Tag Archives: prey

The Cat in the Woods

It was an interesting and varied day today, with some genuine surprises. It all started calmly enough. I headed to Falmer Pond before work, photographed a few ducks, and this rather fine moorhen which was resting on the bank.

Moorhen

A young rabbit was poking its head above the long grass, all wide-eyed and alert.

rabbit

And the great tits were continuing to provide for their young.

great tit at nest hole

Seeing a terrapin is always somewhat strange, though not entirely a surprise. They appear in the warmer weather, basking on the rocks at the edge of the pond. They’re an invasive species and are predatory on young birds so their presence, however exotic it may seem, is unwelcome.

Wildlife

At lunchtime I headed to the local woods, searching for blue tits. I’d come across some nesting boxes on previous walks, and today I was in luck. A couple of them are in use. The photos aren’t up to much. I need to work out how best to take photos under the dark woodland canopy, but it’s a start. This is probably the best of them.

blue tit

It was when I was heading back along the path that i spotted the woodland cat. It’s a small black cat with a yellow collar (so domestic, not feral). It’s evidently a good hunter because to my utter surprise it was trotting across the path carrying a baby rabbit. I’ve seen foxes with rabbits, but never a cat carrying such large prey.

cat with rabbit

cat with rabbit

That’s about enough for one post. I’ve just come inside from photographing the garden foxes. One of them is definitely becoming more comfortable with my presence. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.

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

Posted in Behaviour, cat, Foxes, water birds Also tagged , , , , , |

The Garden Spider

The common garden spider (Araneus diadematus) is one of the most familiar sights in our gardens as we move into autumn. These are the spiders that weave perfectly symmetrical webs, throw long guy-lines across paths, and sit patiently waiting for their prey. The large bulbous spiders are the females.

Common garden spider (Araneus diadematus)

They catch their prey in the web, but that’s only the first part of the process. Before they can feed they need to immobilise the victim with a bite, and then encase it in webbing. This greedy female has captured a wasp (to the left) and what looks like a grasshopper, though it’s hard to identify in this state.

Common garden spider (Araneus diadematus), with  prey

Common garden spider (Araneus diadematus), with  prey

It’s fascinating to watch a spider at work. The initial encounter is usually quite frought, especially if the prey is large or dangerous. The spider takes great care in its approach to avoiding flailing wings or stings. Once the prey is pacified, it gets to work quickly, wrapping the prey into a silky cocoon. It will often then leave the prey hanging, before going back later to feed. The final shot shows a spider with an encased moth which it had caught some hours earlier.

Common garden spider (Araneus diadematus), with  prey

Camera note: all shots taken with the Canon 7D and EF 100mm f/2.8L macro IS USM lens.

Posted in Spiders Also tagged , , |

Kestrel out hunting

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Posted in Bird of Prey, Birds Also tagged |