Author Jani Pritchard
Student placement with the Gatwick Greenspace Project
I just completed two weeks of work experience with the Gatwick Greenspace Partnership
At home, I have a blackbird pair living in our back garden, which I have been observing over the last few years. I spend much of my free time simply watching the young blackbirds growing up, itís much more interesting than watching TV. This year, two chicks came out of the breeding season, which was the same last year, although their nest was in the neighbourís garden which made it more difficult to observe the early stages. As I recently developed a passion for wildlife photography, the blackbird family was the perfect chance to practice.
When they were still really young they would find a hidden place in the garden and simply sit there really quietly waiting for one of their parents to come and feed them. At these times it was relatively easy to get a good shot of them once I had located their spot, the only problem was that there were always lots of twigs in the foreground that got in the way.
After a few weeks the birds got used to my presence in the garden and realized that I wasnít a danger to them. This meant that I could get even closer to them which was great, as it also allowed me to get great pictures. I also became very familiar with their call, as every morning I could hear their song through the open window, a very early alarm clock!
One day I was just sitting in my study with my camera on the desk, watching the blackbirds eating the raspberries from our bush through the open door. Of course Iím open to sharing, so long as I get my share, and it did make a good photo.
You donít need to do much to enjoy nature. All you need is a bit of space, such as your own back garden. Ours is quite messy and overgrown, but full of plants and greenery, which provide all the resources the birds need for nest building and food. Having a very neat garden may be pleasing to the eye, but it will not encourage or sustain much wildlife; and even simple wildlife like blackbirds increase your garden's biodiversity and are simply enjoyable to watch.
If you like nature photography, why not enter the Sussex Wildlife Trust Photography Competition?