Tag Archives: house martin

Signs of Summer

It still feels chilly, but there are promising signs of summer all about.

There are young rabbits, out in the fields and in the seclusion of the local churchyard. This family actually lives under the church at Falmer.

family of rabbits

The moorhen chicks are venturing further afield, and are now happily exploring the banks of the pond. They still pause every now to eat, which keeps the adults occupied as they maintain a watchful eye over their hungry brood.

Moorhen chick

There are other signs as well, most obviously the welcome arrival of two migrant species: house martins and swallows. The swifts cannot be far behind.

The house martins are already repairing – and preparing – their nests.

House martin in nest

The swallows are are also busy, but in their case it seems to be food that is the initial priority.

Swallows flying over Falmer Pond

Swallows flying over Falmer Pond

Swallows flying over Falmer Pond

One piece of uncertain news. The female Muscovy duck hasn’t been seen for a week or so. The male is still around and seems perfectly content as you can see here. He was waiting for the visitors with food to arrive! The female may be hidden away on the island in the centre of Falmer pond, but it’s possible she’s fallen prey to one of the various predators. The smaller of the white ducks is also missing. 🙁

Male Muscovy duck on gate

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

Posted in Birds, rabbit, water birds Also tagged , , , |

Differences: House Martins and Heron

A very short post tonight, with the theme of ‘differences’: of size, and of focus! The shots were all taken at Seven Sisters, near Eastbourne.

The first pair of images are of house martins. The conditions were poor, and I was struggling to get anything in focus as a small flock swirled overhead, feeding. Among the numerous in-and-out of focus shots I collected, were these snatched images of what looks like an adult feeding a fledgling on the wing. The photo is rubbish, but it’s a nice moment to capture.

House martins feeding on the wing

House martins feeding on the wing

The second paring takes us to the opposite end of the size scale, and the shots are at least reasonably in focus. The light conditions were better (it was one of those ‘variable’ days). It’s a heron, which is nothing unusual but I liked the open mouth in the first shot, and the watery foreground in the second.

Heron in flight

Heron standing in shallow water

And that’s that for the day.

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

Posted in Birds, water birds Also tagged |

The Grand Old Lady of Falmer (and some new arrivals)

I was at Falmer Pond early this morning. As I walked around the fringe of the pond, watching the gulls and ducks, a loud, distinctive call caught my attention. Something was lurking nearby, but away from the pond. I investigated the small, narrow village streets. The village is tiny and it didn’t take me long to track down the source of the slightly raucous calls. It was, as I suspected, the Grand Old Lady of Falmer, otherwise better known as the local pea hen.

Pea hen in Falmer Village, East Sussex.

I’ve seen her on and off for several years. She’s something of a fixture in the village, but for much of the year stays out of sight. It was nice to see her again, though she quickly popped down into a local garden.

Pea hen in Falmer Village, East Sussex.

I let her be and explored the pond life. The heron provided the pick of the morning shots.

Grey heron in flight

I was back at lunchtime. The heron was gone for the day, and the pea hen had returned to wherever it is she hides out. There were, however, plenty of new arrivals to see, including a clutch of newly fledged house sparrows, very appropriately perched on the roof of a local house.

Trio of young fledgling house sparrows on roof,

It’s always good to see young sparrows as their numbers have declined significantly in recent years. The population locally seems healthy though. As well as sparrows, there are other local house-dwellers: the house martins. Their young are still safely snuggled up in their nests (constructed from the pond-side mud) and securely cemented to the eaves of the local houses. They look like they’ll be ready to leave the nest very soon, but for now they are happy just to be fed.

House martin chicks

House martin chicks

House martin chicks

In case you’re wondering, I watched for a little longer and saw this…

House martin chicks

House martin chicks

House martin chicks

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

Posted in Behaviour, Birds, Wildlife Also tagged , , , , |