Next Stop Africa

There hasn’t seemed to be as many Swallows around this year near me so it was great to see plenty on a recent weekend visit to North Yorkshire.

The cottage where we were staying had a regular stream zipping overhead and hoovering up insects above the paddock opposite. After spending an hour failing to get any decent flight shots I decided to concentrate on the young being fed on the rooftop. The juveniles would fly with their parents for a period and then a number would decide to perch and wait to be fed.


Every time a parent flew in the whole row of young would start to screech mouths wide open awaiting a tasty insect treat. There was an almost tangible feeling of disappointment when they realised it wasn’t their parent or that the parent was going to feed a sibling. Open mouths turned to grumpy pouts as the insects disappeared into another waiting mouth.


In and out the parents would come until the juveniles were full or ready to try again chasing down their own food and off they would go performing acrobatics inches above the ground. It won’t be long now until they set off for the winter on the long haul to Africa. When they return we know summer isn’t far off, even if it is another British summer.


Weedy Grebe

When I spotted this Little Grebe on a recent visit to the RSPB reserve at Old Moor I didn’t really think I’d get more than a distant shot due to the heavy weedy vegetation in the channel. But as I sat and watched the grebe came closer and closer before submerging below the weed. It popped back in to view and I shot a few pictures thinking it would soon find an easier place to feed.


The grebe continued to disappear from view but each time it resurfaced it  edged nearer and nearer allowing me to get some decent pictures.


Some Odd Behaviour – Any Thoughts?

I visited Old Moor the RSPB reserve near Barnsley this weekend. On what was a quiet day I came across a family of willow warblers hidden away in the bushes with the parents struggling to keep up with feeding their greedy brood. I struggled to get shots as they were deep in the undergrowth but after awhile they popped out in the open. One youngster sat with a parent who then flew off to get more snacks and the youngster suddenley stretched out and then lowered itself onto the bramble and seemed to play dead. It remained motionless for a couple of minutes before popping up and then fluttered off into the bush. I looked around for predators but saw none and whilst this one played dead its siblings were hopping around in the background. Has anyone noticed this before or have any explanation for this odd behaviour? I’d love to hear your thoughts? The photo’s below show what happened.