Spot The Moult

September 19, 2020 at 6:18 pm

This weeks blog photo is of a male Long Eared Owl still actively hunting to provide food for his now fully fledged young. At some point in time he has to moult all his flight feathers and if you look carefully at his fifth primary feathers, on both wings, they are only partly grown. It must be very difficult for him to go through a progressive moult and at the same time to be still providing food for his offspring. It can only be a matter of days now before the young Owls will be on their own and our male can have a more relaxing time – until next year that is ! click here

Heading South

September 13, 2020 at 1:03 pm

When Ospreys arrived in Britain this year it was late March and lockdown had just begun. It meant that they could settle down to breed in our countryside without disturbance from human beings. The result has been a record number of 300 pairs breeding this year and most have been successful. Ironically one of the unsuccessful ones was at Loch Garten where the first pair bred in 1954 and where no Ospreys returned to this year.
This weeks blog and gallery photos were taken on a magical day a few years ago when I filmed an Osprey’s nest for ten hours. Incredibly the male came every hour with fish compared to the following day when he only came twice – it was a long ten hour day! Click here

A Mega Twitch

September 5, 2020 at 6:21 pm

I have never considered myself a twitcher but during the last week I have spent fifteen hours on the Pennine moors looking for an illusive bird called a Wryneck. Its a bird that I have never seen before and breeds in the forests of Scandinavia and sometimes in the highlands of Scotland. Its cryptic plumage and habits of feeding on the ground make it very hard to find especially as it is not much bigger than a Skylark. I managed to find it twice so enjoy this weeks gallery as I am unlikely to ever see one again and yes I still do not consider myself to be a twitcher!! Click here

Sand Martin’s Success

August 30, 2020 at 6:55 pm

The fabulous weather that we had during the beginning of lockdown came just as the first Sand Martins were arriving locally. A high sandy bank was dug on my local stream and was an instant attraction and by the end of the first period of lockdown fifty pairs had reared young in this bank. This weeks blog and gallery photos were taken during this period which produced an exceptional number of fledged young. Click here

Eating Egg – Shells

August 23, 2020 at 11:41 am

The moment a birds eggs hatch is a very dangerous time for lots of birds especially Hawks, Owls and Nightjars. Any egg-shells left around the nest would give the nest away to predators like Crows and Foxes. The incubating bird does not want to leave its newly emerged young so there is only one alternative – eat the egg-shells! Over the years I  have witnessed this event many times with Owls, Hen Harriers and even this weeks Nightjar disposing of the unwanted egg-shell. Click here to see the Gallery.

Awaiting The Guns

August 16, 2020 at 2:48 pm

Whilst on the high tops this week I came across this small party of Red Grouse. The date was the 10th August and I wonder now how many of this group are still alive after the commencement of shooting on the 12th.
Sadly some Gamekeepers clear out all forms of raptors from the moor to ensure a larger bag of Grouse when the shooting starts. Such is the persecution that breeding Hen Harriers are now down to less than a dozen pairs in England.These are the only ones left on moorland that should support more than 300 pairs. Something  has to be done to stop this slaughter.
This weeks gallery photos reminds us just how spectacular a bird the Hen Harrier is. Click here