Sunday, 19 July 2015

SWALLOWS, SPARROWHAWK AND BARN OWL

Saturday didn't start off well as I awoke to the tragic news that Jules Bianchi had finally succumbed to his injuries in last year's Japanese Grand Prix. We're still waiting to see if Michael Schumacher will pull through his and if he does wether he'll have any permanent damage to his brain. Not a great day for F1.
Mr.Z sent me a text "they're mowing the hay meadows". I know it's got to be done and to be fair it was very dried out and given the crap that's happened down there of late I could see some idiot setting a match to it. 
Compare the two images, top one from the first visit and bottom from Saturdays. 

There was a sizeable meadow behind the tree line, gone. The biggest meadow adjacent to the train station, gone,  where the vintage steam rally people will be camping next weekend and I photographed the individuals shooting pigeons with a shotgun last year (more hassle to come). The owl is struggling to bring home food thanks to the Kestrel having to go some distance from the nest to catch anything going as far as the bean field at the top of the hill yet it's still bringing the food back at a fairly frequent rate (8 times in the hour I was there)  but leaving it vulnerable to the sneaky Kestrel. Whom adopted a new trick today of sitting in the field and launching it's attack. There was a massive grappling match on the nest box perch that had me squirming before the owl managed to get back in the nest, this will end in tears. Not sure how the owletts will cope when they fledge, if they fledge as the adult looks vulnerable. Sadly due to the meadow area gone no close quartering took place on my visit. 
I only managed these two shots. 

These were taken in the evening. I'm debating wether to keep visiting  due to it being harder for it to hunt having checked the owl site out in the afternoon I opted not to hang about and I cycled on up to Cottesbrooke and caught this Sparrowhawk lurking. 

Not a stupid bird, that gap in the roof behind it is where a House Sparrow nests, this scared off temporarily my main reason for coming here the Swallows and Housemartins. They've seemed to have had a bumper year in this area.
When the Swallows eventually came back I got down to photographing them, got loads but the below image was the best one, the others were either one wing up, both wings swept back like a bullet, got one snatching a hoverfly but was just too soft for even my liking. I'll go through the others later in the week.
Not my best but a dramatic pose none the less. I cycled back via Blueberry Farm/Maidwell which was a massive let down if I'm honest. Loads of Swallows (again), Linnets, Buzzard, Skylark, Whitethroat and run of the mill birds was the best I could muster.
However I felt quite smug knowing I had travelled a total of 23.37 miles and hadn't burnt a single drop of fossil fuel for my birding, something quite liberating about that if I'm completely honest. Is this the end of my love affair with cars? Quite possibly. 

12 comments:

  1. It is a pity the Kestrel is givng the Owls hassle but your got 2 good shots there. You did well on your bike but it can only take you so far. Thanks for intereting suggestion about the winch. We will get to the bottome of that mystery some day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Margaret, I'm loving the biking at the moment even though I cover less distance then I would if I was in car you tend to see more. You'll have to ask someone on greyhounds island about the winch ;-)

      Delete
    2. Greyhound island!!! You mean Tory Island. Yes I will ask someone when I am there again.

      Delete
    3. I'm a twit I was getting ready for a greyhound show when I wrote that lol.

      Delete
  2. That Kestrel needs a good slap or a talking to.
    The owls seem to be running a bit late but the grass will soon grow again at this time of the year.
    I think that swallow image is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah I haven't even seen a hint of the young emerging yet I think the mixed weather hasn't helped. I've never seen such a determined and clever Kestrel it makes for fascinating watching.

      Delete
  3. Not good news about the Kestrel, Doug, but I suspect that the Barn Owl could/would take it if it got to be too much of nuisance.

    That's really sneaky of the Sprawk - but then I wouldn't expect it to be gentlemanly about its quest for food!

    Wonderful image of the Swallow. The whole shape of them is beautiful, and their tail feather markings are amazing.

    Have a good week - - - - Richard

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This owl is weird Richard some are saying there's two but I've only ever seen the one bird, so I guess it is being careful I'll be interested to see what it does once the young leave
      The sprawk was so cunning just hiding behind the light surveying the area. I don't think you can beat Swallows for dynamic poses and markings, cracking birds

      Delete
  4. Hi Doug, just catching up after being away for a week or so, great to see you have found a reliable Barn Owl site, I wouldn't worry too much about the Kestrel if push comes to shove the Barnie will look after itself. I also don't think there is anything to worry about with the Barnies nesting late, I still have birds on eggs and one site where mating has been witnesses haven't even laid yet! Loving the Swallow image, and the one of the sneaky Sprawk.........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cheers Paul, Mr.Z and I have just been talking about the Kestrel and Barn Owl and how ferocious it's been I've never seen anything like it. It's odd how late they've been at breeding this year I can't wait to see where the off spring move off to.

      Delete
  5. Great images Doug, keep up the good work ..... sadly we have no breeding BO's at TLNR this year so I am enjoying yours !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks John, I'm shocked that you have no breeding Barnies this year, I'd have thought TLNR would be ideal for them, hope they're ok.

      Delete