Friday, 23 February 2018

Mating Peregrine

I have been watching our coastal Pairs of Peregrine waiting to catch signs of their early mating and following a tip off from a couple of good friend last night,  It all came together close to Lands End this morning,

I found the pair of birds about 20m apart on the granite cliffs at 6.50 am and settled down 100m or so away at a good vantage point to wait for a bit of action and at 8.45am the male bird descended from its higher perch to skillfully land directly on the females back trying not to use its talons while getting properly balanced,

The mating lasted somewhere between ten and twenty seconds during which time I fired off over eighty images of the action,  The birds were facing straight towards me {Count your blessings !! } and it was interesting to note that the male had his lethal talons safely balled-up throughout the mating until lift off,

At lift off the male dropped steeply down the cliffs to disappear along the coastline,   So there was not a lot small talk,  prey handovers,  or aftercare attached to this union !!  and the female was left looking somewhat unimpressed,  But hey! perhaps he had gone off hunting for her right then.

Thursday, 22 February 2018

White world

It was a cold and frosty white world for the rabbits on the warren at Marazion Marsh this morning,  I have watched them before and they just hate getting their feet cold and wet and they shake the frost off their paws as soon as they stop moving,  The rabbit above had adopted a policy of having no more than two on the ground and preferably none !!

Spring was in the air for the bird life on the water with a pair of Canada geese that having given last years family of five the brush off were displaying well and eventually mated in the very cold water ??

The Moorhen were also in 'Mating mode' as several of the males got involved in a serious territorial dispute with talons and feathers going in all directions,

Time to go home to a hearty breakfast of Duck eggs on corn bread  but perhaps I shouldn't mention that until after leaving the Marsh,

Early Adder

Back in mid January I went to Trewavas head to clear a couple of small sections of stone wall of a years growth of brambles and gorse etc to encourage heat seeking Adders coming out of hibernation to use the small clearings to bask along this south facing wall.

The Adder s were running late this year by comparison to last year's earlier sighting on the 18th February and the previous years first sighting was a remarkable 23rd January

This January and February have been very wet to date but the last few days have been cold and dry at night with lots of sunshine during the day and out they came this morning to bask in my clearings

The two male adders shown here have both shed their winter skins already and look fit and ready for action as soon as the females make a show and looks to mate within the next few weeks.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

Marazion Marsh today: Part two

My visit to Marazion marsh started before sunrise this morning looking for sightings of Roe Deer,  Numbers have been on the decline over the last year and on this occasion only one was sighted  but I was at least pleased to see that this doe looked to be showing early signs of pregnancy to hopefully  help boost the numbers again this year.

The sunrise over Marazion was serene and peaceful and coincided with high tide

The early rays of sunshine are a gift to any photographer that works this marsh with the reed beds and wildlife and camera settings all responding well to such mornings and after being treated to an early bittern in flight posted in the previous blog I decided to concentrate on some of the other bigger birds that this Marsh supports,

Bittern at Marazion marsh

It was a clear but cold morning at sunrise but there are few places that I would rather be as the early rays of sunlight hit the marsh reedbeds,,  I was here again today hoping for a glimpse of this years very illusive Bittern of which my sightings count was currently zero.

I was at the viewing recess halfway along the Marazion/Longroch causeway talking to Dave Walsh about Dipper at Kennell Vale  and I believe our conversation disturbed nothing less than a Bittern in the closest section of reed beds,  It was off in a flash flying straight away from us and on up through the central north facing channel. perhaps lucky for me at the end it turned east facing into the sunlight making its way towards Marazion over the top of the reed beds.

We were both delighted with the sighting and extended flight that it made while I managed around twenty focused but distant shots before in dropped back into the reed bed and out of sight once more,

Perhaps not the best sighting ever but:  There is no such thing as a bad one !!

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

Peregrine Today

An early medical appointment determined that this mornings south coast walk was a little later than usual and sods law dictated that as I arrived at a Peregrine location both birds departed to hunt,

The female Peregrine returned empty-handed within fifteen minutes flying into a high shadowed cliff ledge and settled down to a bout of relaxed preening,

The male by contrast was missing in action for nearly two hours before eventually returning with a live starling in its talons, He called offering his prey to the female that was still preening on a ledge  but she showed no interest in his offers,

The starling had no chance of escape and it breathed its last as a swift bit through the back of its neck  finished its days and the male Peregrine set about plucking and consuming the prey himself, Perhaps not very pleasant but its a daily requirement for many birds of prey to survive.

In the mean time the female moved back out into sunny area that was sheltered from a cold north wind and looked relaxed as she just watched the day unfold.

The cold wind was beginning to get to me by now so with a parting shot of the female starting to regurgitate prey waste which confirmed that she had already eaten earlier,  I packed my kit and headed for home and a warm log fire to download today's images and edit this blog,

Monday, 19 February 2018

Mating Toads

I watched a fine Buzzard in the previous blog predating on frogs or toads this morning.  When I arrived home I decided to check out our large garden pond which already contained masses of frog spawn,  I could see a few toads floating on the surface with their heads and huge amber eyes reflecting on the water surface but I had expected to see more.

Then ripples spreading out from behind a recess formed by large granite rocks gave the game away with a dozen or more male toads writhing over each other in a very confined space,  I have to assume that there was a female toad caught up in there somewhere and would expect to start seeing the tell-tale string egg lines showing very shortly

Their mating seems to be a very public and social affair,  But I guess its each to their own !!

Buzzard behaviour

The close Buzzard portrait above was taken during a two hour encounter with what looked like a fairly young bird that had picked up on the amount of frogs and toads that were crawling and swimming around at Marazion marsh looking for mates this morning,

The bird stayed low to the ground using various fence posts and RSPB marker posts as vantage points which allowed me plenty of opportunities for close working low level portraits

I watched the bird take and dispatch several frogs as it made short ground level attacks from the posts

This was my closest shot taken at my minimum eight metre to infinity focal range setting while the bird was preoccupied hunting in the reeds

This behaviour went on for nearly two hours by which time the buzzard was beginning to look quite bloated

Just one more frog to dispatch and the buzzard had eaten its fill and it departed to the high pine tree woods at the back of the marsh leaving me with the best buzzard behaviour sequences that I had taken  in a while.