Saturday, 14 July 2018

Peregrine aerial prey hand-over

The aerial Prey hand-over images above are of a female adult Peregrine testing the flight skill of this years eight week old fledgling with amazing acrobatic and noisy displays before finally handing over a partially consumed kill to the excited youngster that is on a steep learning curve to become self-sufficient before the leaner winter months arrive.

This young birds skill learning is quite remarkable,  It is already showing hovers, glides, stoops and agile landing skills,  can carry a jackdaw prey over long distances and has been seen attacking Sparrowhawks, Buzzards, large Gulls and even a flock of six Heron on the wing, 

 Images of some of these activities are posted below.

Friday, 6 July 2018

Breakfast is Served

A female Peregrine flies back into her home patch early AM with a freshly caught Jackdaw prey

She is immediately mobbed by her fledgling who is looking for an aerial prey hand-over.

But the adult bird is hungry too and she know that if she hands it over to the fledgling it will not be willing to share so she lands at a well used pluming point to retain control.

She plucks the kill and serves the fledgling a good feed before taking off with the prey heading for a new perch point where she can hopefully feed herself in peace.

After the adult female has eaten the fledgling comes back on the scene and this time is allowed to escape with the final remains of the kill to consume at its leisure.

Thursday, 5 July 2018

Kestrel Fledglings

The closest Kestrel chick seen here had fledged and left the nest but fairly quickly realised that the adult female always goes to the nest with her prey so this smart little fledgling has returned to the fold

All eyes are firmly fixed on mum in flight as she returns again with another vole for one lucky fledgling.

Kestrel chicks are not aggressive to each other but all get very excited as the prey in their mothers mouth looms closer.

So which one will get the prise this time ?   Perhaps the returning fledgling !

No,   Mum makes sure that the prey goes to one of the back markers this time around,

But she is now plagued by the three other hungry chicks and is already turning to make a swift exit.

This female Kestrel is an amazing mother and is working hard supplying up to six items of prey an hour while I was watching and she will keep them coming until all the family are well fed

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

Peregrine Fledgling's Progress

The amazing Peregrine fledgling above at just six weeks old already has the flight skill of  much older birds studied over the last few years.

In the image below the same bird has just flown to the top of a southern cliff face with a jackdaw prey that was provided via an aerial hand-over a few minutes earlier.

For a young bird it has excellent flight skills to land right on the edge of the cliff while carrying large prey.

The juvenile tucks into the prey and is later joined by its mother that provided the prey and now wants her share of the meal. 

The mother is quite patient when the juvenile get possessive over the prey but after a while she muscles in and takes control.

Both birds feed together for a while and then the adult female leaves the juvenile which already has s0igns of an extended crop to clear up the bits that are left.

But the juvenile takes off as well and gives chase to the adult female perhaps thinking that she had taken the prey with her

The adult bird returns to the prey again and is quite aggressively followed by the juvenile which seems to be a little hard to please today !!

Jackdaws End

An agile female Peregrine is out hunting around southern Cornish cliffs looking for prey to feed her
ever hungry family

She swoops down and hooks her lethal talons into an in-flight Jackdaw that has just left its own nest in the cliffs.

The peregrine was just about coping with the weight of the struggling Jackdaw but opted to land on a nearby cliff ledge to finish its kill.

The desperate jackdaw is still trying to break free but is firmly held by just one set of the peregrines talons while the second one grips onto the rocky ledge.

One of the Peregrine's fledglings arrive on the scene attracted by the jackdaws distress calls.

The Jackdaw fights on still trying to break loose from the adult bird lethal grip

The fledgling holds back waiting for the adult bird to finish the kill.

The Jackdaw gains a little more freedom of movement and quite surprisingly manages to pull the adult Peregrine off off the cliff ledge.

But the Peregrine still has a grip on the Jackdaw and regains control of it in the air while flying to one of its favoured pluming point,

And on landing this time it is all over for the jackdaw as the peregrine applies a lethal bit to the back of its head and immediately plucks out some of its chest and flight feathers.

Perhaps a little unexpected at this stag the female Peregrine releases the prey to her waiting six week old fledgling to take its fill of the kill first perhaps knowing that there would be more than enough prey for both of them to consume.

This little story might seem a little gory to some but it is played out daily in the life or death struggle between the Peregrine and its prey

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Longrock Fox Cubs

On an early morning visit to Longrock fields I saw this pair of Fox cubs lying out at the opposite side of a freshly cut grass field,

Lens to subject distance was around four hundred metres but light levels were good and I was working from a tripod but after taking a few shots I wanted to try to close the working distance,

The only cover a third of the way across the field was a electricity pole that was surrounded by nettles and small ring of uncut crops so I lined myself up so that the pole was between us and started moving forward a few paces at a time while taking a few single images each time that I stopped.

I reached the pole without being detected but at this point the sun disappeared behind a cloud formation and a breeze was picking up from the east which would sooner rather than later give scent warning to the fox cubs of my presence.

As I moved slowly on halving my working distance to around two hundred metres I could see a distinct reaction from the cubs as they picked up my scent as seen in the image below and that was the beginning of the end of this encounter.

The older of the two cuds started to guide the younger one further along the hedgerow but not without stopping for a leisurely neck scratch just before they both disappeared through a small gap in the hedgerow.