Sunday, 19 April 2015

Saturday Round-Up . . . and a Mystery Solved

First thing yesterday the Stock Doves were back in the garden which was nice to see, though they hadn't been down long when an over-aggressive Blackbird chased them off and haven't been seen since. (Update: yes they have :-)

One of the two Stock Doves yesterday morning
The same Blackbird tried to see off a Woodpigeon later, but was surprised when the pigeon stood its ground and he just bounced off it. A second attack had the same result, and though the pigeon looked a bit startled at being physically attacked, the blackbird gave up and Woody soon got back to hoovering up the scattered seed.

Later I packed myself off to Far Pasture to see if anything new was in yet, but my first concern was when I discovered not one but two dead badgers in the field opposite the wood yard. That's four in three weeks,  just wtf is going on here?

I was all set to report these as suspicious deaths but got into conversation with a bloke in the hide who told me they are roadkills being put in the field by some photographers trying to entice the red kites down to get better photos (?). Mystery solved, and no suspicious circumstances, but not sure about the ethics on this as it's quite near a well known nest site. 

Three Blackcaps (2m 1f) were flitting about a tree along the path and though distant I did get a clear shot of one.

Blackcap - clear of twigs for once
Still need to get a bit closer though
The Flat Rock bird café was my next stop. The birds are very confiding here and though I was standing only a few feet away they still came down to mop up the scraps that were left.

I was practically standing over this
strikingly marked little Coal Tit

Female Chaffinch - there aren't many birds
I would describe as drab but  . . .

"Drab?  . . . you're no oil painting yourself mate!"

Grumpy Robin

Star of the show though was the Bank Vole, tiny and cute, seems a shame they make up the staple diet of so many predators.

What a cutie

The common warblers were in full song along the road, though the blackcaps still wouldn't show, but I stopped in my tracks when I realised a GS Woodpecker was on the trunk of one of the dead 'kestrel' trees.

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Against a nice blue sky as well 

couldn't believe my luck, stayed perfectly still
as I approached.

Eventually hopped over to another branch
where the red patch told me it was a male

Last snap just before he flew off 

Then a Red Kite appeared between the trees

Back up to the Derwent Walk and another go for the Blackcaps there. I only came across one today but he gave me the usual runaround despite showing well and often. So I took a photo of Gibside Hall across the valley instead.

Gibside Hall on the east side of the valley
A picturesque setting for this local landmark

So nothing new to report but an eventful little session all the same.

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