Archive for the ‘Mammals’ Category

A hot and sunny bank holiday Monday, the hottest day of the year so far, saw Sue and I heading south from London to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks on the River Arun. This is one of the country’s premier places to hear the Nightingale. This small bird with its attractive rich song is becoming increasingly rare.

However, our first excitement was to happen before we got to the reserve when a Western Osprey flew across the road at speed, being pursued by Carrion Crows which wanted it out of their territory.

Osprey KC

Osprey in flight (Keith Cutting, Rutland 2017)

On arrival at the reserve, we made our way to the courtyard area, which is one of the best areas on the reserve and we were not disappointed as soon we were listening to a male belting out his song from an area of bushes. Some people, though not us, were fortunate enough to see him through the undergrowth but they usually remain well hidden from sight.

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Nightingale. Photo by Kev Chapman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/25553993@N02/)

Moving on we arrived at a hide overlooking the river valley but it was fairly quiet with only a few waterbirds and waders plus some Highland cattle trying to keep cool.

 

Whilst walking along the track we came across a group of people watching the trackside bank, where a Weasel was hunting, totally ignoring the people watching it. It explored every hole in the bank it could find and eventually found a mouse nest. We saw the adult mouse explode from the hole and run away and then we continued to watch as the Weasel carried the young mice from the nest back to its own hole and presumably its own young.

Our final highlight of the day was to watch two young Tawny Owls roosting in a tree. They can’t fly yet so can only move by jumping and climbing but this has not, apparently, stopped them moving from tree to tree.

Then, with the heat beginning to tell, we headed back to the centre and a nice cold drink before making our way home with some great memories.

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Western Osprey [sp] (Pandion haliaetus)
Eurasian Sparrowhawk [sp] (Accipiter nisus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Willow Warbler [sp] (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
Eurasian Reed Warbler [sp] (Acrocephalus scirpaceus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)

Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Orange Tip (Anthocharis cardamines)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

4 weeks ago when I saw the Little Bunting at Walthamstow Wetlands, Keith was in South Africa and so our trip today was with the specific purpose of him seeing this bird which has been around for a few months now. I have read that this is only the 11th time that this species has been recorded in London, so one which we may not get the opportunity to see again.

 

It had been seen about 15 minutes before we arrived and so it was that we spent most of the day checking out the feeder station and the bushes near East Warwick reservoir which has been its usual haunt. A group of Reed Buntings were present together with a flock of linnets.

 

Common Linnet (left) and Reed Bunting (right)

Mid-afternoon I wandered off for a look at a nearby lake and found some herons nesting in the trees already.

 

 

Canada Geese (top), Grey Heron (centre) and Egyptian Geese (bottom)

When I got back there had still been no sighting. Eventually, around 3 pm, we both decided to go for a coffee at the reserve centre and then come back for a final 30 minutes before the reserve closed at 4pm. Well at 3.55 the Little Bunting was spotted in a tree in the hedge, it then flew down towards the feeder area. It never did emerge from the graas although I did get a brief view of it through the vegetation. Talk about leaving it until the last minute! Not the longest of views but at least Keith got to see it.

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Little Bunting. Photo by Vince (https://www.flickr.com/photos/baggieman/)

My favourite picture of the day though was this fella who came to visit whilst we were having coffee

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Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Rock Dove (Feral) (Columba livia ‘feral’)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Peregrine Falcon [sp] (Falco peregrinus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
White Wagtail (Pied) (Motacilla alba yarrellii)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Common Linnet [sp] (Linaria cannabina)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Little Bunting (Emberiza pusilla)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Red-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus lapiadarius)                                                                          Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus Terrestris)

Sometimes we wish we didn’t have Grey squirrels in the garden or at least they wouldn’t come to the feeding station. They gorge all the nuts etc and can clean out the feeders in quick time before the birds get a chance. But then I saw this post – at least I only have squirrels to worry about!

