House Martin Mystery

July 16, 2017 at 8:01 pm

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One of the most welcome signs of summer are the return of House Martins nesting under the house eaves. Unfortunately over the last ten years their numbers are down by half and no one seems to know why. In many cases the nature of our summers produces extremes of weather which has resulted in the mud used for their nests being of inferior quality and as a result nests falling down with disastrous results. The erection of artificial nest-boxes for House Martins may well be one answer to the problem. Some years ago now I watched House Martins feeding young in a nest on our local estate in the last week of October – sadly these birds have long since gone.
This weeks photo is from a nest under a stone window sill, not under the eaves where they normally nest. Both Martins were catching large flying insects over a meadow nearby. click here

Ant Eggs For Lunch

July 8, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Green Woodpecker
After raptors, a day in the Pennines can be highlighted by good views of Woodpeckers, especially the Green Woodpecker, who is more often heard than seen. In nearly fifty years of filming I have still only ever filmed half a dozen Green Woodpeckers at the nest. The recent dry, warm weather was perfect for ants, which are the Green Woodpecker’s main source of food. With a nest-hole only six feet off the ground it was a perfect combination to await the young Woodpeckers leaning out of the hole to receive the ant eggs. Even though the young were about to fledge the male Green Woodpecker still insisted on going into the nest-chamber to give it a clean, as shown in the gallery photos. Click here


July 2, 2017 at 2:23 pm

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Although most wildlife watchers go to Islay in summer to see the raptors there is no doubt that there are a whole host of other birds that will capture the attention of the visitor. Top of the list will be the Chough as Islay has more than fifty breeding pairs plus many non-breeding birds.
Wading birds breed in profusion on Islay and there are still good numbers of Snipe, Lapwing and Redshank. Skylarks sing in all parts of the island and this weeks gallery shows one in full song amongst cotton grass. During our recent visit we encountered good numbers of Black Guillemots together with Otter, Lizard, Adder and plenty of Hares.Click here

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