Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Wildlife at work over the last four days

Not a lot to photograph at work over the last four days. Quite frustrating really, as on Sunday I saw my first Brimstone butterfly of the year, and watched over 30 House Martins fly over the yard during the course of the day, all heading towards the reservoirs. Frustrating because every time I was out in the yard with my camera, not one flew over, yet every time I sat down at my desk indoors, they all started flying over again !!!
What was even more frustrating was that yesterday (Tuesday) I was quite busy so couldn't get out in the yard much. Saw my first Swallow go over, and then saw sitting on the fence next to the bird feeders, a Robin sized bird but with a very pale chest. It flicked its tail up like a Robin too. I reached for my camera to hopefully grab a few pics through the window, but by the time I'd focused, the bird had flown. The only bird I could think of that fitted that description was a female Common Redstart. I checked with one of my birdy friends, who confirmed I was probably right. I saw the bird twice more after that, and both times I was on the phone to a customer and couldn't leave the yard. The last time I sighted the little lovely, it was on a tree on the other side of the yard. Despite walking around there several times, I never did relocate it. So no photos and no positive identification.
I saw the resident male Kestrel several times flying over the yard and heading for the paddocks, but again, I was caught in the office and couldn't leave to see if he was cacheing any prey again, or hunting in the fields beyond. I've still yet to see a female Kestrel, so either this male is on his own, or his mate is already on eggs and he's doing all the hunting.
There's lots of Woodpig and Collared Dove activity around the yard. In the paddocks most mornings I was counting Woodpigs in double figures. The puddles in the yard are very popular with all the birds for drinking and bathing. Collared Doves are favouring the fir trees behind my office for calling to each other. Blue and Great Tits are chasing each other around the feeders. Chaffinches are even more active and can be seen at the top of the firs singing away. The Robins have definitely paired up and are still diving into the low bushes by the feeders. Blackbirds, both male and female, are abundant in the paddocks.
At the bottom of the paddocks, the milder weather has seen one of the foxes out in the open quite a bit. I've seen him/her most days on the top of the den. He/she is very nervous though, so seeing it and grabbing a photo before it scarpers, is quite difficult, no matter how stealthily I move. I'm seriously considering taking my portable hide down to work when I next have a 'stand by' shift. My 'stand by' shifts mean I have to stay close to work and be able to get there if needed, but the phones will be diverted to my mobile and I can basically do as I please. So its feasible that I could spend quite a few hours in my hide watching the fox, and hopefully seeing if any cubs are around yet. Watch this space.
The most active birds I've watched over the last few days are the Pied Wagtails. I've watched a pair bickering and displaying in the yard several times, sadly again no photos due to being on the phone. They are also repeatedly singing from the unit next to my office, and flying across the yard to the same unit. Obviously the paddocks are like a giant restaurant to the Waggys, and I'm always seeing them down there. Last year, there were a pair that nested in the trees behind my office, but this year I get the feeling they've found somewhere else to nest, maybe a crevice or something similar in one of the other office roofs. Time will tell.
Ever get the feeling you are being watched ?
Watching the Woodpigs in the paddocks
male Pied Wagtail
Woodpig drinking from yard puddle
The four horses, Nelson, Katie, Stevie and Star, are all out of their winter jackets now. I'm still getting great pleasure from going to see them, which to me is quite amazing considering six months ago, I was scared of horses. Nelson will soon move to 'race camp'. He's in for training. Katie will also soon move for the summer, she's going to meet her future partner, and hopefully fall pregnant. So will their paddock stay empty ??? Nope ! I don't want to say any more in case I jinx it, but put it this way, if what is being said comes true, its going to be very hard for me to stay put in the office !!!

Nelson and Katie
Stevie and Star

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