Saturday, July 1, 2017

That Foxy Feeling

I was due to meet Andy at 0630 for a go at catching Sand Martins. But first there was an hour or so in which to take a look at Conder Green. 

I heard the first Greenshank of the autumn and then saw it fly across the pool towards the east side. As usual two Avocets were on the far side and out of sight but I guessed they had a youngster in tow when all hell broke loose as they and other birds took to the air in protest at something or other. 

A gang of Oystercatchers joined in the melee as did Shelducks, Lapwings,  a single Black-tailed Godwit, a couple of Redshanks, two Little Egrets and also the two Common Terns from the floating island. Three Common Sandpipers dashed across the water as for safety one of them stood alongside a Common Tern on the floating pontoon. Four Tufted Duck panicked across the pool as the single Little Grebe kept a safe distance in the deeper part of the water. 


I looked hard in the sky and on the ground but saw nothing until a Red Fox strolled out from behind the far island and made its way through the lengthy grass and off towards the main road. All returned to normal, the fox's cover well and truly blown by the concerted efforts of the Conder Pool Residents Association. 

My sighting probably explains the poor showing of ground nesting birds here this year with very low numbers of Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Redshank and Avocet chicks. Studies show that foxes take a large number of wader eggs and also wader chicks that have yet to fly. The relatively shallow water between the landmasses here means that a fox could probably wade or swim through water to reach most of this or any year’s nests and/or to find ground hugging chicks.

A major reason for the Red Fox's success is its varied eating habits. They are omnivore which means they eat virtually anything they come across. They have a major a reputation for taking poultry, but very often undesirables such as rats and slugs. They will also eat fruit, berries, roots and carrion, plus in cities, discarded takeaways in the shape of chips, pizzas and kebabs, with their particular favourite a KFC or McDonald’s. Rather them than me. 

Red Fox

That was about all I saw apart from a few Sand Martins and a passing Kestrel. It was 0620 and time to meet Andy a mile or so away at Cockerham Quarry. 

There seemed to be plenty of martins around, 270+, as well as a Grey Heron, Common Sandpiper, several piping Oystercatchers and Chris’ gaggle of farmyard geese. By now the previous almost zero wind had picked up to 8 or 10 mph and although not ideal we set a net away from the colony holes but where the martins pass through. We caught another nine to add to our first effort of two weeks ago, 5 adults and 4 juveniles. 

Sand Martin

This afternoon the sun emerged from hiding, the first in four days. Now that’s more like it.

Linking this post to Stewart's World Bird Wednesday and Anni's Birding Blog.


Linda said...

I am so glad that the sun made an appearance for you, Phil! Lovely series...and the fox is an unexpected and pleasant addition!

GreenComotion said...

Such a beautiful and a beautiful animal.
There used to be a Red Fox in my old neighborhood in Atlanta.
Wishing for Nature to thrive, so everyone can have a great experience on Earth.
Have a Happy Weekend, Phil!
Peace :)

Lea said...

The fox is pretty, but I am glad the Neighborhood Watch Association was alert!

Judy Biggerstaff said...

I'm waiting for the sun to come out here in Kentucky today. Your fox shot is so sweet. Nice that he isn't too picky of an eater. I haven't seen a greenshank before so thanks for sharing your pics today.

Mary Cromer said...

Oh My, OH MY!!! What shall I say? I just showed your post to my husby...and he said well maybe we should go get some junk food to put out for the Red Foxes and they might leave our wildlife alone. They are taking everything in my neighborhood. We have two adult pairs with two litters working and they just about have my last nerve~

~Lavender Dreamer~ said...

The Fox is a neat sighting. We actually saw a coyote yesterday and they seem so wild! Love your bird pics! Happy weekend!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Glad to see that the Condor Pond Neighborhood Watch Committee has become more active -- and I hope the members continue to scare away Mr Fox -- let him scavenge somewhere else. (As a none-too-picky-omnivore, he could go hang out in a fast-food restaurant parking lot or a city park, don't you think?

Loving the sand martins and all the birds and I'm glad the sun is shining for you.

Stuart Price said...

Wow, 'autumn' already!!!!

♥ Anni ♥ said...

Pretty birds. And the! Would I LOVE to see this little beauty in person. I've only seen ONE in my entire lifetime.

I'm late getting to visit with you, holiday company from Colorado, but want to wish you a happy week ahead and thank you for joining us birders at I'd Rather B Birdin'

NC Sue said...

Beautiful photos. So glad you stopped by to share at

Patrycja P. said...

Nice observations, great photos. This information about killing young waders by foxes was so sad...

Prunella Pepperpot said...

That's a rather magnificent fox you managed to capture, but sad for the nesting birds that become part of its diet.
Loved your images of the greenshank and the delicate sand martin.
Have a wonderful week :)

Ruth Rieckehoff said...

Very interesting everything you have written about foxes. We have observed some around the area where I work. It is a total urban place. But, I guess they have adapted since they can eat many things.

Molly said...

What fabulous colours his coat is


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