I checked up on the Bee-eaters a couple of days ago. According to the website the watchers noticed a change in behaviour a couple of weeks ago, with adults no longer taking food into the nests. A couple of days later they gathered together and flew off, never to return.
It’s a shame, both for the birds and for the volunteers who put so much work in.
Who knows what might happen – at one time Magpies and Buzzards were unknown around in the eastern counties and Red Kites were virtually extinct in the UK. Now they are all common, or commonish, sights around the area. yet be able to tell my grand-children about how they are lucky to have Bee-eaters and Hoopoes in the garden.
Then again, if the sea levels do rise as predicted, it might be exotic ducks we are watching.
I didn’t see a single Buzzard today on the way to Peterborough, just three Kestrels and a Red Kite. My first thought on seeing an increase in Kestrels and a decrease in Buzzards is that the Kestrels must have eaten the Buzzards.
According to point 4 in this document I couldn’t be more wrong: it looks like Buzzards may actually be eating Kestrels. As the ones I see are mainly lurking round roadsides waiting for a car to kill something, or even walking the floor looking for worms, I’m amazed they have the energy, or the speed to take a Kestrel.
This sounds wrong to me, as I don’t really think of birds of prey eating each other. I tend to think of them eating less well-armed prey. A quick look at the diet of the Eagle Owl demonstrates that birds of prey do eat other birds of prey – one record of a nesting pair in Scandinavia tool 13 other raptors in a single breeding season. Their favoured prey is the Buzzard. If we ever start a reintroduction process for the Eagle Owl they won’t be short of food for while.
In the end I’ve been forced to conclude the Buzzards were just somewhere else, possibly sheltering from the wind. On cold, wet days I’ve often noticed that they tend to hunch down at lower levels, and are more inclined to take to the fields looking for worms. On previous windy days I’ve also noted a lack of birds. I suspect that, like me, they look for shelter when it’s windy.
After seeing my father and being soundly beaten at dominoes I went to the services on the A1 for a bean burger (for research purposes only, you understand). I took some photographs of the Roman antiquities they found whilst excavating the foundations. I’ll load them tomorrow as I can’t get them off my phone.
It’s a busy day today and everywhere seems crowded, we even had three buzzards wheeling over the sheep field when we stopped to look at the ewes this morning. I managed to get some sheep photos but the effort of capturing tiny specks with no viewfinder was too much for me. Nice picture of clouds in a bright blue sky, but little else.
We’ve had a bit of a sheep-based day for Quercus, with felted sheep and sheep lollies. In the morning we had a college visit again, and they completed the work on the goats and bedded the pigs. No electric fences today!
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Both groups are now moving chickens to the new accommodation that has been repaired by Men in Sheds. They are going to be out on the fields, though we will have to keep an eye out for high winds as I’m not sure how stable the new coops are.
I love a day like this – when everything falls into place like a well made plan. Derelict chicken coops resurrected by Men in Sheds providing work experience for animal care students and an activity for our group. At times like this I feel like we are really getting somewhere, but at the back of my mind I always find that thought about what is going to go wrong next…
Some results are in from last night – including that we sold two wreaths and two Christmas trees so that’s a boost for Quercus funds.
It’s nice to know that things went well because a lot of effort goes into organising events. Strictly speaking the turkey event is nothing to do with us but what’s good for the farm has to be good for the groups that use the farm. Ultimately we are a community and what is good for the yoga, Shipshape Arts, Quercus or the bread group should be good for all of us.
There’s an ulterior motive in all this, as there always is. As I helped with a bit of bread group tidying on Thursday I had home-baked cookies forced on me. Positively forced! I think the correct term for this working together is synergy, but I’m happy to think of it as “biscuits”.
Meanwhile, I was out and about on family business today, including my mother’s 85th birthday. Travelling along the A 52 to Grantham I saw three buzzards perching on lamp posts in the final stretch. Two of them appeared to be preening so I don’t know what was going on. Normally it’s a good week if you see three buzzards perching anywhere, let alone three in a couple of miles. Even then they mainly just sit there looking for food.
When I was a young bird watcher you had to travel to Devon, Wales or the Lakes to see buzzards. The eastward resurgence has been a welcome event of the last few years, unless you are a partridge. Even then, I’m not sure how many partridge deaths can be blamed on birds of prey.
I can’t say the same for magpies. It was good to see them to start with but can it be coincidence that their arrival in my garden marked the start of a much decreased garden bird population? You can’t blame cats for it all.