Dale's Garden Hide. (been a busy boy)

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#1
Hi troops,

I've not been on much lately or taking many photos, I've been busy with a little project.

For years now, I've wanted a garden hide, a proper one that friends can come to, we can drink beer ;) and take photos. I have a pop up, which is great but for the garden at least, permanent was the way to go for me. We are lucky to live near a large, country estate, with huge wooded areas, that bristle with wildlife, deer, owls, sparrowhawk, all your woodland birds, with otters on the river, kingfishers and foxes too. My main thought is to attract the birds in, they are my main interest but who knows, maybe the foxes too. I'm not expecting otter :LOL: but deer have been seen in the gardens.

My chance to get the hide going came a couple of months ago. The 'hide' was purchased in 2014, as a play house for my daughter, who was 3 at the time. To be honest, it wasn't the greatest quality and it suffered in the harsh wet winters we get here. We are quite exposed and the 'hide' took a battering over those 3 years. January this year, I inspected the 'hide' and decided it was time to either pull it down, or give it another lease of life. The roof was rotten, it was that cheapo chipboard stuff and only a few mm thick, utter rubbish, so that got replaced with proper timber, as well as some work to the sides and some good quality paint.

The hide was also almost constantly in shadow and hardly ever got any sun, so never got a chance to dry out, it was an unhealthy and almost dangerous place for my daughter to be. So, I decided to locate what was left of it to another part of the garden, where it will get full sun, when it actually shines. I cut a hatch and replaced one of the windows with a removable piece that allows plenty of room for moving about with big lenses. You'll see the hatches in the photos, there will be screening on the bigger hatch to hide behind and the smaller hatch will be used for, wait for it, a reflection pool.

It's early days yet, it's all still a bit raw. The reflection pool is set up though and I've had birds on it, albeit fleetingly at the moment. I'm also in the process of sourcing decent perches for photography. I have feeders out and the birds are gradually getting used to things and coming closer. So far at the feeders, I've had the obligatory jackdaws, starlings (I love starlings), coal tit, long tail tit, dunnock (on the ground), chaffinch and some goldcrest in the trees nearby but not on the feeders yet. The plan is to plant some fruit trees and maybe smaller conifers to provide cover but that will evolve as time goes by, as will the whole project.

Like I say, all a bit new and prototypey at the moment, but here are some pics. If it all goes to plan, I will update regularly here.

As always with me, comments/advice are appreciated. (y)

View from the garden and house side. Our garden is huge, this is a fraction of it.


DSCF5525.JPG




Inside, sorry it's blurry, handheld.

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The business end, small hatch open, larger one closed.

DSCF5528.JPG


View of the reflection pool. I'm quite happy with the B/G and the reflection, just need a bird and no wind. :LOL:

DSCF5518.JPG



First visit by a bird, not sure of the species, ID required. ;)


DSCF5523 c.jpg
 
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The only bird I know with such a red head is the common Pochard.
The Egyptian goose does have rings around the eyes but these here
are waaaay too thin. I know of the black hooded crow but a red one is
out of my limited knowledge. Sorry, Dale, can't help much! :(
 
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Lol, thanks for the IDs. :LOL: Butter wouldn't melt type species I think.


We have a regular vistor, who isn't shy when it comes to outbuildings, as you can see. This is at the top of our garden and she sat there for well over 2 minutes a while back. This isn't from the hide, but maybe one day, until then, I can dream.

IMGL_0088 LR CS6 JP TP  (1 of 1).jpg
 

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Look forward to seeing the fruits of your labour!! Give them food & water and they will come - foxes, badgers, deer and birds!!
Good luck!
 

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Maybe take no.5 should be under the tab
"UBS" for "Unidentified Breathing Subject" :confused:
 
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Lol, thanks for the IDs. :LOL: Butter wouldn't melt type species I think.


We have a regular vistor, who isn't shy when it comes to outbuildings, as you can see. This is at the top of our garden and she sat there for well over 2 minutes a while back. This isn't from the hide, but maybe one day, until then, I can dream.

View attachment 125181
Ouch very nice! Not sure the small bird are going to be that keen on this one!
 
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Ouch very nice! Not sure the small bird are going to be that keen on this one!

