Friday, 27 September 2013

SUMMERLEYS 27/09/13 PEREGRINE FALCON

Couldn't wish for a better start to the day really, well almost. I pulled into the carpark of the nature reserve at 06:45, sorted my kit out and headed for the Pioneer Hide (that's the big one in the carpark) it was still dark'ish and imagine my surprise when I walked into a dark hide to see a female birder note book open, not sure how she was writing in the dark, but it made me jump. I could just make out the shadowy figure of a juvenile Ringed Plover and some Teal on the vastly improved scrape apart from one thing, the sun was fast rising so opted to walk around to the screen hide it was still a little dark as I got back to the carpark, when I heard the Lapwing's alert call, I spun round and saw a Peregrine cruising over head and over to the fields opposite the carpark, 07:25, great start I thought. Apart from two Snipe, more Teal, some Widgeon and two Little Egrets, not much was happening, I then noticed the reed bed in front of the screen hide had been hacked down by the Wildlife trust....WHY?? Seriously I get willow coppicing, not a fan but I get the idea, last year from the screen hide I got a Bittern, WHY is the wildlife trust chopping a valuable habitat down? Any suggestions for a home for the Reed Buntings, possible Bittern or even the humble Blue Tit that feeds of the heads of the reed stems. The best answer I got from anyone on the reserve was "improves the views", views of what? Views of nothing with all that Reed Bed gone, seriously last September the wildlife trust done absolutely bugger all, just flooded the scrape and hoped the water would drown the willows, I guess!? come the spring and late spring the reserve was overgrown with willow. No happy medium with the wildlife trust either nothing done or complete carnage, suffice to say I stomped over to the Paul Britain hide (that's the two tier hide) my mood lifted when I heard a familiar voice calling me, it was John and Marian Peacock, I was glad to see John but more so his wife, from all accounts she had a real hard time with cancer and her treatment, so I was more glad to see her then I would've been if I saw a Montagu Harrier. Off we went to the hide, it was now I could see the real extent of the damage by the Wildlife Trust, the scrape looks MUCH MUCH better, but the reed bed in front of the Pioneer Hide had vanished quicker then a section of the Amazon rain forest, seriously if I had to rate the work done by the Trust I would score the scrape 9.5 out of 10 but the other work done -20 out of 10, someone went crazy with the saw....
Bird wise now the light had improve on the scrape there was still the juvenile Ringed Plover, and one Green Sandpiper flew over and towards Grendon Lakes as did a Ruff thought at first it was a Greenshank but inspection of my record shots, shows it to be 100% Ruff.
John and I were busy gossipping like a pair of old ladies when I saw a large falcon, it was a second visit from the Peregrine (09:45) straight at me.......

 You can't tell from these images but the Peregrine has a feather protruding from it's bill and bulging cheeks...so it caught something.
Not my best efforts of this species, I didn't have much time to push the exposure up to +1, with the "milky" sky (thin white/light cloud behind bird but with good light behind me), I managed 9 shots, 6 including John's favourite were soft these three, not pin sharp but they'll do seeming as I still got my "truckers head" on I was also glad to see it twice in one day, as John reminded me of my luck with this species at Summer Leys, I always seem to be in the right place at the right time. Other birds of note was a Sparrowhawk (male) and a Hobby, still the odd small flock of Swallows were passing through too. Lets hope the reed bed re-grows before next spring otherwise the Reed (clue in it's name) Warbler's won't have a home...GIVE NATURE A HOME how about GIVING NATURE A FIGHTING CHANCE. I'm not a happy person today and the day started off so well too.

9 comments:

  1. The reeds will grow back Douglas. It's good to see the Peregrine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Adrian, I hope the reedbed will grow back, they've done a pretty good job at removing it. But my problem is this, when I first started out photography, I asked this woman at the trust if when the new hides are built if we could have them not facing the sun, her response " It's not about providing good photographic oppurtunities, nor giving good views but providing suitable habitats and hides that will not interfere with the wildlife, ie cause disturbance"...the same woman then lamented on her Faceblock or Twatter page " it's a real shame that we donot see winter starling roosts like those witnessed on the reedbed at Stortons Gravel Pits five years ago" and you won't if you keep chopping down their roost sites, in my previous post you can see the size of the starling flock that could be possible if the starlings had somewhwere to roost,.It just seemed a touch hypocritical.

