Thursday, 28 August 2014

Kind birds and unkind weather at Cranford Park

I had an unexpected day off work today so after firing off some e-mails and making some calls, I found myself at Cranford Park mid morning.
The weather was a little unpredictable to say the least. I just missed one rain shower, then it became very overcast and almost cold.
The Hobbys weren't as disappointing as the weather though, and I'm sorry if anyone is bored reading about them, but they are special birds and we are so lucky to have them breeding at Cranford Park.
The juvenile Hobbys were much more on the wing today, after the weekend where they spent most of their time sitting high in a tree calling for food. One juvenile landed just above my head where I was sitting at the log circle enjoying a coffee. I managed a few shots but have had to heavily lighten them.


I don't think the juveniles are catching food for themselves yet. Every time I saw an adult it was either doing a food pass with a juvenile or was feeding a juvenile on a branch. You can tell the adults are trying to encourage the youngsters to fly more. One would pass close to a juvenile calling, the juvenile would then be fast on the adults tail and calling back. After failing to get any food pass photos at the weekend due to the tree canopy, today I was lucky to witness and photograph several, BUT the weather really done me no favours. Every photo is in silhouette and no matter what exposure I used, I could not get a clear shot.
So let me talk you through what I did get.....
the adult is on the right....
You can just see the remains of the food pass in the talons of the juvenile on the left.
In another sequence, both of the juvenile were chasing an adult...
Below, one of the adults is bringing food to a juvenile sitting on a branch. Again, I could not get a clear shot on such an overcast day....
While the adult (on the left) feeds the juvenile (on the right), the other juvenile swoops down from above......
After watching our summer visitors for well over two hours I went for a wander and bumped into Sue and Jasper the bird-dog.
Last Sunday seemed to be a day for Hawkers (a variety of dragonfly), but today was the day of the Darters. Sue and I came across a large puddle where several Ruddy Darters were flying around and mating. Funnily enough when we went back to the puddle a couple of hours later, they had all dispersed.

We also saw another visitor to the park, and one that is becoming quite regular now, a Red Kite.
For a few hours the sun shone and the sky was almost blue. It was as if someone had turned the heating on !
We found a small Toad crossing one of the grassy paths.
And of course my favourite birds, the Kestrels, were hunting over the long grasses. We could only locate two today and at least one of them was one of this years youngsters.
Sue left before I did, and I had just got myself settled back at the log circle when the heavens opened and I had to run for cover. It certainly was not a predictable August day today.
But here is something very predictable, a photo of Jasper the bird-dog.

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