Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday Meanderings

The Buzzards were calling and circling high in the blue when I arrived on the moss. The dry weather and resulting farming activity had probably caused the birds to investigate the disturbance from a safe distance. Our local Buzzards are not ones to stay put and so pinpoint the nest if there are potential villains around, but many farmers about here don’t notice Buzzards and have better things to do than go out of their way to harm the birds. Rough shooters might, the danger being that many of them can’t tell arse from elbow, their knowledge of birds other than their precious “game” being infinitesimal. 

I think the weather of the last six months has also caused problems for Buzzards just as it has for many other resident species. This has resulted in low populations for the start of the breeding season, with just two pairs in an area I know well compared to 4 pairs in recent years. The nests are at the top of the tallest conifers in each wood, the shy adults departing the wood via the back door long before an intruder nears the livestock-proof ditch and fence. I found evidence of a recent meal, the Buzzards having left tufts of fur from a bunny or a hare on a plucking post. I couldn’t find proof that the raptors might have brought game birds here and they’d struggle to bring in a native Grey Partridge as that species is almost certainly locally extinct, competing as it must with thousands of released pheasants and red-legs for four months of the year. 

Buzzard

Buzzard plucking post - bunny fur

The woods proved quite productive in other ways, the other species tolerating the Buzzards’ presence. There was a Blackbird nest in a tree hole, a calling Nuthatch, a Great-spotted Woodpecker feeding a noisy family hidden away in a holy tree, singing Blackcap and singing Garden Warbler. I checked a Carrion Crow nest and found 3 healthy young, so torn between being conservationist or ringer I slapped rings on each then wished them luck for the winter shoots. Boy that chick is ugly but I’m sure his mum loves him. 

Great-spotted Woodpecker

"Woodpeckered" Tree

Carrion Crow chick

The plantation was full of singing birds - 5 Willow Warbler, 2 Sedge Warbler, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Reed Bunting and 2 Blackcap. On a recently seeded field were 12 Stock Dove and a couple of Lapwings plus 2 singing Corn Bunting along the margin. And Yellowhammers were in full song today, their “little bits of bread and cheese” going a good way in the calm conditions. 

At the barn Pied Wagtails were feeding young, the nest in a pile of cut and stacked wood, and from the size of the meals the chicks were receiving I reckoned they wouldn’t be too far from fledging. A Little Owl was hanging about the building, the wagtails not entering until the owl was safely in the roof spaces.

Pied Wagtail

My cue to head home for a bite to eat too. More news and views soon from Another Bird Blog.

Linking today to Stewart's Photo Gallery .

15 comments:

Carole M. said...

the little carrion crow made me laugh; love the woodpecker and it quite is a surprise to see how neat they cut the hole and in a neat line like they do too. Your header lapwing is superb ...

Stuart Price said...

Only a mother crow could love that chick.......

eileeninmd said...

Great post, Phil! I love the woodpecker and tree and the pretty Pied Wagtail. And the Crow chick is just too cute!

Gary said...

Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

HansHB said...

Great photos, great work!
Well done!

HOOTIN ANNI said...

Lovin' the woodpecker.

Mama Zen said...

Aw, I think that little chick is so ugly he's cute!

Karen said...

Terrific shot of the woodpecker, and the holes! Thay baby bird is so darn cute.

Dave said...

You wouldn't think that chick is going to grow upto to be a beast of a bird... if not a tad more handsome

mick said...

A very interesting post. Of course the birds are all great but that tree with all the woodpecker holes in it was amazing. I had no idea they did that much damage.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful shots! I love the buzzard and the woodpecker.

Arija said...

Poor little crow baby, not exactly a winner in the 'cute' stakes.Wagtails are very wary little birds, good to see their strategy. Love the woodpecker high-rise!

Shey said...

Great post & enjoyed reading it. I agree the carrion crow looks cute even if hairless and fragile at the same time. Awesome shots esp the mommy pied wagtail with food in its beak.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Carrion Crow chick, the face that only a momma Carrion Crow would love, and bird lovers;') sweet! That Spotted Woodpecker is wonderful and the pecked tree, wow, that is a whole lot of bugging going on. Thank you for asking about me...it has been a busy time and then I have now had 8 Deer Tick Bites in 7 days as of yesterday and kind of fed up with that! Take good care~

Russell Jenkins said...

I always go "Wow" when I see your buzzards, Phil. They are striking. Nice collection of other birds for summer too.

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