Category Archives: Birds

Winter Birds

With the temperatures hovering around freezing, it feels like winter has finally arrived. It’s certainly cold, but today the skies were clear and the winds low. I like winter days like this. I needed to take a rare trip over to Eastbourne, stopping briefly at Seven Sisters to see what birds were about. There were a few distant curlews, numerous little egrets, some swans and cormorants. Worth the early start.

little egret

Little egret at Seven Sisters Country Park, East Sussex

swan

Mute swan on rippling blue

cormorant

Cormorant cruising

Back home the foxes are still around. At least three of them are putting in an appearance on the trail camera (along with an occasional badger), though Pretty Vixen is the only one venturing out for photo shoots. She seems to be becoming a permanent fixture. It’s good that so many are still around and that bodes well for next spring.

fox

Pretty Vixen peering down from the wall

Camera note: all bird photos taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens. Pretty Vixen taken with the EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM lens.

October Ducklings!

About a month since my last post and I really wouldn’t have guessed that I’d be writing about ducklings in October, but I am.

It was at my old haunt at Falmer Pond. I was there this morning before work. The heron was about, some greylags were congregating on the water, gulls were circling… and a female duck was taking four tiny ducklings out for a swim. So far as I know this is wildly out of season. Ducklings normally hatch in late spring to early summer, but these are no more than a few days old. They are either a very late 2017 brood… or possibly an early 2018 clutch! Either way, they were an unexpected delight!

These are Indian Runner ducks (or a hybrid variety). They are permanent residents at the pond (the first adults arrived a few years ago, and I think the mother may be a second generation pond inhabitant). The original adults were quite possibly domestic birds that were ‘relocated’ to the pond. With luck the youngster will survive and put on weight before winter.

Ducklings in October at Falmer Pond

Foraging at the edge of the pond

ducklings

Three Ducklings in a row

Duckling making a splash

And lastly a portrait of the local heron

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens.

A Kestrel at Breakfast

This is a bit of an unscheduled break in the relentless fox cub posts (I have so many photos that I’m not even trying to keep up). I got these shots on my way to work this morning, at around 8.00am. I drive past Sheepcote Valley by Brighton racecourse every morning. It’s a good spot for kestrels and this morning one was hovering right over the entrance to the car park. Too good an opportunity not to stop. By the time I had parked and got the camera ready the kestrel had moved about 20 yards… The light wasn’t great and I thought shots like this were all I was going to get.

kestrel

Kestrel (female) hovering at Sheepcote Valley, near Brighton, East Sussex

But then the kestrel dropped into the grass… and I go this short sequence.

kestrel and prey

Kestrel pinning down its prey (a vole)

kestrel and prey

A quick nibble…

kestrel and prey

And up and away…

kestrel and prey

A good start to my day, and the kestrel’s. Less good for the vole, but this is the harsher side of wildlife watching.

It’s too wet tonight to watch out for the fox cubs, but they’ve been on great form over the weekend. This was last night’s Fox of the Day… worth a reprise over here as well.

fox cubs fighting

Fox cubs fighting at night

Camera note: all kestrel photos taken with the Canon 7D Mark II and EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS II USM lens. Fox cubs photographed with the EF 24-105 F4L IS USM lens.