Archive for July, 2008

All is not gold

Following on from my last post – I wonder why the goldfinch is so called? It has, of course, a bar of yellow on its wings; but far more striking, to my mind, is its red mask. But then, I suppose the ‘Red-faced Finch’ would be less euphonious, if more accurate.

Curiously, the American goldfinch is actually gold, or at least yellow, almost all over and is therefore more appropriately named. Yet the name must have been brought over from Europe by the first settlers. In fact, I can almost see that rugged, fur-capped pioneer peering up into a tree and muttering, “Heck, now that really is something like a gold finch!”

Advertisements

Watch the birdie…

I recently acquired a new digital SLR camera – a Canon 450D – which has a facility called Live View, which lets you connect the camera to a computer and set things up so that you can see on the monitor what the camera lens is ‘seeing’. I have always envied those photographers who have the skill, and the patience, to get close-up shots of wild creatures, so I thought I would have a go with my new hardware. I set the camera up on a tripod near my bird-feeding station, ran a cable back to my conservatory and connected it to my laptop. There I sat, in comfort, and waited for the birds to come.

I had focused the camera on a feeder containing niger seeds – a food adored by goldfinches (and apparently by no other species). The picture below is the best of the shots I got. Not bad, I felt, for a first try.

Wild goldfinch at niger-seed feeder