For the set up, a nice looking branch or log, quite large about 3 feet long with a split or hole along the top a couple of inches deep is ideal. Drill two support holes in bottom to mount it on. If there is no slit on top, spade drill a series of holes along the top as wide as possible.

Fill it with bait such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, mealworms and fruit.

Position a branch above each end high enough that the log itself is not in your photo. Look for lichen covered branches of Elderberry, Ash or Willow. Don’t have too many twigs on them as they hide the birds.

Set up your flashes about 5 feet from the preferred branch. Focus up to the front of it and wait for the birds to arrive.

Sit quietly in a hide about 6 feet back and you’re away.

Robins, Wrens, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, Dunnocks, Sparrows, Doves, Pigeons, Tits will not take long to find it and they will bring in Woodpeckers and Nuthatches, Jays and even the Kestrel and Sparrowhawk and the Winter migrants, Redwing, Fieldfare, Bramling and Siskin.

Cut a branch of Hawthorne berries and set it up nearby. It works well in the harshest of winters. Also old apples and pears stuck on a stick works well.

When setting up your station in the garden look for a muted background if possible, an evergreen bush is ideal. Use a shed, summerhouse or conservatory as a hide where it’s nice and warm then you don’t frighten the birds getting into a shooting position.

Canvas hides can be used but you need to be hardy to sit for a few hours waiting. Try to make sure that everything is right before you start as every time you have to go out to adjust the site it takes a while to get the birds feeding again.

Keep an eye open for squirrels, mice and rats on the table. Free meals are loved by all.

At 6 feet a 70mm to 300 mm zoom lens should be ok. You need the zoom as there is a big size difference between a Goldcrest and a Magpie and you want to get them all in.

If you are setting up away from your own garden always ask permission from the owner.

Dave Riddle
5th October 2016

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