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Tuesday, 19 October 2021

Kestrels





On a recent visit I caught up with this pair, its a pair I have been watching for a couple of years now and they nest naturally in a hole.

As you can see the bond to the nest site is retained throughout, both male and female were being mobbed by Jackdaws and Magpies when I caught up with them.















They have fledged 4 juveniles in each year in 20 and 21 and are constantly at odds with the Jackdaws in the cliff face, I would presume that the Jackdaws are after the nest hole.

Friday, 15 October 2021

Battersea Little Owl

 




So far this year thanks to the benefits of CCTV I have been recording prey taken at Battersea Power Station by the Peregrines in 2021.I am extremely lucky to be able to do this and it gives an incredible insight into this unique raptors world, both diurnally and nocturnally.

To date they have taken 18 species, a vast majority taken by the Falcon were also taken at night when some of the weaker flying species are moving around, or migrating overhead. I would also suspect that there is no doubt more in terms of numbers/species, not everything is going to be taken and recorded on camera.

The 18th species taken was a Little Owl, which the Falcon came in with on Monday October 11th at 1.12a.m.






Predator on predator, I would suspect this was a bird moving through, or dispersal from one of the large London Parks, they will move around like other migratory birds.

To my knowledge they are not present in Battersea Park next door either, but could easily be wrong on this as they are mainly nocturnal.

Of course it is unfortunate for the Little Owl but that is nature, everything has to feed.

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Brixham, Berry Head

 




Arrived back last Friday after 5 days in Brixham, Devon, fantastic stay made all the better by discovering a new B&B with great owners, it will now be without doubt, the go to place for the future. The view from the window was something else as you can see.






As per usual when we visit, I slipped away at dawn one morning, reluctantly forgoing the breakfast, to visit Berry Head to see what is around, in past years I have had some good birding up here.

On the day I went, Wednesday it was a fine sunrise to say the least, worth the visit just to see this coming up over the seas.

Virtually the first birds seen were 4 Cirl Buntings, I have seen them here before and they can be tricky, however I caught them exiting a set of thick roost bushes. A quick preen and all 4 flew off high and that was the last I saw of them, despite a good look later.

Settling down on the point for a sea watch, I could see many Gannets on the move, over the course of 3 hours, I probably recorded around 200 all going west.

During this time, I also picked up a single Manx Shearwater, 2 Razorbills, 4 Ravens overhead, rafts of Kittiwakes and Guillemots seemed to be everywhere on the water, including many still on the cliff face. All were distant views from the top of the cliff point but very enjoyable nonetheless.

There were also good numbers of Porpoises, likely around 8 of them constantly around the point and it wasn’t too long before some Common Dolphins came into view, I ended up seeing around 20 of them, one pod of around 12 moving strongly west.






















Could have done with a scope but the camera bought them in a little closer, photos not great but always enjoyable down here.

A good stay and Brixham never disappoints as ever, great food.



Friday, 24 September 2021

Kestrel Box Update

 




Well that didn’t take long, as with the Barn Owl box that was placed last year, the Kestrel Box has shown activity very early; however it seems to have attracted the attention of not only a Kestrel but also a Barn Owl!

Admittedly I thought the size and design of the box, straight off a Kestrel template would be too small for a Barnie, however this particular Barn Owl has other ideas it seems.

I placed a Trail Cam on it quite early and checking it one morning, the Barn Owl exited, it simply didn’t occur to me one would roost in it. I would expect it started with the Owl using it as a look out nocturnal spot for watching prey on the ground below it.

Since then it’s used it pretty regular, even plonking itself on the camera, however the box has now attracted the attentions of a male Kestrel.

Looking on the cam shows him entering the box/sitting in the box so obviously the Owl has not been present during this.

I know that Barnies are pretty laid back and docile when it comes to aggression, many species will mob them when diurnally flying, Kestrel being one of them.

I noted on the Cam images that the male Kestrel is calling, it’s possible that he was getting a bit excited with a female in view, Tiercel peregrines do exactly the same thing.





                                               Didn't expect a Spitfire and Hurricane flyby.








Obviously early days yet but a good start, it will be interesting to see what develops.

Monday, 20 September 2021

Beckton Sewage Works

 



Beckton Sewage Works



It’s been a while since an update from the Sewage Works, busy of late over the last few months with Peregrine stuff and various projects, consequently have not been able to visit as much as I would have liked.

The annual list is on 99, nearly there and of late, have added a few good additions - Common Redstart and Mandarin (both 2nd for the site), the Redstart as ever elusive and unable to get a photo.

Also had a Northern Wheatear recently, I thought I had missed the boat with one of these for the year but looking at the list already seen one earlier in the spring. Senior moment kicking in, happening more often of late.

Teal/Redshank have started to arrive back for the winter period, with the Oystercatchers probably gone now until next March/April.

The Kestrel juveniles seem to have well dispersed, both adults occasionally in the box, the tie to it not surprisingly, similar to peregrines, is retained outside of breeding.

















Little Egret numbers peaked at 9 at the Outfall, along with the small Shrimp type things, they have also been taking small Elvers amongst the rock pools left on the receding tide.