Thursday, July 9, 2015

Early Autumn

No Barn Owl pics for the umpteenth time. Yet again this morning there was a Barn Owl hunting not far from the roadside but I was on double white lines along a twisty road where stopping is not recommended. I motored on and then notched up two Kestrels along Head Dyke Lane in the usual spot. 

At Lane Ends I stopped to count a field of exclusively Lapwings, a post-breeding gathering of 160+ birds. Scanning through the flock there didn’t seem to be too many youngsters although the nearest one to the car was a well-fringed juvenile with a spiky hair cut. 

Lapwing

At Braides a distant Buzzard sat atop a plastic wrapped bale of silage from which to watch and wait. At this time of year both Buzzards and Kestrels use these ready-made 360⁰ vantage points to launch attacks on unsuspecting mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and worms. 

Buzzard

Following an earlier post this week I alluded to the trials and tribulations of our UK Common Buzzard. In a comment on the post my friend and fellow blogger David Gascoigne drew my attention to a passage by the nineteenth century naturalist David Henry Thoreau. 

Thoreau writes about the demise of a Red-tailed Hawk from a farmer’s gun. “But alas for the youthful hawk, the proud bird of prey, the tenant of the skies. We shall no more see his wave-like outline against a cloud, nor hear his scream from behind one. He saw but a pheasant in a field, the food which nature has provided for him, and stooped to seize it. This was his offense. He, the native of these skies, must make way for these bog-trotters from another land, which never soar. The eye that was conversant with sublimity, that looked down on earth from under its sharp projecting brow, is closed; the head that was never made dizzy by any height is brought low; the feet that were not made to walk on earth now lie useless along it. With those trailing claws for grapnels it dragged the lower skies. These wings which swept the sky must now dust the chimney-corner, perchance. So weaponed, with strong beak and talons, and wings, like a war steamer, to carry them about. In vain were the brown spotted eggs laid, in vain were ye cradled in the loftiest pine of the swamp. Where are your father and mother? Will they hear of your early death before ye had acquired your full plumage, they who nursed you and defended ye so faithfully?” 

Alas David, these words are all too relevant in this the 21st Century. 

The farmer missed the foxes though, the family I found searching through a recently cut field at Cockerham. They too were after unsuspecting mammals, reptiles, amphibians, insects and worms. There were three foxes at first before one sloped back into the trees leaving me to get a picture of just two of them. I have mixed feelings about seeing Red Foxes in hearing and reading what damage and destruction they can wreak upon other wildlife, but at the same time rather admiring their looks and apparent charm. Am I alone? 

Red Foxes

Red Fox

Stopping for the Buzzard and then watching the foxes made me late for Conder Green where the incoming tide had partly filled the creeks. 

Conder Green

Common Sandpipers reach an early peak here, often in July, so a count of 13 flicking around the margins was not totally unexpected but still good to see. Apart from extra sandpipers the species and counts of the waterside were as normal by way of 70+ Redshank, 40+ Lapwing, 20+ Oystercatcher, 1 Greenshank, 2 Common Tern feeding young, 15+ Swift, 10+ Sand Martin, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret and 2 Pied Wagtail. 

Pied Wagtail

“Brown jobs” amounted to 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 2 Reed Warbler and 2 Greenfinch. 

I drove back to Fluke Hall for a walk along the hedgerows and the sea wall. There are still 2 Blackcap in song while 2 pairs of Whitethroats with their obvious alarm calls advertised the fact that youngsters are nearby. Along the sea wall another pair of Whitethroats fed young while 2 Reed Buntings were still in good voice. 

Feeding amongst the farmer’s midden was a single Wheatear, a fairly obviously plumaged juvenile. Occasionally they arrive on the coast from the uplands in June but early July is the norm - autumn’s not far away! 

Wheatear
 
Look in soon for more autumn birds with Another Bird Blog.

In the meantime linking to Anni's blog and Eileen's Saturday Blog.

28 comments:

David Gascoigne said...

Ah those double white lines on a twisty road...I have crossed the line a few times, just ask my wife, but I think my twisty roads are all behind me now and that from here on in is straight ahead!