She visits most days, my mate across the way has feeders out too and the small bird population is very high here, which attracts her in. You know when she's about though, it's goes silent. :)

Going to spend some time making the hide spot more bird friendly today, it's still all a bit sterile. The brown ground in front of the hide is a pile of rotting, old wood left by the previous owner. I attempted to move it a week or so ago but found a toad underneath, so I may just leave it this year and let it overgrow.
 
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Spent a few hours in the hide today, still ironing out some teething problems but it's getting there. I have to make more room for the reflection, it's not quite wide enough for birds bigger than chaffinches etc, anything bigger than a starling, as you can see, is too big. Also, when birds are landing on the log, it's rocking, which is rippling the water. Anyway, it's a learning curve and it's coming together slowly.

Had siskin and chaffinch in today, but not on the log.

This image is a tester with the Fuji, Mkiv shots to come in the future.


tp.jpg
 

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Dale
Would you mind posting pics of your reflection pool. We move into a new house in a couple of weeks and I would,like to set up a permanent one up. I have used seed trays before but they were not long enough. TFS
 
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The pool is a brilliant idea. Definitely need more views on that
Do you find you need a hide and can't just sit quietly behind windows? I sit in our log cabin office most days, with a bird feeder about 6 feet away. The birds don't seem to mind me at all
 
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Great stuff Dale ,all the luck in the world with it bro. I sort of have leanings to do the same only on the allotment,mind i've got some graft to do food wise first,so I'd also love to see how the pool was made up, Buddy a thought,is it worth popping in a low viewing hole.......................Dale Nod's recent post meeces,is in part why ,but it's something I've long mused with my own potential set up. It's not only the birds picking up off the floor which might present photo ops,but also rodents and maybe other less typical stuff like deer which you have mentioned. I'd certainly be musing this at this stage in your build mate. Dale with what you have described to me and here,I'd really be thinking hard about covering any potential photo ops,some completely off the wall senarios i'd def be musing. Mate there is a little hide in a garden center near here,it's set in a woodland edge,they feed leftovers from their restaurant. The deer come extremely close both muntjac and fallow,I can see this happening to you and more,with your location

Ahh man, funny as.................. while writing this i've just run out side as a hare was approaching the back garden sadly too old too slow hare gone by the time I got clobber on and grabbed camera:banghead: .i've mentioned this primarily ,because one never really knows what might turn up. The hares have only used the field behind the house these last couple of years,we have been here 25 or so. The one thing I'd be trying to do at this stage is cover every potential situation that might arise with your hide.

Mate as far as the pile of wood,and it's resident......... bless I'd move in the summer months,make him a new spot to hide under near by and pop him there(wet hands first or even gloves,their skins are so sensitive!!! In the winter I wouldn't want to disturb as fella will pausibly be hibernating,maybe newts aswell. Just a thought bro and maybe a buddleia as par of your planting,no harn in having a few flutterbys to make images of in the summer if the birds are quiet and obivously a small patch of nettles for good measure if you are so inclined,for catapillers of the peacock family

All the luck kiddo can't wait to see more

stu
 
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Watching this thread to learn.

I/we have nothing like the space you have (for either the hide or the backgrounds) but I have wanted to do something like that, at least with a temporary folding hide..........to try for something worthwhile with our garden visitors.

Looking at your initial pictures it seems for your big viewing port that you have setup such a pop-up hide in the "Wendy House" retasked. So more pictures showing your setup and layout would be much appreciated......... including if you can what make & model the pop-up is? :)
 
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Dale
Would you mind posting pics of your reflection pool. We move into a new house in a couple of weeks and I would,like to set up a permanent one up. I have used seed trays before but they were not long enough. TFS
The reflection pool as it is. I am going to rethink it though as it isn't wide enough to get bigger birds reflected. The thing I like about it though is it can be moved about and 'adjusted' so to speak as it is very rudimentary. I think I may lower it slightly which will increase the depth of the reflection. It's currently a builder's mixing tray, sat on an old garden table, which inturn, sits on 3x2 slabs, which can be removed to adjust the height. I have to say though, whilst it does work, I think a permanent pool would be better which starts at the hide slat and extends out to 6 or even 8 feet from the hide, then the bottom edge of the pool won't be restrictive at all.

