Sunday, 20 April 2008

Foggy Bay

This morning was exceptionally foggy and although there were birds about it wasn't all that easy to find them.
Along the Lees I could hear a Whitethroat singing, but couldn't find the Ring Ouzel that has been seen earlier. It is often said that the songs of Blackcaps and Garden Warblers are difficult to tell apart. I think that in general they have very different tones and structures and with practice are normally quite easy. Sometimes, however, the Blackcap quietly sings a sub-song that lacks the clarion quality of the full song and is much more suggestive of the Garden Warbler than normal. If you add to this that the later into the season you get the more leaves you have to peer through care must be taken. This Blackcap was loathe to show itself properly, but there were enough gaps in the hawthorn to make out the black cap and of course it is still very early for a Garden Warbler to arrive.
I've mentioned that Buzzards seem to be making a bit of a comeback in the county and although I've shown them feeding on the ground, probably catching worms and invertebrates, the majority of their food is small mammals and Rabbits are an important part of this. Rabbits seem to be more numerous now than for a few years and this, as well as the withdrawal of organic-phosphorus pesticides, such as DDT and the greater protection of birds of prey, is probably a factor in their success.

Starlings are busy collecting nesting material and should soon be mainly glossy black instead of the spotty individuals many still are. If you want to know which are the males and which are the females, look at the base of their beaks. In the male it is blue(ish) and in the female pale pink(ish). I suspect that they can work it out with out this clue!

This evening I noticed a couple of carrion Crows cleaning up and edible bits and pieces left by the days visitors, and not so far found by the gulls. Much of the clearing up is done by some very public spirited villagers who give their time to keeping the bay tidy. I wonder why people find it acceptable to leave rubbish? While I'm in moaning mode, why is it that when you're quietly walking along, enjoying the quiet beauty of the area the mood is often broken by the manic shouting of someone else. It wont be the teenagers that so often get the blame, or even younger children, no the odds are it will someone walking their dog. I can't understand what enjoyment people get out of walking a dog in beautiful quiet places and then shouting at it all the time. If it wont do what it's told quietly for goodness sake put it on a lead!

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