Margaret Adamson said...

Autumn! NO Phil, I have not had my summer yet!! That is a raking image of Conder Green and I loved the young Wheatear.

Linda said...

It is pretty hot and humid here in Montreal, our typical summer, which I have trouble coping with. Thank goodness for central air conditioning. I love this series, Phil, and the spike hairdo on the Lapwing made me smile. :)

retriever said...

Here no autumn, hot weather , wonderfull your série photos,greeting from Belgium

http://louisette.eklablog.com/

eileeninmd said...

I am not ready for an early Autumn! I love your Lapwing, gorgeous bird. Sorry you missed the chance on getting the owl. The foxes are cute! Lovely birds and photos. Have a happy weekend!

Stewart M said...

I was back in the UK for the 'heat wave' - was really surpassed to see Red Kite over the M4 and the number of buzzards everywhere. Failed (once more) to see Bearded Tit!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

marsha said...

great series....I love the photo of the 2 foxes.

Powell River Books said...

Right now the most common birds around our cabin are swallows. The Tree Swallows just fledged from our birdhouse nests. All that's left to watch are our Barn Swallows. They built their nest on a ledge under our front porch at the cabin. They are pretty used to us walking by, so we hope we don't disturb them too much once the babies hatch. - Margy

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, just stopping back to say thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Have a happy weekend!

Hannah said...

I would live to see an owl here, too, I hear them sometimes asking their identity question. After such a hot start to summer I could almost wish for fall, but it is cooling off for a while. The predators are welcome to come pick off some rabbits, voles, and moles here. The foxes would do so. Touching sentiments from Thoreau. The lapwing with the bad hair day is comical!

Latane Barton said...

I particularly loved seeing the fox. I saw one recently near my apartment but did not have my camera ready.

Adam Jones said...

Nice to see a family of foxes and the juv Wheatear. So different to the adult birds.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

The passage from Audubon is very sad ... Sadder because of its relevance . I love the silly looking lapwing (how I would love to see one in RL) .... Our Colorado family has foxes in the vacant lot next to them and we love watching them (as do they)....and we worry what will happen to them when it gets built on as it no doubt will eventually.

Gayle said...

The barn owl's day will come. I the meantime thanks for the rest of the great photos.

carolann said...

I enjoyed the foxes. We have them also.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

I'm jealous of anyone with fox pics...I've yet to get any in my life. SO FAR!

P.S. That tribute from Thoreau has me all choked up.
~

Rajesh said...

Great shots of lovely flowers.

Marie C said...

When anyone kills for "fun" and not for food, it is always such a tragedy. All we can do is hope, with education and awareness, that people will do better. It is always such a sad thing. LOVE the foxes! Such a cute little group! You'll get that Barn Owl yet!

Anni said...

I really, really like the 'feel' of the buzzard atop the silage roll like that. I get a quiet, peaceful piece of tranquility here.

And the lapwing...160+?!!!! I'd be thrilled to see just ONE!

Awesome post again Phil And yep, I've been in that situation being on the road, a wonderful bird is in the distance and no place to pull off safely, I tend to think it's a conspiracy between the bird and ME!!

sandyland said...


I never see more than one fox at a time

Anni said...

Oh, okay...now you've gone and done it. I'm probably gonna be contemplating all weekend just what birds such as the scissortailed flycatcher used for nesting material BEFORE the human came along with all its refuse!! ;-)

NatureFootstep said...

loved to see your lapwing. I have not come close to them yet. But I certainly will.

Gunilla Bäck said...

Wonderful photos! I love the foxes. I don't think we've had any summer yet. :-)

Marie C said...

Thanks for all your recent comments on my blog posts!

mick said...

The juvenile Lapwing is especially cute and I like the photo of the tide coming in at Condor Green. Nice photo of the foxes too - Foxes are another thing that were brought from England to Australia - and turned into terrible pests!

carol l mckenna said...

Always wonderful bird photography ~ Love the foxes this time! Great shots!

Happy Week to you,
artmusedog and carol

K V V S MURTHY said...

Beautiful pictures...!

s.c said...

Lovely animal shots. I like them.

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