DSCF5557 tp.jpg




The pool is a brilliant idea. Definitely need more views on that
Do you find you need a hide and can't just sit quietly behind windows? I sit in our log cabin office most days, with a bird feeder about 6 feet away. The birds don't seem to mind me at all
I suppose the hide is dual purpose, it was initially purchased to give my daughter a play house and when she grew out of it, we could have it for sitting outside. The original location though wasn't particulalry good, it was too close to the house and in constant shadow and became damp. I moved it to it's current spot so it could get full sun (when it's out) and stay dry. When it's not being used for hiding, it can still be used by the family. I've always wanted a permanent hide and this was my chance, so it had to be done. Yesterday was a good day, the birds were very comfortable coming to the feeders and seemed quite relaxed. One problem with the windows on the hide though are that they are perspex and can't be focused through. I have cut the slat as you see but also removed one of the windows and replaced it with some ply that can removed for viewing. I have some net on order to put over that space which will help to conceal me and my camera enough but allow me to see out.



Great stuff Dale ,all the luck in the world with it bro. I sort of have leanings to do the same only on the allotment,mind i've got some graft to do food wise first,so I'd also love to see how the pool was made up, Buddy a thought,is it worth popping in a low viewing hole.......................Dale Nod's recent post meeces,is in part why ,but it's something I've long mused with my own potential set up. It's not only the birds picking up off the floor which might present photo ops,but also rodents and maybe other less typical stuff like deer which you have mentioned. I'd certainly be musing this at this stage in your build mate. Dale with what you have described to me and here,I'd really be thinking hard about covering any potential photo ops,some completely off the wall senarios i'd def be musing. Mate there is a little hide in a garden center near here,it's set in a woodland edge,they feed leftovers from their restaurant. The deer come extremely close both muntjac and fallow,I can see this happening to you and more,with your location

Ahh man, funny as.................. while writing this i've just run out side as a hare was approaching the back garden sadly too old too slow hare gone by the time I got clobber on and grabbed camera:banghead: .i've mentioned this primarily ,because one never really knows what might turn up. The hares have only used the field behind the house these last couple of years,we have been here 25 or so. The one thing I'd be trying to do at this stage is cover every potential situation that might arise with your hide.

Mate as far as the pile of wood,and it's resident......... bless I'd move in the summer months,make him a new spot to hide under near by and pop him there(wet hands first or even gloves,their skins are so sensitive!!! In the winter I wouldn't want to disturb as fella will pausibly be hibernating,maybe newts aswell. Just a thought bro and maybe a buddleia as par of your planting,no harn in having a few flutterbys to make images of in the summer if the birds are quiet and obivously a small patch of nettles for good measure if you are so inclined,for catapillers of the peacock family

All the luck kiddo can't wait to see more

stu
Hi Stu mate, informative post, thanks. I'm already on the low level hatch thing, it got me thinking about it yesterday during my 3 hours in the hide. The pile of rotting wood has some critters and rodents hanging about it, the toad is still there, it's easy to check without disturbing it. I think he's still in winter mode, we had frost here last night, the pool was frozen this morning. We have deer here and they have been seen in the gardens but not ours yet. We have 6 foot fencing which will restrict the deer and only one gate entrance, but you never know. I'm sure we have foxes too, they have been seen in the street. On the buddleia, we had 2 bushes of it, but we lost it for some reason one winter, 2010 was a harsh one here. Got me thinking though, I loved those bushes. I have to be careful with nettles though, have a 6 year old running around the garden, as you can probably tell from the pic below, she leaves her mark, as do the 3 dogs.:LOL:



Watching this thread to learn.

I/we have nothing like the space you have (for either the hide or the backgrounds) but I have wanted to do something like that, at least with a temporary folding hide..........to try for something worthwhile with our garden visitors.

Looking at your initial pictures it seems for your big viewing port that you have setup such a pop-up hide in the "Wendy House" retasked. So more pictures showing your setup and layout would be much appreciated......... including if you can what make & model the pop-up is? :)
We have loads of space as you can see in the pic below, that's still only about 60% of the garden in frame. You'll also see, I'm no gardener, I like the term functional rather than landscaped :LOL:. We have 3 big dogs that make their mark on it. The potential for a wild garden here is huge and I will be planting shrubs and small trees about this year. I have also created a raised pond to the left of the picture but it has no liner yet, that's a project for next year I think.

