Saturday, 23 June 2018

Breakfast is served

A female Kestrel take to the air excitedly as she see her mate flying back into their territory with prey in the early morning sunshine.

The male heads for their well used hand-over point and lands with pinpoint accuracy.

The female is their in a flash to take the prey from the male mouth to mouth and move away in less than a second.

She removes some of the thicker hair from the back of a luckless female vole to make digesting it a bit easier for her three week old chicks.

That done she lifts the prey in her beak to keep her legs free for landing and checks that her chicks are visually responding at her tight nest site entrance.

There is something really special about taking classic 'Kestrel with Prey' shots in the early morning light around the Cornish coastline and watching them prepare it for their family before:

                                                                     Breakfast is Served  !!

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Great Spotted Woodpecker - Juvenile feeding behaviour

I found watching Great Spotted Woodpecker feeding their young quite fascinating for as they return to feed them the adult birds go straight on the defensive to outwit the sharp forward jabbing beak of the inexperienced juveniles

In the shot above the male flies in towards a perched Juvenile from a higher level and you might think as I did that this looks like an idea head to head location for feeding !

Not so !  On landing he immediately starts to lower his posture looking to place the sawn-off tree stump between them.

The juvenile gets impatient but lowers itself as well.

But when it tries to lunge again to grab the food it finds the stump in the way and the adult is still in control of the food..

The youngster tries a quick sideways move to come around the stump.

But the adult is quicker and moves down and then around the stump.

 When the juvenile catches up on his side of the stump the adult is already reaching out to safely deliver the food.

So the juvenile has had his first lesson in manners and been feed.  The male woodpecker now flies off to collect more food while the juvenile waits a little more patiently in the same location.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Stithians yesterday

A fine family of Great Spotted Woodpecker captured most of our attention at Stithians southern cut-off hide yesterday but there was a very healthy show from many other species that were all out busy feeding their young.

The portfolio of portraits below show just a portion of the subjects worked on during a five hour visit.

But for me the star of the show were the family of woodpecker which demanded your complete attention every time that they showed and in my next blog I want to show I little more of adults feeding behaviour so I will probably be heading back there again today.

Peregrine prey hand-over

A noisy female Peregrine homes in on a male Peregrine that has just returned to his home cliffs from a hunt with a live juvenile Jackdaw in his talons.

The female immediately locks her talons onto the prey and a bit of a tug of war develops over its possession

The male probably wants his share of the prise but she has other ideas and a family to feed.

The male gives in and releases his grip to the thirty percent larger female as she adjusts her position to fly.

She now takes off with the luckless young jackdaw and flies it to her well used pluming site.

She kill the prey with a bite to the back of the neck and sets about plucking its feathers that will join the mass of plucked feather that can be seen present at this location before flying it on to her waiting hungry family,

Fledgling Great Spotted Woodpecker

Peter Tonkin and I went back to Stithians southern cut-off hide this morning looking for shows of juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker and we were not to be disappointed.

The first thing that I saw on entering the hide was a lone juvenile right in front of the hide and by lunchtime we had taken hundreds of images of both the male and female adult birds visiting regularly while feeding three individual Juveniles on different occasions.

The male was particularly busy and it was interesting to note the manner in which he always kept an obstruction between himself and the youngster to enable him to control the reach of its sharp jabbing beak so as to avoid any personal accidental damage.

As soon as the juvenile obtained a position without an obstacle between them the male would fly off and start the procedure all over again in another location.

The adult male moves to a different area and insists that the juvenile flies to his location before passing over more food from behind his defences !

The Juvenile makes one more gesture to be fed again before they both leave and it gets its final reward !!

A very rewarding visit to Stithians today with many other subjects recorded which will be included  in another blog tomorrow,   HAPPY DAYS !!

Saturday, 16 June 2018

Female Kestrel Behaviour

The light levels were poor under grey cloudy skies this morning but I had planned to follow a little more Kestrel behaviour and so decided to try to make the best of it.

I arrived at the same time as the male Kestrel with prey but was not set up to record the action and I thought that it might be a while until the next hand-over and that proved to be the case.

But the feeding behaviour proved to be far better than I expected when as soon as the female Kestrel had finished feeding the males prey to their chicks she went off hunting herself.

She returned to her hand-over point with a large vole but could see that her chicks were all sleeping in a huddle so she flew the prey to a favoured high level stash point and hid it for later feedings.

The weather and light levels began to improve as the morning progressed and the female went off hunting again this time she returned with a small vole which she flew on into her nest

The skies were turning blue, The sun was warming things up and the wind was dropping all of which tends to make for more productive hunting for the Kestrels and it was not long before the female had another large vole that she flew in to feed up all of her chicks.

With bright sunshine by lunchtime it was feeling a bit more like summer and light levels allowed for faster shutter speeds and lower ISO control and sharper images.

During the next hour the female added another small vole and a half-tailed Common Lizard to her stash as the chicks were all full up and sleeping again,


These stashes will not go to waste as if the chicks don't eat them during the rest of the day she will be in need of a good meal herself with all the effort that she in putting into raising her family.
                                                                  WHAT AN AMAZING BIRD !!