Saturday, 8 August 2009

Stubble: the best a man can get

Aarghh! The spinning blades of death! A Corncrake's eye views of a Combine Harvester. However, now the oilseed rape and corn/barley/wheat are being harvested the resulting stubble fields are attracting good numbers of birds. This morning 60 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Red Kites, 4 Buzzards, 2 Kestrels and a Hobby were all out and about. The Kestrels were juveniles and were successfully catching insects in the set-aside:
Even tusseling with each other for prey:
One of the Red Kites was wing tagged. The right wing tag indicates the year it was tagged (usually as a chick) and the left wing tag indicates the area where it was tagged. This bird was tagged in 2003 (red tag on right wing) in the Chiltern area (yellow tag left wing). See for more details:
Whilst photographing the raptor fest above the stubble fields a warbler preening itself in a nearby hedge catches my eye. Initially I can only see a pale belly, but as it moves the huge pale supercillium and dark crown make me pay it much more attention. It dives down into a ditch, but due to great skill and years of practice in reading bird behaviour (or was it just having a big lens with autofocus?!) I manage to get an image of it: the first Sedge Warbler for the area! And species number 79, so far:
2 Stock Dove feeding in fields are only the second record this year, whilst could this be a Hare form?
There are a number of these scrapes, containing droppings, but do Rabbits do something similar? Good numbers of Swallows are still feeding above the village at least 50 Swallow today, although juveniles are beginning to gather on the wires, the first hint that autumn is on the way. As I type the Garden Warbler is still feeding on elderberries in my garden, appropriately enough.

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