The pop up just lives there for now but it will be on kingfisher duty down at the river soon. It was bought as a present, I'm not sure of the model but the carrying bag has 'Nighthawk' printed on it. I don't think it's a particualrly expensive one but it does the job with a comfy chair inside which handily, has a cup holder just the right diameter for a beer can. ;)


DSCF5558 tp.jpg



musings so far,

the reflection pool needs a rethink to lengthen the space for the reflection itself. I like the portability of it though and the fact it can be 'adjusted' so to speak.

a low level hatch to be created,

netting to be placed over the bigger hatch,

some bushes, shrubs etc to be planted, to give the birds more confidence, it's all a bit sterile at the moment. Also, some bushes to bring in insects as I do enjoy a bit of close up photography.

potentially fill the garden pond with water to attract more wildlife. I have to watch the depth though with a 6 year old running about.
 
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It's kinda lovely seeing you garden mate,when I came here ours was sort of similar I'm actually in full slash and burn mode,as it's now a jungle,lmao,a bit late in the year but my time has been so pressed!! A few days off,will see a fair change. Ha my wood pigeons have just fledged so that obstruction is now tamed,it's nuts she must have incubated them through the east beast.

Budlehia,have a look around Dale,some lovely cultivars out there,they come in a fair range of colours,we have one called black knight if I recollect,stunning flowers. Make a lovely backdrop for an Admiral if I get a mo i'll try and find something mate

Nettles yes I saw your lovely lass bless her,plant in pot put behind small fence,I know mate nettles,in a garden and effort,but if you get lucky,your lass will adore those being munched and what follows plus these guys need a hand from us. Dale my boy is grown and flown he's all but 30 now. He was never really into nature like me,despite all my efforts,yet as he's got older,he mentions those little thangs,and is becoming more and more enthralled. I guess it takes time for those seeds to germinate in some kids.

Mate there is a shallow cattle footbath,it's around 3 foot wide 6/8foot long out there but shallow, 6to 8inches or so depthit might just be useful for a movable pool(might be expensive ,haven't a clue,it's certainly something i'm going to investigate if I ever get off this train ride my other thought was an 8x4 bit of marine ply with 4x2" frame then cover with pond liner
cheers for the reply bro sommit to muse for ya:D

seeya

stu
 
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#20
I have to watch the depth though with a 6 year old running about.
When my son was 2 he ran into our pond on purpose, got very wet and learned to be careful. Saying that our garden is a lot lot smaller than yours so after the age of 3 he could not run anymore any in it (too small for him to start running). You can get protection if you are worried.
 
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Today, I've lowered the reflection pool by 2 inches. I wasn't happy with the depth of the reflection front to back. It has given a bit more space and not affected the POV too much either. I can't help feel another 2 inches lower wouldn't hurt but I'll try like this. It's quite breezy here atm, hence the choppy reflection.

Just noticed too how strong the Fuji colours are, especially in bright sunlight


DSCF5559 tp.jpg .
 
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Made a mod last weekend with some camo netting inside the hide. The toy kitchen is my daughter's addition. :LOL: Had to pacify her with my take over of 'her' shed. :whistle:


2.jpg


It's begining to work now, hard work paying off but well worth it.

Not on the pool but a perch, a bue tit today in the rain. It did look at the pool and almost jumped to it but a jackdaw came in a spooked it away. Taken with the Fuji as I find my feet with the hide, X-T10, Fuji 50-230 XC, 800/sec, f6, iso 1000.


DSCF5561 CS6 JP.jpg





comments/suggestions very welcome.
 
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you are a clever man bro,LMAO
mate what just struck me( middle of the night thoughts lol) it that your little lass is one day going to stare through Daddies camera she will be better than all of us by the time she's ten.

I know i'm pulling ya leg mate,

but seriously it's lovely watching this:cool:
 
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that your little lass is one day going to stare through Daddies camera
She's already keen mate, got her KiddiZoom aged 18 months, then a Panasonic compact, now she's onto my old 350D. Still have to teach her the patience thing though ;).
 
