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Archive for March, 2011

No photos

Sorry no photos since the amazing barn owl.  Nice bit of news is that today I have had two siskins on my feeders.  A first for this year.


Barn Owl, Red Kite, Buzzard

Yesterday, me and Sparky went for a walk on what I call the Red Kite walk, because we always see Red Kites and I wanted to try and get that elusive pin sharp photo.  So we set off, me with all my camera gear on my back and Sparky footloose and fancy free!! We saw plenty of kites and on the way back noticed some people in a field with cameras, most with telephoto lenses!  Hm! Bit of a give-away. So with Sparky nice and warm on his blanket in the car, I made my way over, meeting two nice ladies who informed me that a barn owl had been quartering the field regularly.  Low and behold, there he was.  Actually, I don’t know if it was a he or a her!  But what a beauty!  I was well pleased, well pleased doesn’t really cover it – I was over the moon.  I have always wanted to see a barn owl at close quarters.  He didn’t seem to be bothered by 6 of us watching and  went about hunting with amazing ease. It was just perfect grassy tufts/scrub that mice and voles live in.  Needless to say, I took a load of photos and didn’t even realise that I’d managed to snap him actually devouring a mouse.  The pictures are below – click for larger view.

First after the owl catches its prey it mantles it.  Covers it with its wings.

Then it pops it in the mouth and swallows it whole.

Hmmmmm!  That was goooood!!!

I was sooooo chuffed!!!!

Nature is A-MAZ-ING

Isn’t nature just utterly brilliant.  I am at this very moment sat in my garden watching  four beautiful long tail tits feeding on the food I put out for them.  It’s fantastic that I can do something to encourage the birds to visit my garden, giving them something in return for the honour of just being able to sit and admire them.

Earlier this morning I took Sparky for a walk in the park.  It is a beautiful sunny “nearly spring” day, with crocus and snowdrops out, the trees with their super soft downy buds and the daffodils poking well up through the grass.

I sat on a felled tree trunk and wondered at the life that is all around us.  The birds of the air, the rabbits and moles of the earth, the squirrels of the trees, the lichen and moss that can grow on rocks, the insects that break down all that is dead rejuvenating the earth in its cyclic rhythms.  The trees that give us breath.  And us?  What about us?  Billions of cells of life, cells that make up organs, cells that make our skin, cells that construct our bones and brain and all that is human.

We too are part of nature and we meddle at our peril.


Status of birds of prey in the U.K.

Birds of prey

Former status Current status
Eradicated from eastern parts of Britain Increasing in numbers and range

Golden eagle

Eradicated from all of UK except Scotland Population stable, but still absent from much of former range


Eradicated from UK Accidentally reintroduced, now spreading but still persecuted

Hen harrier

Eradicated from almost all of Britain Declining, nesting in Scotland, Wales, NI and a few in England

Honey buzzard

Completely eradicated? Probably stable in small pockets of Britain


Widespread in SE England Doing well, increasing and spreading


Reasonably widespread Moderately declining, reasons unknown

Marsh harrier

Eradicated Increasing from virtually no birds in 1971


Reasonably widespread in upland Britain Status uncertain, possibly declining

Montagu’s harrier

Always restricted in range in Britain Always scarce


Completely eradicated Increasing and spreading but still not recovered


Wiped out from much of Britain Increasing and spreading, now found in most parts of Britain

Red kite

Eradicated from England, Scotland and NI Recovering in all parts of UK, some areas more than others


Population reduced through persecution Recently recovered but now decreasing once more

White-tailed eagle

Completely eradicated Reintroduced to Scotland where it is recovering, still absent from England and Wales