parent birds. I quietly crept through into the back garden. One fledgling was sitting by the gate on the low branch of an evergreen tree, the other huddled up against a wall a few metres away by the back door. They looked very young – too young to leave the nest. Their wings and tails had not developed properly and they weren’t able to fly. They were helpless. At least two more I was told, had already met their end at the hand of the local jays, another had been caught by a cat, but then rescued and released back into the shrubbery.

For anyone involved with wildlife the usual policy is to leave well alone and let nature take its course but that can sometimes be very difficult. I noticed that the chick by the door was not getting fed at all, presumably because it was so close to the house. It looked cold and tired, and after some deliberation we decided the best thing to do would be to place it under the bushes with its sibling (using gardening gloves to avoid transferring any scent to the chick). I was relieved to see them minutes later huddled together. The time was getting on, and the light was fading so I had to leave. By now the third tit who had been rescued from the jaws of one of the local cats had joined them, forming a fluffy black and white ball.

I didn’t hold out much hope for them surviving the night. I couldn’t understand why they had left the nest so young. The next day the chicks were nowhere to be seen.

The mystery of why they had fledged so early was discovered the next day. A beautiful nest, carefully crafted with moss lay broken on the ground beneath a grapevine and large pine tree. It had been knocked from its branch, sealing the young birds’ fate.

www.jodierandall.co.uk

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