Sunday, 21 September 2008

Straw Dogs Fight

When the crops are cut, leaving the stubble fields, there are often an increased number of birds of prey, obviously mainly Sparrowhawks and Kestrels, because of the food that is more easily found.

There was some sort of drama being played out around some of the straw bales today. Gerald alerted me to a pair of Jays that were "showing off" on top of one of the bales down by "Orchid bottom", as I had told him that I was collecting pictures of birds on bales. These Jays didn't have an easy time for long and quickly dashed for some cover in the nearby trees.

The reason was that they had attracted the attention of one of the Sparrowhawks that was patrolling the field and it was soon dashing around the bales causing panic.

One of the Jays flew directly over my head, and was followed by a second one, as it headed for the empty wood.
I was surprised when the Sparrowhawk continued the chase and it became apparent that there were two more Jays in the trees.

The Sparrowhawk has a rest in the trees after one bout of chasing and when it took off it became obvious that the action had transferred to the other side of the hedge.

When I moved up the slope and got a view of the nearest bales a couple of Jays came out of the bushes and paraded on the top top, one of them squawking loudly. They didn't seem worried about the Sparrowhawk, or they wouldn't have been right out in the open.

No sooner had they flown back into the trees than a Kestrel, probable one of the youngsters from the local family, had taken their place on top of the straw.
It didn't have an easy time and it was quickly mobbed by one of the Sparrowhawks that had been Jay baiting earlier.

The Sparrowhawk dived bombed the Kestrel and they were quite well matched in size. I presume that the Sparrowhawk was a male as the female that had been around looked considerably larger than a Kestrel.

The Sparrowhawk dashed round the bale while the Kestrel sat on top and watched the proceedings.
Eventually it flew off towards the Freedown, not long after the second two Jays had made a dash for the cover in that direction.

At the end the Kestrel was left sitting calmly on the bale and although I waited a few minutes nothing else returned to continue the action.
The best bird of the day was an Osprey that drifted over and disappeared towards Deal at about 10.15. A full list of the Bockhill birds today can be found on Bockhill page on the KOS WEB site. The KOS site is worth a look anyway as it has been completely revamped and is an even more useful resource for Kent Birding.

1 comment:

Deslilas said...

That's birds life !
Fine movie.