Sunday, December 18, 2011

Woody Morning

The icy morning both began and then ended with a Sparrowhawk, but not the same one. The first, a female, flew across the road in front of the car just yards from home as I made for a few hours birding at Out Rawcliffe. On the way home through Hambleton village about 11am it was a male that sailed across my path via a garden wall to the right.

Sparrowhawk

Between those sightings proved fairly quiet, with one or two specialities plus a spectacular count of woodies to spice up the morning.

The noise from the Tree Sparrows indicated the numbers to be good, over 200 in fact and hard to pick out the Chaffinch when all the birds fly off to the far hedgerow together, but up to 20 finches. A walk up to the top field gave 20+ Reed Bunting, 8 Yellowhammer, 4 Corn Bunting, 2 Song Thrush, 6 Blackbird, 40+ Skylark, a Kestrel and a single Roe Deer.

Roe Deer

Yellowhammer

When I got to where the deer previously stood, the animal had vanished into the far distance, nowhere to be seen; such shy but knowing animals. As I looked north along the hedgerow I saw another crafty but less popular animal than a deer, this one a large dog Red Fox. It had clearly seen me because it sloped off down into the tree roots and the rabbit burrows in the soft, black, mossy soil. Last year we heard the dog barking from this likely spot for a den, where a pair will probably make home and then mate in January/February.

Red Fox - Vulpes vulpes

I hung around for a while but the fox didn’t reappear, not that I expected it to, but it gave me chance to scan the landscape where to the north and west I saw over 700 Woodpigeons in one large flock. There’s not been many around on the moss of late but almost certainly the cold and snow of recent days brought many more of them from elsewhere.

Over the woods today just 2 Buzzards in the cool of the morning and before the sun reached any height to produce decent thermals. A walk through woodland and back to the car produced the expected post-frost Woodcock, another Song Thrush and several Chaffinch.

From the track off the moss the Little Owl has been hard to find of late, but a frosty morning is often the best time to look for them, just as today when one sat partly hidden by the ivy, out in the warming sun but not so conspicuous as to be obvious to any passing prey or careless birder.

Little Owl

10 comments:

Monique et Daniel said...

Grande variété dans cette série, mais de très belles photos, montrant des animaux que l'on voit rarement chez nous! Belles prises!

Andrew said...

Wonderful images of your wildlife.. many thanks for sharing.

eileeninmd said...

What a wonderful day, I would be just tickled over seeing the Little owl. And the Yellohammer is a beauty! Wonderful photos and post. I wish you and your a very Merry Christmas!

Kay L. Davies said...

The Yellowhammer is a very pretty bird, isn't it, Phil? And I love your Little Owl, almost camouflaged there in the winter sun. I've never seen a fox. I've seen lots of coyotes, and one or two wolves, but never a fox in the wild. Enjoyed your post very much today.
K

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Little Owl could so easily have been perched in my Oak tree out front, for it too, is covered in lush ivy with winter berries...that is a terrific shot.
The Roe Deer is a beauty and the Red Fox...we have those too, but they really are sly and shy...only have seen them half dozen times in 30 years.
Have a great week Phil, stay warm, stay safe~

news said...

Hi Phil: Nice shot of the Fox a long time since I last saw one Best wishes JWB.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...day late and a dollar short ...the story of my life ; }
Nice walk with a lot of sightings of interest ...your fox looks like our, but ours might be smaller!
Nice one of the Owl with the fruit of some kind it just adds to the beauty !!!
Don't over do on the shopping this week...; ]
Keep your feet dry, don't want to have the sniffles when Santa come to town ...
Grace....your great buddy!!

Christian said...

I love the picture of the fox - my 'bogey' creature!

Russell said...

Great sparrowhawk capture and love the pose of the deer looking at you. The owl and the fox really made it a complete outing. Nice one.

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

Interesting picture of a sparrowhawk! The tail looks strangely short in this angle, looking similar to a goshawk. Raptors are never easy to identify.

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