For the first of my holiday walks this morning it was already tee-shirt weather at 6am! Four hours later, after recording 51 species, the heat was far too much for me, and I retired for a cool drink in the shady shelter of my garden.
Early in the walk, as I passed through Migrant Alley, I noticed a dove winging its way straight at me, it came from out of the low sun, so I had to wait for it to fly over before I could id it as a TURTLE DOVE, but just a split second after identifying it, the dove exploded in a plume of feathers Wham! A male PEREGRINE had snatched it from the sky, just 30 foot above me :-( The falcon then circled tightly, and was joined by its partner, and the unfortunate dove was passed to the female in mid air, the falcons both then flew off to the south - a wildlife spectacle to behold, but it would have been enjoyed more if the prey was a common old Collared Dove!
The Peregrine was the first of a fabulous five Raptors seen today, a HOBBY was observed chasing the SWALLOWS over the College Stables, a SPARROWHAWK flew from the Greenhouse Copse, three BUZZARDS ''mewed'' as they circled over the Tree Nursery and Wet Woods, and lastly the KESTREL family were up hunting, quite something to find five raptors on my small patch.
Other notable events this morning were the passage of 57 JACKDAWS, they flew high over the lake and Scrubby Woods in a strung out flock, also a few skeins of GREYLAG GEESE were seen flying over, the largest one containing 43 birds, there was also a small gathering of 8 Greylags on the sheep pasture at Migrant Alley, not unusual, but they had a single MALLARD in tow! Was this the same Mallard I watched flyover my house early one morning last week with a Greylag ? Probably! Just one small skein of 5 CANADA GEESE went over, plus various size groups of BLACK HEADED and HERRING GULL, 2 LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS were hawking for insects over the recently cut pasture around the Greenhouse Complex, also two more CORMORANTS flew over the Greenhouses late on in the walk, only the second sighting of this species for July.
A KINGFISHER was on the largest lake, but little else, just a scattering of MOORHEN and four Mallards. NUTHATCH, TREECREEPER, GOLDCREST and COAL TIT were all found amongst a feeding flock in the Scrubby Woods, strangely no Long Tailed Tit was seen with them, I didn't see one for the whole visit, another bird that eluded me this morning was the Spotted Flycatcher, might be a good sign, as they are a bit more secretive when Young are in the nest. The much looked for Mistle Thrush has still to be added to the months list, which languishes in 9th place out of the eleven July lists.
|This fledgling Blackcap can only just of left the nest this morning :-)|
|Yet another Moorhen brood, these were at the College Grounds|
|Grey Squirrel - I don't normally take squirrel photo's, but this one looked in spanking condition in the Early morning sun :-)|