Wild Black rabbits

I first spotted a black rabbit before the photography bug bit and just assumed it was an escaped pet. However I’ve been noticing them more and more recently and managed a few distant shots of one near work a couple of weeks ago.

And then I spotted one under the feeders in the car park and managed to get some better pictures. I’ve heard a few reasons why there are wild black rabbits which range from the escaped pet through defective genes to natures way of controlling the population. The black rabbit stands out more and so is an easier target for predators!

I’m not sure what the reason is but they are very distinctive and very welcome.

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House Building Yorkshire Style

We recently had family staying with us over from America and so we had to take them to the Dales to see the glory of Yorkshire. I wasn’t expecting to have much time for taking pictures other than family portraits and poses. However I knew the Peregrines were back nesting on the Cove so I packed all the lenses, you never know!!

Unfortunately the falcons weren’t playing but there were plenty of House Martins bombing around which I can watch for hours. After awhile I noticed they kept disappearing behind a rock in the river at the foot of the cove. I thought they were probably drinking so went for a closer look.

There were a regular 15 to 20 birds at a time and they were collecting mud to build there nests. The nest is a neat  cup fixed below one of the many ledges on the Coves face.  The nest has  a narrow opening at the top. Both sexes will help build the nest with beaks full of mud and will then line it with grasses, hair or other soft materials. The mud is added in successive layers and this is what they were busy scooping up.

It’s amazing to think that these little guys fly all the way from Africa to build a nest on the cliffs of Malham to raise their young! They are around 13cm long and weigh about 18 grams and fly all the way from the Sahara to spend the summer in Yorkshire! Can’t blame them really.

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Not Quite What You Expect When You Top Up the Feeders

I regularly visit my local nature reserve at Cromwell Bottom and always take along a bag of seeds for the birds and a bag of peanuts for the Jays.

 The feeding area has lots of logs with holes drilled to pop the feed in as well as hung up feeders and bird tables. I spread the seed around, filled the log with peanuts and sat back to see who might visit.

 I wasn’t quite expecting this female Mallard to drop in and start devouring everything. As she wasn’t designed to cling to logs she regularly slipped off but always returned for more.

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What A Cracking Week Part 2

The day after seeing the Little Owls again, I spotted the local Kestrel and decided to follow her and see if I could get a couple of pictures. I knew where they had nested and raised chicks last year from chatting with a local resident and I was surprised to see a Kestrel nesting box had been attached to the barn where they had nested. Apparently the owners had filled in the hole used last year but had fitted the nest box in hope they would return.

 As I walked down the lane I spotted the female landing on the wall opposite me so I raised my camera. I managed one sighting shot before the male arrived, so apologies for the quality!

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There was no courtship, no pleasantries just mating.

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And not even a cuddle when he’d finished!!!! Typical bloke.

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Hopefully she will now go on to lay some eggs. I’ve seen the male in the nest box since so fingers crossed. An amazing moment and one of those occasions of being in the right place at the right time. I will be keeping a close eye on this pair and hopefully I’ll get to see their young when they fledge.