Sunday, 26 August 2012

Right date, right place


I went out this morning looking for Wheatear. The North fields have always been irresistible to this species as it migrates south. In the last four years the last week of August and the first week of September have always found at least one in the ploughed or harvested areas. Today some areas were still in harvest mode:

It didn't take long. I was walking along the second ploughed field to the north of the village, when I there was a flash of white to my left and the predicted Wheatear bounded away:

Wheatears are tough birds. Some of the Wheatears that pass through the UK breed in North America and merely cross the North Atlantic and Western Europe to get to their wintering grounds in Africa (Birding World 25 (3)):
Other members have to cross the whole of the Asian continent and the Middle East. Not bad for a bird that only weighs as much as four ten pence pieces.

But it wasn't all about birds this morning, there are still toad hatchlings (toadlets? toadstools?) about.  This picture was taken with a depth of field so tiny (f2.1) that although the eye is in focus, very little else of this tiny toad is in focus. I quite like this effect though:

Then this giant white beast sloped past:

And my, what beautiful eyes you have...

...although your upperwings aren't bad either...

...but I think the underwing is best: Red Admiral:

♀ Linnet:


There are still hundreds of Gulls in the ploughed fields, mostly Lesser Black-backed still, but many Black-headed Gulls were dip feeding over the fields, it was just mud instead of water that they were dipping into for food.
1st winter Black-headed Gull:

The harvesting and ploughing is still attracting many raptors, Red Kites were particularly abundant this morning, some trees holding flocks of up to 10. Some were very interested in me:

A family party of Buzzards were feeding to the south of the village, interacting with each other high and low:

Juvenile Buzzard:

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