      Delete
    2. Douglas, the Reed beds at Leighton Moss are fantastic. I must call to see the Starlings later in the year.
      I suspect that many of the folk running both the RSPB and the Wildlife trust think on the hoof and don't plan. I am generous enough to assume that they don't do silly things on purpose. I suspect they just lack common sense.

      Delete
    3. If you're ever passing Otmoor on Oxfordshire have look there at the RSPB reserve, a bit of the Fens in Oxfordhire, smashing place.

      Delete
  2. I saw your comment over at Adrian's blog and thought I would check out your blog. Of course I have no idea who the people you met are but the way you talked about seeing them and hearing about the cancer made it interesting to read. Enjoyed the story of your day and the pictures of the Peregrine. I like the last one best as there is just a hint of sunlight on its head and curve of its wing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks David, it was gorgeous blue skies in the direction the adult bird was flying towards.
      Marian (and John of course) is a really nice lady, her and Ruth would walk around the reserve every morning picking all the rubbish from the hides left by "night-time visitors" and rubbisg from the bushes and carpark, I always view the pair of them as the "un-sung" volunteers of the reserve.

      Delete
  3. Glad to see that you're getting you're workflow and backlog of images sorted Douglas, re: your last post and I love that young Redshank! Now you're into it, you don't fancy popping over and....No?.. I thought not!...lol.

    That was a pleasant 'find' in the hide!!, the last time I went over there early in the morning all that was waiting to greet me in that hide was a used condom!!

    I don't know what the 'managers' of some of these ' wildlife sites' are thinking of when they start hacking things down, do they want a site to encourage wildlife or do they want something that looks pretty? I guess a majority of visitors would be happy to go and see a pretty site with just the odd duck bobbing around, whereas the people who really appreciate wildlife would be happy to see a good habitat and would be willing to sit and wait for the wildlife to 'show'. You can't please everyone, I guess? Maybe there's a bigger plan in operation that we don't know about?

    At least the Peregrine performed well for you, super images...[;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do your own homework :o)
      The reason the condom was in the hide was probably because Marian and Ruth were unable to do their usual litter pick, Marian was poorly and Ruth's husband hasn't been to well of late, but this is the work the wildlife trust don't do? They don't use the barrier in the carpark at night after spending LOADS OF MONEY on it in the first place, which at the time I emailed the WT saying it was a waste of money :o(
      About the reedbeds I don't believe it was to give better views as we're coming into winter and the rise in water levels will offer better views "naturally", but there is a muttering that it was done to annoy people with big lenses think about this as you kind of know the reserve...The reedbed in front of the main hide gave close enough chances for Water Rails,Reed Buntings,Warblers and bittern etc=gone, the reedbed in front of the screen hide which the bittern, little egret,snipe,heron etc flew into and the "fake" tree that the Kestrel,Sparrowhawk and Green Woodpecker=gone, the kingfisher perches=gone, however the sedge/reed blocking "VIEWS" of Rotary Island from the Rotary Hide (smallest hide Trevor) but giving photographic view=STILL THERE. It's a well established fact one worker at the Northants Wildlife Trust doesn't like photographers, she moaned at me because I was sat in an empty hide, all on my own until she came in and moaned at me for 3 HOURS, saying "I WASN'T ALLOWING ANYONE ELSE A CHANCE TO SIT IN THE HIDE" depsite many benches availiable and she was the first person I saw all day, she then went on to say "YOU PHOTOGRAPHERS TAKE UP TO MUCH ROOM IN HIDES WITH YOUR LENSES, IT'S NOT NECCESARY AND THE NOISE YOU MAKE IS A DISTURBANCE"....so I've a sneaky feeling what's happening.......that was a blog post in itself lol

      Delete
    2. I forgot (lol) if you think my perry is good click on the Northants Bird reports on the left handside of my blog and have a look at the juvenile peregrine Bob got on the scrape at Sleys.

      Delete