Most visitors to Islay in May would not expect to see Hares boxing. However, it is not unusual for Islay’s Hares to box up to June and this activity was a bonus during our visit. Up to a dozen came together in the corner of a Barley field and although some distance away it was a great spectacle to see.
May on Islay is a wonderful time for any birdwatcher with birds like Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler singing in every roadside bush. The whole island is yellow with gorse and male Hen Harriers hunt for any unguarded songster. Click here
To you and I this weeks photo might look like a rotting tree in the middle of a wood. For a Goosander it is just what she has been looking for as a nest site and a place to lay her eggs.
There have been very few photos taken of the female Goosander coming and going to her nest. As she has to feed at least once a day my challenge was to capture a photograph of her as she left the hollow tree. Many hours were spent waiting for it to happen but with no luck. When she did appear she was carrying a piece of dead wood which she threw into the air before going off to feed! Click here
When you go out to film wildlife you never know what the final outcome will be. During the week whilst driving down a country lane in Bowland I noticed a sheep in a field with two lambs stood on its back. I reversed back down the lane, placed my camera and big lens on the passenger seat and drove back until I was level with the sheep. Unfortunately as I picked up my camera a vehicle appeared from the opposite direction and of course I was blocking the road. I reversed back down the road to allow the vehicle to pass and then rushed back to the sheep – the lambs were now on the ground and the photo opportunity was gone. As I was regaining my composure I noticed a flock of waders rising from beyond the sheep and realised that these were in fact Whimbrel. It was a rare moment to see a flock of twenty five Whimbrel migrating North through the Pennines. Click here
This week has also seen a passage of waders locally. On one afternoon I was able to film two new birds for me being Little Stint and Kentish Plover.
It is hard to believe that this weeks Short Eared Owl has just spent four months hunting voles only five miles from Manchester Town hall. It left on the 30th April and is now on its way back to Scandinavia with others of its kind after the biggest influx of Short Eared Owls in living memory. Apparently on one day last October thirty eight Short Eared Owls were on a sea cliff on Fair Isle sheltering from the wind!
Despite the snow cover on the 29th my first Whitethroat of summer was singing away on Hopwood! A night on the local moors did not produce any hunting Long Eared Owls but did provide a spectacular moon-rise. Click here