Sunday, 1 March 2009

Chats and Rats

A mid-morning walk to Wheatley and I only take the camera at the last moment, despite the grey, misty conditions. And I am rewarded with one of these on the fence near Parkside:
My first Stonechat for the area - and one of the least approachable I have ever come across. There is no obvious moult contrast in the coverts, so based on this and the plumage tones I assume its a first winter bird. This was as good as it got:
There was a calling Golden Plover over the fields near Wheatley, and 19 Pied Wagtails feeding in the ploughed fields. Back in the garden 2 male Reed Buntings are attracted to the seed feeder, presumably the two males that visited early in February:
The Buntings suddenly depart, and I realise why - a Brown Rat (Rattus rattus, my favourite scientific name!) is feeding below the bird table. I have seen them climb the pole before, but never climb the overhang to get onto the table. Until today, as demonstrated below:

Looks like some additional seed protection is required...

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