23 June 2011

Red Fox kill

The local Red Foxes have successfully raised two cubs which have been visible most evenings over the last week or so, playing at the back of a neighbours garden, while an adult stands guard sitting on a shed roof! The cubs are now well grown and this evening one of them made its first kill, a Wood Pigeon. It decided to bring its prize into our back garden where it proceeded to get stuck in, at one point even burying part of it in our flower bed (nice)!

In keeping with tradition, I decided to shoot this video 'Cream Tea Birder style', you know, with the trademark camera shake and the animal rarely, if ever, looking at the camera!

22 June 2011

New Forest: 19th - 21st June

The aim of this trip was to search for Honey Buzzard and as many heathland specialities as we could find over three days. But once again our plans were scuppered by bad weather (this time persistent heavy rain being the culprit) as well as the impeccable timing of a flu virus that decided to wipe me out for the duration of the trip, so we were far from successful.

Things couldn't have got off to a slower start when an evening walk around the heathland at Beaulieu Road on the 19th produced just a single Curlew, 2 Stonechat and a Reed Bunting! These weren't the highlights, this was about all that we saw! The 20th was our only full day and we had planned to spend several hours looking for Honey Buzzard, but being very overcast and with heavy rain predicted we decided to try for some of the specialities at Boulderwood instead. Fortunately the rain held off long enough for us to find several Firecrest (although only one was actually seen), 2 Wood Warbler, 2 Common Redstart (a female and a nice spotted juvenile), a lone Common Crossbill singing, several Siskin, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Grey Wagtail and a Roe Deer, but unfortunately photo opportunities amounted to nil.

Our final day dawned overcast and windy but at least it had stopped raining. I felt so rough by this point that we decided to spend the few hours we had left before we had to head home walking along the River Beaulieu from our hotel at Bucklers Hard to Beaulieu village. Birds were noticable by there absence (1 Redshank and 1 Little Egret being about it), but the wildflower meadows along this route were full of Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii (photo 1), Bitter Vetch Lathyrus linifolius (photo 2), Bird’s-foot-trefoil Lotus corniculatus (photo 3) and Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis (photo 4).

9 June 2011

Subbuteo not playing ball

Haven't had a chance to get out birding of late, so a Hobby hunting insects over the garden at dusk this evening was much appreciated, even if it did fly off every time I pointed the camera at it! A few years back a pair nested in a large tree viewable from my house, so maybe this bird is nesting nearby and I'll get another chance at a shot? The only other bird of note seen in the last week or so has been a Red Kite heading east over the A283 near Sullington in West Sussex on 4th June.