Tuesday 26 June 2012

The Young Generation

Unfortunately today was a garden observation only day. No matter, there was plenty to see, lots of juvenile birds about, both in and over the garden. By far the most numerous, entertaining and foolhardy are the young Starlings.  As I stood by the pond I was conscious of a dark brown blob fluttering down towards a lily pad, what the poor unfortunate Starling hadn't understood was that a lily pad couldn't support his weight and that he was unable to swim. Fortunately I had left the pond net out from previous dragonfly observations and he was soon back on dry land. I placed him in one of the shrubs and he immediately called for help from his parents who totally ignored him. Concern soon disappeared as in the warm sunshine he dried himself. Anyway, all ended OK as the young Starling was reunited with a parent high up in the cherry tree, safe for the time being. Danger lurks above the garden, the neighbourhood watch consisting of Crows, Herring Gulls and a flock of Goldfinches went into full raptor alert as a Sparrowhawk hunted high above the gardens.

Starlings are not ducks.....

....but great entertainers.

They finally worked out how to use the pond.
These guys need to be careful otherwise they could be a Sparrowhawk snack

Raptor alert

'Our' Robins are busy raising a second brood and they are very confiding and come very close. Several times a day I have to feed them copious amounts of mealworms and suet pellets, the young Starlings soon latch on to the routine and are ready and waiting to pounce. It is a constant battle to find locations to place feed that will remain long enough for the Robins to get their share. However, the Robins still have an advantage in that they now recognise the sound of the lid coming off the food container. Not thick are they? The first brood is still hanging about, the male sends them packing but the female just ignores them.

Another brood has arrived at the feeders

Monday 25 June 2012

Old Lodge (again!!)

I had it in my mind that the Redstarts that I had photographed a couple of months ago lacked a decent shot of a female so I made an early visit to Old Lodge. It was a perfect morning, blue sky, sunny and only a light breeze.  I hadn't rigged the camera as I intended to go straight to the location where I know the Redstarts nest.  About 100 yards in from the gate I was aware of some movement in the gorse - two Fallow Deer and they hadn't heard, seen or smelled me (not that I am aware that I smell strongly). I stood still for a moment and slowly rigged the tripod and camera, being up sun and wind was ideal and they grazed contentedly for some time. I eventually gave the game away because I wanted to find the Redstarts, even so, they slowly walked off, looking at me occasionally just to make sure I was leaving. 

Fallow deer

Fallow deer

Fallow deer

The Redstarts performed admirably. I found the male first and he finally came into about 25 ft to pose, the female wasn't so obliging and I left them in search of more subjects. Unfortunately I couldn't find another pair so I contented myself observing the antics of the Spotted Flycatchers.

Common Redstart (f)

Common Redstart (m)

Spotted Flycatcher

Common Redstart (f)

Common Redstart (f)

Common Redstart (f) and (juv)

Common Redstart (juv)

Common Redstart (m)

Common Redstart (m)

Common Redstart (juv)

When I returned to the Redstarts the female was in company with two juveniles, both of which were feeding themselves. A real bonus then appeared, a pair of Bullfinches fairly close, unfortunately the female was always obscured but the male posed nicely.

Bullfinch (m)

Bullfinch (f)

And of course the usual suspects

Usual suspect No.1 - Stonechat

Usual suspect No.2 - Bunny

Usual suspect No.3 - Woodlark - not bad camouflage!

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Aerial Grace

I find the aerial grace of  Common Terns fascinating, one minute their nuptials are comparable with warlike behaviour, the next minute a fish pass is done with consummate beauty. I took these at Rye Harbour, not the best quality but they do, I believe, capture the moment.

Tuesday 19 June 2012

More Rye Birds

Just a few more shots from Rye Harbour

Black-headed Gull with young


More love


Little Tern

Little Tern

Little Tern

Mediterranean Gull
Sandwich Terns have sand eels - Oystercatchers have - Cockles??

Shift change over on the nest

Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Tern

Sandwich Terns

I know where I stand on this debate

This system generates electricity 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year

This one doesn't

Rye Harbour Avocets

A great day out at Rye Harbour where a pair of Avocets and three young were giving great views. Totally unfazed by the passing birders, dog walkers and joggers the birds were very relaxed until any feathered intruder approached. Even a Ringed Plover was given short shrift and sent packing by a very protective parent.