Trying to feed birds in Ashland can be unBEARable. My friend Lee French is a Great Gray Owl afficinado, a builder of superb GGO nest platforms, builder of fine bird houses. Yet he has stopped putting out bird feeders in his garden. Here’s why:Most reasonable, regimented bears are largely nocturnal. Inside the Ashland city limits […]

via YOU’D BETTER BEARLIEVE IT! — Towheeblog

A Penguin comes to call

Posted: January 26, 2018 in Mammals, Natural History
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They weren’t expecting this to happen

 

https://www.aol.co.uk/video/penguin-makes-surprise-visit-to-antarctic-research-boat-5a601eee55935e038850cfb8/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Cdl_lnk1%26pLid%3D236637499_uk

 

 

This is an amazing video of the interaction between a photographer and sea-lions off the coast of British Columbia in Canada

 

https://www.aol.co.uk/video/british-photographer-mobbed-by-sea-lions-5a6068b69e45107b7054f7dd/?icid=maing-grid7%7Cmain5%7Cdl1%7Crelated_lnk1%26pLid%3D236637499_uk

 

On a wildlife photography course at the London Wetland Centre. Good opportunity to get out on the reserve during the practical sessions.

Greylag Geese landing

Blackbird

Grey Squirrel

Mute Swan

Grey Heron

Black-headed Gull

Tufted Duck

Carrion Crow

Green Woodpecker

Ring-nexcked Parrakeet

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Common Gull (Larus canus canus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)

The pride of Formby

Posted: October 17, 2017 in Mammals, Natural History
Tags:

Today I was back up at Formby to join a guided walk to discover some of the Fungi that can be found in the pine woods (But more of that later). After the walk I had time to walk round the local Squirrel Reserve. A few years ago the Red Squirrel population was decimated by […]

via Red Squirrels at Formby. — Crosbyman66

Another post from Crosbyman about Formby Nature reserve and its most noted resident – this is the only place in mainland England that Red Squirrel lives.

View towards river from visitors centre

Sue and I decided to go to the RSPB reserve at Pulborough Brooks in Sussex today. This reserve is situated on the side of the River Arun valley and has wonderful views. It is also a very good place for Nightingales and Cuckoos in summer and these were our target birds for today.

Dunnock

Arriving at the reserve we made our down towards the hides overlooking the river valley, we could hear a Nightingale singing and stopped for a while to listen. It was in cover and we did not get to see it. As we listened I heard a distant Cuckoo but alas these were to be our only encounter with either species today.

View from hide overlooking Brooks

We moved onto the river valley hides and looked out over the Brooks (the flood-plain of the river). Here were a selection of waterbirds and we got some clear sightings of Blackcap. Common Whitethroat and Chiffchaff singing from their perches on trees or bushes. A Reed bunting and a Stonechat could be seen out on the Brooks in the vegetation. Sue spotted a single drake Mandarin duck, which was an unexpected find. At the last hide there was a family of Lapwings with 4 chicks and a Common Sandpiper. A common Redshank was heard calling but was not located.

Little Egret

Northern Lapwing

Common Chiffchaff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although our target species were found, it would have been nice to have seen them – maybe next time? Apart from the birds there was lots of other wildlife to see. Early Dragonflies included Large Red Damselfly and Hairy Dragonfly and Butterflies recorded were Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue and Red Admiral.

Rabbit

Sika Deer (I Think)

Man-made hole?

Highland Cattle that graze grassland area

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Red Kite [sp] (Milvus milvus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Northern Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Sandpiper (Actitis hypoleucos)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Common Cuckoo [sp] (Cuculus canorus)
Common Swift [sp] (Apus apus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Barn Swallow [sp] (Hirundo rustica)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Common Whitethroat [sp] (Sylvia communis)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
Common Nightingale [sp] (Luscinia megarhynchos)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Common Linnet [sp] (Carduelis cannabina)
Common Reed Bunting [sp] (Emberiza schoeniclus)

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)
Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)
Hairy Dragonfly (Brachytron pratense)

Shortly after posting that excellent picture of Anna’s Hummingbird yesterday, I came across these pictures which if not mistaken were taken on our trip to Monteray bay in California 8 years ago.

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

Californian Sea-Lions

Californian Sea-Lions

Brown Pelican

Brown Pelican

That was a memorable trip which included visiting the most northerly wintering site for Monarch butterflies.

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

Monarch Butterflies

Monarch Butterflies

Red Fox

Posted: October 4, 2016 in Mammals, Natural History
Tags:

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The most widespread canine mammal in the world, Red Fox is a highly adaptive species living in habitats from urban cities to deserts.

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They live in family groups and are best seen when the cubs have newly emerged and are exploring. The calls of the fox are often shrill and piercing and can be quite disturbing to someone who is not familiar to hearing them.

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