Thursday, 14 July 2011

Beautiful Baby show,

Once I'd had my fill of watching the British Open at Sandwich, I decided to have a look at Bushy Ruff, in the hope of finding a Grey Wagtail family or some dragonflies. The weather wasn't conducive to the latter and I failed to find any Wagtails.

I was quite surprised to find this family of very small ducklings amongst many almost adult sized young from this year.

Even if they are just a family of park ducks they do make an attractive sight, duckling are one of the prettiest of youngsters.

The same can't be said of young Moorhens, they really wouldn't win any baby contests. I watch a family of very recently hatched Moorhens in the stream at Russell Gardens. There were five chicks and once they'd be led on to the grassy bank they quickly go spread out. One followed mum and these two returned to the water where the youngster benefited from being a temporary only child by being fed a regular intervals with out having to share. Unfortunately for this bird, when the adult returned to the bank it got stuck in a thick clump of grass. The mother returned when the chick started calling loudly and it soon disentangled itself. It still got left behind ans mum retraced her steps to where the other chicks were scattered in the grass.

Once in the water the "neglected" chicks quickly made contact and followed her as fast as their paddling would allow.

As soon as a morsel was picked from the surface a beak presented itself and a begging call made it clear the chick was hungry. By now the fifth chick had caught up and the family were all together in a tight group.

At this point they were led to a small island in the stream (cue Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton). I didn't seem a clever move and after a few minutes two of the chicks were still struggling to climb up the slope. I expect they managed to make contact in the end, but she seemed to be making life difficult for them.

On my return as I came into St Margaret's a saw the Little Owl , that often sits out along Westliffe Road, sitting on a telegraph poll. I turned round in the village and went back and parked by the church, having passed the Owl still on it's perch. When I slowly walked down the road I saw no sign of the Owl, I presumed it had dropped off the poll when hunting. I turned round and walked back to the car. As I approached I saw something sitting on the roof, it wasn't the Owl but two young Kestrels. They were quite noisy and looked as if they weren't long fledged.

One of them shuffled about a bit and in the end decided to have a flap and s short flight. It managed this OK but it was yet particularly skilled at landing.
I think that it had intended to land on the ridge of the rook, but after a somewhat clumsy descent if ended up below the top, clinging to the roof.

It soon readjusted and took itself to a far better lookout position. From here it would have been able to see the telegraph polls that I'd been looking at earlier. If had looked it would have seen the Owl back on top of the telegraph pole.

It was there OK, but it refused to stay there for me to take a decent photo. Both the Little Owl and the Kestrels will probably be largely feeding on invertebrates, such as beetles and earthworms at the moment and I would guess they will be in direct competition for food. I don't know if there is ever any interaction between these two species.

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