Caught in the Act

January 27, 2008 at 2:00 pm

Sparrow Hawk

Well it had to happen – the male Sparrowhawk returned and caught a Starling on our lawn. It was a gruesome event, with the Starling still alive for ten minutes as it was being eaten. I filmed it from twenty feet through the window in the house but how could I ever show it? I have been filming raptor feeds for thirty five years and have never been bothered but to see the capture and the prey still alive I felt very sorry for the Starling. Apart from that the Starling was one I had fed all Winter!! This week’s photo is one of the still photos I took of the event.

Only two inches of rain this week so perhaps the weather is improving.

There are still Woodcock on Hopwood and at Dovestones one hundred and twenty plus Siskins were present. On the roof of an Indian restaurant in Oldham were two hundred plus Lapwings. – where else would one look for Lapwings in Winter??

Rain rain and more rain

January 22, 2008 at 11:32 am

Long Tailed Tits

With more than two inches of rain in the last seven days and only four hours of sunshine no filming has been possible.

On Hopwood, on three separate days , Woodcock have been flushed. However The remains of a Woodcock by some fox droppings were also found and predation from foxes must be quite common. Siskins and Goldcrests were seen and there are still big parties of Long Tailed Tits around.

A Sparrowhawk in the garden on the fourteenth proved to be a superb male with blue back and orange breast feathers – one of the best I have ever seen.

With the weather being so wet a lot of time has been spent on producing the DVD of Islay which is now in the final stages – watch this space!!

Goldfinch Spectacular

January 13, 2008 at 9:13 pm


Another wet and cold week with very few days available for photography

I spent a morning in a friends garden filming up to five Bramblings that had been feeding for more than a week. It’s typical doing this job that as soon as you are in position to film anything something unplanned happens ie. builders arrived on a house nearby to reslate the roof!! Luckily they started on the back of the house and I managed to get ten minutes of video of the Bramblings before they flew off. I had forgotten how colourful a male Brambling was but from six foot with a twenty times magnification lens I was soon reminded.

A lot of food is now going into our garden and we have been rewarded with a record number of thirty three Goldfinches. As you would expect the Sparrowhawk is still making an appearance every now and then

First Snow of the Winter

January 6, 2008 at 8:55 pm


Although to late for Christmas we had our first sprinkling of snow this week which made the Robins more seasonal looking. It also brought into our garden two Reed Buntings for their first visit of the Winter together with a male Siskin.

The return of milder weather brought both Mistle and Song Thrush into full song. A good view was had of Green Woodpecker in Hopwood together with a party of seventeen Long Tailed Tits feeding in the birches – a large number still together, confirming their good breeding season last year.

After putting it off several times I finally went up onto the top of the Pennines above Glossop on the 6th to search for the white Mountain Hares. The hares performed well and I saw at least six and managed to get some decent video. Unfortunately the local gun club spent three hours shooting nearby so none of the natural sound can be used on the video – just my luck so I must go up again! There were a good number of Red Grouse which augurs well for this years breeding season, after what I was told was their worst ever year.