Archive for bird of prey

DOING THE TREBLE…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 31, 2013 by abrandreth

Doing the Treble…

 

at the moment my journey to work is around the 18 mile trip,with plenty of traffic jams and bridges to negotiate!

 

So, if you find yourself in a similar dilemma take a Weasel tip and do the local Raptor treble (well you didn’t think it was all about footy surely?)

 

3 quarry species achieved this morning: Kestrel,Common Buzzard and a cheeky ‘Sprog’…

 

the tally?

 

KESTREL

 

‘Tall Trees’ A49 crossroads – resident Kestrel always around if good weather and you know what to look for,medium compact raptor,sideways drop from street lighting rig and a flappy,shallow quick wingbeat and getting a scarce sight locally,unless you know a breeding pair (which we obviously keep to ourselves)

 

This bird last week brought up a mixed flock from the stubble field and up and over the high hedge,with the unmistakeable white rump of a orange stained Brambling gave me another year tick!

 

In Weasel related history the first raptor that floated the boat, me and a mate looking for ‘Kezzies’ along the back fields to Cronton,hopping hedges and fording ditches as we went.

 

Back to those crossroads and a dilemma,straight on or right?

 

Straight on  would give us a chance at the Buzzard who perches on the old Northwich ‘roman’ road,or,Left would mean a chance of BOPs (birds of prey? c’mon keep up at the back!!) through the village of Weaverham…and last week we did have a Sparrowhawk glide through and up and over the village sign by the Stables…

 

Just then a look ahead and a big ole’ steam-powered lorry goes right – on it is,but, we dip the Buzzard – buggeration!

 

Now in a fug and wondering why we made this schoolboy error, when, low slung and dirty, a male Sprog rattles practically through the wheel arch of the Weaselmobile after a free lunch from a passing passerine! Result!!

 

SPARROWHAWK

now then, one of my favourite creatures full stop, the Sparrowhawk/Sprog/Sprawk (if you must)

 

An accipiter,with a recognised range of hunting techniques,from perching and ambush predation,to hedge hugging and flipping over at the last minute,to acrobatic burst of energy at low heights,to upwardly mobile displays and flock bothering (try that mouthful when the Vicar comes around!),this light weight despoiler of bird tables,ever alert,dashing glide merchant is unparalleled for sheer open mouthed raptor rapture!

 

Close to my heart as ever this little beauty perched up outside chez weasel lair last Valentines day: apologies for poor shots but my main priority was to not disturb,

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He stayed around for about half an hour or so then vanished during a brew break – the best of presents!

 

Anyway onwards and upwards (we will return to all things ‘Sprog” in a future post or twelve!) – Bring on the BIG boys,around the corner and out of Barton to run down the hill past the Antique Dealers and what do we have,throwing the full Bela Lugosi stance perched in the trees opposite the big bank that smells of Garlic at the right time – a

 

COMMON BUZZARD

 

now,I often say that as a young birder we would blag our way into a gentleman’s car if they where going birding in Wales just to see one of these magnificent Bomber Command BoPs – now they are 10 a penny – everywhere,even over my urban house on a sunny day (although the first time was a toast dropper on a Sunday morning).

 

BTO told us of a 800% rise in numbers and I could well believe it,having travelled sometimes to Llandudno junction to tick one!

 

The only Cheshire ones we knew shortly after were at (Ritchie) Blackamore Wood on the way into Frodsham (a yellowhammer/corn bunting fest too!) up Ellis Lane.

 

These big laborious raptors are superb,not pretty,not nippy – the Avro Lancaster of the Bop world,heavy set,soaring,broad short head – with that unmistakeable v shaped wing profile with a well chiseled dark carpal joint a dead give away – but this one was just sat in a tree waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting rodent or piece of offal/corpse – the UK vulture and a fitting end to the treble!

 

PS if we didn’t get that we could have had a Merlin – not uncommon in Winter in these river valleys in Cheshire,fluked a Peregrine over Winnington rec or spied a big female Peregrine on the Runcorn Bridge span – all options, and summer brings wandering Kites (not far either!) and the chance of a Hobby carving through the landscape.

 

UK Birds of Prey – you’ve gotta love ‘em! And once again the predators raise your spirit and prepare you for the hard slog of everyday mundanity.

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