Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Blowing in the wind

For someone, like me, who grew up birding in a virtually raptor free Kent it is difficult to get used to how common several of our birds of prey have become.

I had a look at the downs near Lydden today, almost a spur of the moment thing as I had been to River and decided to go for a wander. It wasn't long before I heard the "mew" of a Buzzard overhead.

I can't remember seeing one with a tail in worse condition than this one. All the feathers on the right side look thoroughly worn out.

The flight feather look in quite good condition and I wondered if it had spent a lot of time sitting somewhere rubbing the end of it's tail.

It wasn't long before it's circling, presumably declaring that it was the owner of this piece of real estate, attracted the attention of a local corvid.

I have to admit that while I was peering down the view finder I had assumed that it was a Carrion Crown up there harrying the Buzzard.

Looking at the pictures it does appear to be a Rook. It doesn't really matter and it certainly didn't matter to the Buzzard as it took not notice at all of it's irate neighbour.

What had made me stop at this site was a carpet of Cow Slips. It really is one of the ultimate symbols of spring.
I of course didn't really have the right gear with me for photographing flowers, a 100-400mm lens that won't focus closer than around 6 ft isn't ideal. Never-the-less I did manage some pictures of this beautiful scene.

At the top of the slope were a number of Orchids. Now my botanical skills are not good, but I think that these are Early Purple Orchids. I was looking for Green-winged, but I couldn't find any here (I know they were here last year), and it might be that I'm a bit early. The spotted leaves on this plant was one pointer for Early Purple.

The wind was blowing a bit, so in the circumstance razor sharp close-ups were out of the question, I had to make do with them blowing in the wind. All the time I was there a Lesser Whitethroat sang from a group of buses at the top of the slope.

The Badgers have attracted some comments and seem to be a favourite of some people, so I thought I'd include a few pictures I took this evening.

I was a bit late putting the nuts out, this evening, I was too engrossed in the European Cup (not the up to date name I know), trying not to think about the grin on Derek's (man of Sheppey) face. I'd only just put them out when Pam said she'd seen one running across the back lawn. We switched the outside light on and it had already arrived at it's supper bar.

It was immediately evident that this was a different Badger from the small female of last night. Altogether stouter and with a very white "shawl" I though that I recognised him (I think this one is a him) from a few days ago, but needed a back view to be certain. One again I managed to sit there with the window wide open and the Badger just a couple of feet away at times. I don't know what he'd been digging up, lets hope it's not Pam's plants, but it had certainly acquired an extremely dirty snout.

When it turned round the wound on it bum confirmed that this one had indeed visited several time I the last couple of weeks. Bitten bums does seem a common injury, and when they fight it is easy to see why, as they always seem to aim their bites at then adversaries back quarters.


Derek Faulkner said...

You are so lucky with your badgers, hopefully you remain in a cull free area.
I would swap last night's win for a win against Arsenal and Chelsea, it means much more to me.

Tony Morris said...

Hi Derek, looking at the roads around Kent the motor car does a fair bit of culling already, I've seen at least three dead badgers locally in the last few weeks.