Tag Archives: woods mill

Raising Kestrels

For past few weeks I’ve been watching an amazing live feed from the kestrel nest box at Woods Mill, the headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust. There are half a dozen chicks in the box, and the adults are working feverishly to keep them fed. I’ve been down there a couple of times to watch the adults at work.

The feeding goes on throughout the day. The male tends to arrive and drop off the prey, but the female takes more time in the nest. The chicks can feed themselves now, but in the first days she would distribute the food across the brood taking care that all the chicks received a share.

These photos were taken today over the course of a few hours. I was set-up well away from the nest so these are all moderately heavy crops. I used a 500mm lens, sometimes with a 1.4x extender. For the majority I locked the focus on the box and waited for the adult to fly across the same plane. Plenty of misses, but far easier than trying to track a bird that appears from nowhere against a dark background.

The male delivering a vole 

The female with a rat for the hungry brood

The male again

The male with a young rat wood mouse

kestrel with prey (wood mouse)

Female kestrel leaving the nest

The male leaving the nest

Camera note: all photos taken with the Canon 1DX Mark II and EF 500mm f/4 IS II USM lens. I used a 1.4x extender on a couple of the shots.

Posted in Bird of Prey, Birds, Kestrel Also tagged , |

Woods Mill Kestrels

It’s been a long time since I’ve featured kestrels, so this makes a nice break from those boring short-eared owls (only joking!). I took this sequence at Woods Mill, the headquarters of Sussex Wildlife Trust. The photos show what I assume is a juvenile being provided with a tasty vole by an adult male. The juvenile then flies off with the treat.

kestrel feeding

Adult perches on the roof of the nest box. The juvenile gets active.

kestrel feeding

Getting a better look

kestrel feeding

The juvenile makes a short hop to the roof.

kestrel feeding

Lunch changes hand (or beak)

kestrel feeding

And it’s the perfect kestrel take-away!

As for the owls… this is how boring they are 😉

short-eared owl

Close-up of a short-eared owl at Sheepcote Valley, Brighton

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

Posted in Bird of Prey, Kestrel, owl Also tagged , |

Portraits of a Cormorant

I got over to Woods Mill today, the headquarters of the Sussex Wildlife Trust. It was quiet on the small lake, and the fringes are heavily overgrown so very few people were spending any time by the water, which was all the better for me. There was a lone cormorant on the lake, doing very little. These shots were taken over a three hour period. Someone did say that they thought the bird had been injured, and that it is recuperating at Woods Mill. That may be the case, but it certainly looked in good shape (and a lazy cormorant is not that uncommon!) Anyway, some pix…

Cormorant swimming in the lake at Woods Mill, Sussex

Cormorant swimming in the lake at Woods Mill, Sussex

Cormorant at Woods Mill, Sussex

I shot this through foliage, which produced an awful green tinge. I’ve desaturated the greens which leaves this semi-b&w shot. I’ve upped the yellow on the beak.

Cormorant at Woods Mill, Sussex

I think this may be a coot’s nest that it’s standing on, among the lily pads.

Cormorant at Woods Mill, Sussex

More of the same!

Cormorant at Woods Mill, Sussex

Later on, from the far side of the lake… balancing on a branch.

Cormorant at Woods Mill, Sussex

This one looks like a chimp in a cormorant suit!

Cormorant at Woods Mill, Sussex

Feather preening (and proof that a spirit level in the 7D2’s view finder is incredibly useful)

Cormorant at Woods Mill, Sussex

Cormorant resting… let’s call it a day!

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

Posted in water birds Also tagged |