Monday, 10 May 2010

For once the fickle weather turned in my fortune today, with the cold, cloudy and drizzley morning turning into an afternoon of sunny spells, albeit with a biting east wind though :-)

I set off out to the lakeside scrub area, but rather than look at the destruction in the Small Holding I went the long way round across the Tree Nursery and the Sheep pasture, the latter field has been reduced to a short sward of grass by the overstocked sheep, it's taken just 10 days for them to reduce it from almost knee height, along with the grass the wild areas around the field edge have also been munched away :-(.

It was quiet all the way until I got to the real habitat by the lakes, where birdsong had increased markedly from the weekend: BLACKCAP, CHIFFCHAFF, TURTLE DOVE, GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, SONGTHRUSH, MISTLE THRUSH,BLACKBIRD, WREN, DUNNOCK, ROBIN all were in good voice, along with the usual Tit and Finch species calling. I looked up to scan the sky, and saw a PEREGRINE gliding over, shortly followed by another, a bit of interaction was seen and off they went.

After unsuccessfully trying to locate a Cuckoo or a Garden Warbler, I moved off to go to Migrant alley, and back through the sheep field then along the now drilled and seeded Pub Field, where I was very fortunate to stumble upon a WHEATEAR (62), If it hadn't of flown up, flashing it's white rump I don't think I would have seen it, so good was it's camouflage out in the dry field. This is the second latest spring Wheatear i have recorded, the latest was on 20th May back in 2007.

At Migrant Alley, it was the usual fare ( I was hoping for a Whinchat! ) Corvids, WOODPIGEONS, a flock of 20 or so LINNETS, more Blackcaps and two more Turtle Doves were at the north end scrub. Before reaching the scrub, I saw a fox crossing the paddock to my left, I saw it was going to either cross in front of me, turn away from me or turn towards me, I took a gamble and hid behind a horse jump, the gamble paid off, it walked right at me down the footpath, I took a few shots of it as it neared me, but it eventually heard the shutter, and high tailed it!!

Here comes the

A bit, he heard that one, but wasn't sure

just a little, he certainly heard that one and off he went. Ive also zoomed in a bit for this pic.

Above is the Wheatear on the Pub Field.

I did an hours skywatching on my seat, seeing only a KESTREL of any note, until a Peregrine ? came over, it was toying with all the corvids on the paddocks, making repeated dives at them. This bird was wearing straps on its legs, Ive not seen this on the usual birds I record, so this must be a third one, presumably an escape.
Below you can see the straps ( or something on the legs)

The Photo below is of the same bird, but the straps aren't as clear.


Derek Faulkner said...


If my experience is anything to go by, the sheep grazed field will now be considered as excellent - a nice uniform height, and don't be surprised to see someone out there with a ruler checking that the height of the sward is correct - yes it does actually happen!

Greenie said...

Warren ,
Snap , again , on the Fox this time .
It certainly looks like jesses trailing from the legs of the Peregrine in the first shot .

Mike said...

Cracking fox pics Warren your patch never fails to impress.

ShySongbird said...

Love the Fox photos, Warren, quick thinking to hide behind the horse jump! Nice Wheatear too.

Greenie said...

Warren ,
I'm pretty sure that a falcon with jesses would be able to hunt , albeit not perfect . As I understand it , they are a loop around each leg with a trailing length of leather , which the falconer holds when on the hand .

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Warren: Love your fox photos, what a beauty.

Jann said...

Once again I'm jealous...the fox shots are wonderful! That's one critter I've never come close to getting a shot of (well that and a mt. lion!) that we have in the area. What an awesome moment for you, Warren! :o)

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Great fox shots Warren like Jann I've never been close enough (in daylight) to get a pic of one.

errr.. Jann not sure I would stop to take a pic of a mtn lion if I was close enough to it to do so!!!! Saw a leopard fairly close once (and only once)when we were out in the open - that was pretty scary!



Kerry said...

Wonderful shots of the fox. You are so lucky to have them around. They have been harried out of existence nearly round here.

Such a shame about the peregrine as it probably won't survive.