Who would have thought that after nearly fifty years of filming birds that your best flight shots of buzzards would have been taken stood at the back door of your house. A couple of weeks ago I was returning from a session filming Waxwings when, as I entered the house with my camera gear, two Buzzards were descending overhead into a field nearby. I didn’t even have time to put the lens hood on the camera as I fired a short burst of shots.
This spring started very wet and mild which was perfect for Ear and Scarlet Elf Cup fungi. I have included photos of these in this weeks gallery.click here
For the female kingfisher copulation can be a dangerous event. The bill of the male is extremely pointed and could cause damage to both her feathers and her eyes. To protect her eyes a membrane closes over the eyes during copulation(as in this weeks blog photo). Whilst this works perfectly for her from the camera’s point of view the photos obtained with this membrane in place usually end up being deleted – and there can be a lot of them! As promised last week this weeks blog photo and gallery are just a few of the seventy odd taken during a seven second copulation.Click here
This weeks photo is of a male Kingfisher presenting the female with a Stoneloach. If you look closely at her bill it is covered in earth. She has just spent ten minutes digging out their nest-chamber and as a reward the male has caught the fish for her. It is her reward for all the digging and his reward is copulation – see next week. Click here
The local woods are now resounding to the song of Chiff-chaffs and the first Willow Warblers. In contrast I had sight of my latest ever Jack Snipe on the 4th April.
For forty seven of the last forty eight years I have´started the breeding season by filming Long Tailed Tits. This year was no exception and it is always a delight to be able to watch Long Tailed Tits at close quarters as they search out feathers for their nest. Great distances are covered as they gather up to two thousand in only a ten day period. They particularly like white feathers which mainly come from Wood Pigeons. So far during March I have only found half a dozen nests but looking back to 1986 I note that I had a record twenty six nests by the 31st – surely a record that is on the shelf forever! Click here
The warm weather, with southerly winds, of the last five days has brought an influx of Chiff-chaffs, with six singing in Hopwood woods on one morning. A quick visit to my Adder site on the 29th produced four male and two female Adders, enjoying the warm sunshine.
Filming wildlife can take you into some spectacular situations. In the last couple of weeks for instance I have been surrounded by the beauty of Islay and Speyside. All that changed last week when I found myself filming from my car, that was positioned next to a pile of slurry left by the farmer. While the local inhabitants were up in arms at the appearance of this substance it was a great attraction to both Pied and Grey Wagtails and provided me with the photos I was after, even if the surroundings were not something to be desired. Click here
The big news locally in the last couple of weeks was the appearance of a Little Egret on the local stream through Hopwood woods. It was present on three occasions and has now moved on. The warm sunshine on the 25th brought three Small Tortoiseshell butterflies on the wing, a species that had a very poor year last year so lets hope for plenty more sunshine this year.
There is no doubt that the Punk Rocker of the bird world is the Crested Tit. Unfortunately for us if we want to see them we have to travel to the Spey valley in Scotland. The old Caledonian pine is their home and in March, if the weather is mild, they start to excavate their nest-holes making finding the birds very difficult. During three very low-key birding days (due to the trip being Pauline’s 70th birthday treat) the forest last week did produce some Crested tits together with Siskins that are also more active at this time of the year. The presence of Red Squirrels made a change from a winter full of Waxwings! click here.