Posts Tagged "fledgling"

Playing in the traffic, patch walk 28th July

What a stupendous change to be walking in. Sunshine and clouds, but so much cooler in the wonderful wind that’s blowing. This is the sort of weather that I want to walk in.

There’s excitement practically from stepping out of the door as the cause of all the late night gull calling recently is uncovered. There’s a juvenile black backed gull in the road and he’s really in the road.

On evidence so far, junior is none too bright as he doesn’t seem to be aware that cars are going to hurt. He’s learned enough to move away from me, but not from moving cars. He’s far too busy constantly mewling for food to pay attention to things like moving cars. What really gets the juvenile moving, however, is a sudden mobbing from a pair of herring gulls. Black backed parents are having none of that though, swooping down from on high and sending the herring gulls packing. Cue much argumentative-sounding calling from the adults and from the juvenile? No prizes for guessing more food calls.

Kids, eh?

Juvenile finally gets some attention from a parent, sending him into full on begging mode and leaving even less brain cells for awareness, which is particularly dangerous as they’re now at a road junction and are literally stopping traffic.

Cars are going past just inches from juvenile – the parent bird having seen the sense of finding a safe perch – but still juvenile mews incessantly.

What’s that? Fast moving metal thing might hurt? I want food!

He strays into the road and then I intervene, hurrying the bird across the road and into a safer spot while the parent birds complain loudly. Gulls, there’s no pleasing them.

Its no point mewling at me, buddy, I’ve got no food for you. Now stay out of the traffic!

I’m so busy thinking about that encounter that I don’t really wake up again until I’m in the copse. It looks so beautiful in the sunlight and shade, with the wind making the leaves sing, but that’s the only noise out of it now. The birdsong days are long past.

In the park I can’t resist a trip around the formal garden just for the scent of the lavender planted there, before heading for the wilder fringes. At the black spruce, Braveheart the squirrel is happy to see me and the bag of nuts. Its just him today, so he’s not in a rush, taking the time to enjoy each nut. After about 5 or 6 nuts he disappears and so do I, off on a wander.

Plodding slowly around the edges of the park where there’s some more stands of nettles. Investigate, but the only creature I see is this splendidly well camouflaged creature:

I have no idea what it is, entymology never was a strong point of mine, but I do smile to see such excellent camouflage.

I loop back around to the black spruce, but there’s no squirrels there now so I head out of the park through the trees. Along the bottom road the wind and the heatwave have worked together and I’m crunching leaves underfoot at almost every step. In July. Leaf crunching in July. What an unusual year this is, I reflect, before hoping that it stays unusual and doesn’t become the new usual.

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Sunday moments

The juvenile robin is growing bolder by the day. He pops out from the cover of the bush at the front of the house to perch on the wall, already practicing his Christmas card poses. Tail is up, wings are flared. “Tik! Tak!” he challenges to no one in particular, attempting to claim this land as his own, like a child declaring that they are the king of the castle. I doubt the parent bird would agree, but this youngster is becoming a little more robin each time I see them.

On the fence a dunnock seems unconcerned with all this. They’ve got feathers to maintain, a much more important task than dealing with the bravado of youth. Bending every which way, the preening session is long before the bird is finally satisfied.

The juvenile blue tits are still resident in the back garden and seem to have claimed this feeder pole for their own. They don’t have to fly to the main pole, just walk down the white willow branches and hop down on top of the suet feeder. Stay all you want, little blue tit. The years I went without blue tits in the garden after a neighbour grubbed up their garden and the favourite habitat of the blue tit population in the area were long indeed. You’re safe here.

This one particular pigeon seems to have developed a thing for lying down. Whenever I see them they’re either lying down or spend a good 20 minutes of slow, deliberate wandering around before finally settling down. Its a curious thing. I swear I can almost hear a sigh of relaxation as it finally decides its happy and lies down. Why fly when you can perch, why perch when you can lie.

Looking for signs of that suspected blackbird nest in the copse I find something else altogether. I’ve heard wren singing in the copse for weeks, but never seen the songster. Today I did and not just one wren, but two, both emerging from another bush that hugs the edges by the road. Is this another nest I’ve missed? Clearly I’ve been missing out on a lot by intentionally staying away from the road side, intentionally taking the opportunity to enjoy a little escape from the urban noise. The birds are a lot brighter than me about such things. They know a good spot that no one will disturb when they see one. Lesson learned, little wren. Its a pleasure to finally meet you.

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Waiting

Appliance delivery day. Something large and white that says “2 man lift only” on the packaging but one hardened delivery person carries in on their shoulder. Upheaval to the routine. Change. Waiting. Lots of waiting for 5 minutes of action when one white good goes out feet first and its replacement lands. My hands are tied, can’t go out and explore, have to wait.

There’s a sense of the seasons passing as I look out of the window from my desk. While some birds are still parading around with a beak full of food, a whole new generation is already fending for themselves.

Even the presence of a rival male only elicits a half-hearted flapping response today.

The starling juveniles are happily looking after themselves, more accompanied by parents now rather than directed by them.

When they turn up on the feeders its often the juveniles who get there first now, some of their youthful ungainliness disappearing with experience, though their genetic starling clumsiness will never leave them as their parents demonstrate.

Sparrows, whose offspring are already losing their gape and you have to look hard to see which are older birds and which are 2018 edition, carry on regardless on the roadside verge. Or at the feeders, where their presence is always welcome, even when they’re being particularly argumentative and scrappy as they were today.

Blue tit is still busy at the feeders, trying to quell the constant calls of the fledglings in the willow tree. During the afternoon a magpie blunders into the tree, cackling and screeching, prompting loud complaints from the blackbird parents and scattering the blue tit fledglings from their haven. One ends up in the bush beside the feeders, winning the lottery as it gets on with feeding itself on the bonanza. One ends up right below the open window where I sit and wait, giving me my first close-up view of blue tit fledglings this year.

Worth waiting for.

 

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Crow Patrol Uncovered

For weeks I’ve been watching an ongoing battle of crow versus squirrel from the comfort of my desk. Its a battle that has been rather one sided, it seemed, with squirrel repeatedly just managing to escape a very determined crow who pursued it very intently. Around trees, over hedges, across the road, its been loud and intense.

“Wait, is that Crow coming???”

Now the reason for all this aggression has been revealed – the crows have got a fledgling!

I spotted it hunkered down in a neighbours garden, just before one of the parent birds did a fly-by warning of squirrel, who was clinging to the trunk of a street tree. The crows must have been repeatedly warning or chasing off squirrel from their offspring, as egg or chick. Squirrels are, of course, notorious nest raiders. Top parenting job there, crows.

I’m not so sure that fledgling has developed too many crow smarts yet, however. After squirrel was warned and thought that going in the other direction was a good idea, both crow parents had to work together to see off a neigbourhood cat who had spied the fledgling’s vulnerable location. It was noisy work and a lot of effort mobbing the cat before it was dissuaded from its stalking. Meanwhile, the fledgling watched all the action atop a gate post.

“My dad can fight your dad!”

 

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