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Great thread, Dale - it'll be really interesting to follow the progress. I wish I had the space for something like this, but my garden is so tiny that sitting on the patio wall behind a tripod draped in scrim is going to be the best I can do, however I've sat on the wall behind the tripod with nothing to disguise me and the birds aren't fazed, so it'll work. You may not be a gardener but some shrubs and maybe climbers along the fencing will definitely help (obviously nothing thorny in your case). The birds like to pop out of cover to feed. Look for plants that are photogenic if the birds choose to perch on the branches and also those to attract butterflies and bees. Some shrubs will produce berries in the winter that the birds will eat, so everyone wins.
 
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Great thread, Dale - it'll be really interesting to follow the progress. I wish I had the space for something like this, but my garden is so tiny that sitting on the patio wall behind a tripod draped in scrim is going to be the best I can do, however I've sat on the wall behind the tripod with nothing to disguise me and the birds aren't fazed, so it'll work. You may not be a gardener but some shrubs and maybe climbers along the fencing will definitely help (obviously nothing thorny in your case). The birds like to pop out of cover to feed. Look for plants that are photogenic if the birds choose to perch on the branches and also those to attract butterflies and bees. Some shrubs will produce berries in the winter that the birds will eat, so everyone wins.
Exactly this about the cover, it has gone a little quiet at the hide this last few days. The house is fairly new, as houses go and it's all still a bit sterile out the back. The potential the garden has is huge and I often leave the top half, which is sloped overgrow a bit more than the grass closer to the house. My neigbour loves me for it. :LOL:. There is a bamboo that I had to reign in last year directly behind the reflection pool, I may leave that get some height again, which will give some cover and a BG too, we'll see. I've been thinking about planting some kind of bush or creeper along the fence too, both for cover and reflection purposes.

great idea - your pool got me thinking of one
Go on, do it, I've enjoyed creating mine and I am seeing the benefits, even if it is a little quiet at the moment. I think most of the birds are away busy romancing and stuff. :LOL: I see it as a 2 way thing, certain wildlife are getting a refuge and food and I get photos. Win, win.:)

EDIT, go for as long a pool as possible, the bottom edge, nearest the hide is restrictive.

What a great idea. I'll certainly be keeping an eye on this thread.
Thank you. (y)
 
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Thought I'd put one up of how the hide fits into things, that's it to the left. The green shed behind it is due to be pulled down. What will be the pond is to the right. The country estate can be seen beyond and there is a river between us and it. The river has otters, kingfishers and all the usual, dippers etc. The woods have all sorts, deer, tawnies, and all the woodland stuff.

I need to work on cover around the hide.






tp.jpg
 
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Thought I'd put one up of how the hide fits into things, that's it to the left. The green shed behind it is due to be pulled down. What will be the pond is to the right. The country estate can be seen beyond and there is a river between us and it. The river has otters, kingfishers and all the usual, dippers etc. The woods have all sorts, deer, tawnies, and all the woodland stuff.

I need to work on cover around the hide.






View attachment 125912
What an opportunity for & in your garden plus the great nature on your doorstep, not only for you but also such a lovely place for your daughter to grow up in :)
 
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What an opportunity for & in your garden plus the great nature on your doorstep, not only for you but also such a lovely place for your daughter to grow up in :)

Yes, it's pretty awesome living here. Those woods have public access, I forgot to mention the boar that live there, we hear them daily.

DSCF4424 tp.jpg
 
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Now that's something you don't want in your garden!

Lol, no, they are usually the other side of that fence, this was a little 'un, a few months old. They have been fenced off now to keep them seperated from the public areas but the youngsters do get through now and again. It's a slight worry that they might breed in the woods but the animals are managed by the estate, quite often hear the guns going off.
 
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The houseys have found the feeders and are coming in. Not the most colourful bird but now other birds should come in too. I had a blackbird on the pool but I didn't react in time and missed it :banghead:.

Struggled with the composition on this one and it is a hefty crop but off the 5Div, 100-400L @ 210mm. Very much a grab shot as it was about to fly off, I didn't think I'd have had time to zoom in to 400 and re focus, so chanced it and cropped. A good bird to practice on. :)

forums.jpg
 
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Nice, I'm getting all birds on the pool now, sparrows, tits, robins and pidgeons. They actually come for a drink now. none bathing yet.
 
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