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.

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Near Misses

One thing is guaranteed when you take photo’s of wildlife, you’ll get lots of near misses. Photo’s taken just too late or too soon, lots that are out of focus and lots of shots of empty branches. Reviewing your photo’s when you get home can be extremely rewarding or completely heartbreaking. I use it to spur me on to get a better shot next time.

 Here’s a few near misses from the weekend but don’t worry I’ll be going back again very soon!

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Just Get Out There

Last Tuesday I couldn’t really motivate myself after work to go out. I had around 1000 images from my trip to the Farne Islands to review and Springwatch was on. Then the sun put in an appearance so I jumped in the car and went down to see if the kingfishers were around.

For some reason I decided to sit up above the river rather than in my normal spot down on the bank to try and get a different viewpoint. After about half an hour with only a couple of grey wagtails flitting about something moved in my peripheral vision. When I latched on to it it was disappearing into the undergrowth on the far bank. It didn’t look like a duck and I could see it moving towards my viewpoint by the movement of the vegetation. I’d decided it was probably a mink and concentrated on the spot I thought it would emerge. Sure enough it appeared but it wasn’t a mink it was an otter, the first I’d ever seen in the wild. It skipped from cover and as I began to take pictures I think it sensed it was being watched. It stopped, stared directly at me and then gracefully entered the river and vanished upstream in a curtain of silvery bubbles.

Magical.

I’m so glad I decided to go out!

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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.

And You Thought Your Kids Were A Pain to Feed!

I seem to be coming across herons whenever I go out at the moment, and Sunday was no exception. A visit to Attenborough Nature Reserve near Nottingham gave me a great  opportunity to see them feeding their chicks.

Another visitor pointed me to the best viewing point and when we arrived one bird was stood on the nest with two raucous chicks fighting for attention.

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We didn’t have to wait long for the other parent to arrive and the two adults greeted each other with head bobbing and wings outstretched.

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The larger bird then flew off presumably to continue the supply of food for their growing youngsters.

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The remaining bird then took the full assault of two hungry chicks desperate to get food from their parent. They roughly grabbed the parents beak and although I didn’t see any food being passed they apparently regurgitate food for them. It was very aggressive and I couldn’t help thinking that sometimes it’s easier to grab a takeaway rather than preparing food for the kids!!

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