Saturday, 25 October 2008

Predator Prey, 25th October 2008

As I walked along the track towards my feeding station on Rawcliffe Moss I thought the Tree Sparrows were a little reluctant to leave the hedge. Normally I walk to the end of the hedge and the Tree Sparrows fly around me and back to the hedge and this gives me the opportunity to count them. Today though they were sticking very tight to the hedge. It was a bit windy and this can make them stick close to the hedge, but there was something else. Then a little brown head popped up and a Weasel was up on it's hind legs watching me in the curious way that they do. Ah, I thought that's why they were behaving peculiarly. Then there was a flash of slate-grey past my left side and an adult male Sparrowhawk whipped down the track and turned sharply round the edge of the hedge better than an F1 car around La'Source hairpin at Monaco. It then flipped over the top of the hedge causing pandemonium amongst the Tree Sparrows and shot only feet above my head and across the field towards Curlew Wood. That's why the Tree Sparrows were twitchy!

I put some food out and left the birds in peace and went for a short walk round. There were approximately 112 Tree Sparrows at the feeding station. I have included some pictures below of the seed and the feeding station.

This is what the Tree Sparrows are after

The feeding station

There were a few thrushes around, nothing like the numbers last weekend but I had 55 Redwing, 2 Mistle Thushes and 10 Fieldfares. A few Chaffinch were going over and heading south into the strong southerly wind as were a few Starling and a few was 13 and 14 of each respectively.

Pink-feet were moving around this morning and I had 561 in total moving from field to field trying to find a suitable and disturbance free feeding area.
'Pinkies' in flight (honestly they are!)

Similarly two flocks of 30 lapwings were moving to try and find a good feeding site. Raptors were represented by 3 Buzzards and a single Kestrel. Interestingly during the recent Honey Buzzard influx some local observers were commenting that the corvids were mobbing the Honey's and leaving the local Buzzards alone. They never do on Rawcliffe Moss and it is very rare to watch a Buzzard for any length time before it gets mobbed by corvids.

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