Thursday, July 15, 2010

Baby birds

No, this is not a baby bird.  It's a Rook (Corvus frugilegus) and common, apparently.  I admit that, with the exception of Red-billed Chough, I did not pay much attention to crow-like birds - Jackdaw, Carrion Crow or other.  I did, however, want to see a Rook well. Perhaps I was seeing Rooks all along but was not paying adequate attention to identify the unique bill and face.  

After leaving Wales and before returning to Leamington Spa, we took a slightly longer route back to make a brief visit to Slimbridge Wildlife Trust in Gloucestershire.  There were scattered trees in the parking lot and when I got out of the car I noticed the perched bird above.  It then flew to a leafed tree nearer to where I was standing and I took the photo below in which the bald face is obvious.  Finally, a Rook. Honestly, despite how common they are, this is the only one I really saw in my whole two week visit.

At the beginning of June nestlings and fledglings are everywhere and relatively easy to see and or hear. If there were adult birds around, they were likely to be seen moving and feeding with their young.    

The juvenile Magpie above was seen at Titchwell RSPB.  It was smaller and had a shorter tail than an adult bird, but otherwise there was not much difference.  Although it was clearly able to get its own food it was still begging.

Probably the cutest and most enjoyable to watch were young Avocets. They fed like their parents with the same sweeping action though this did not yet appear to be quite as efficient. They seemed to remain generally close to an adult bird but if they got too distant a parent bird would wade closer to check on the young bird.   

Hard to imagine how the advocets did so well to raise young with the hundreds of breeding and, probably voracious, Black-headed Gulls also breeding in the same habitat.  The bird above is a downy Black-headed Gull.

There appears to be a fuzzy, little tennis ball just to the left of the Oystercatcher.  But, as can be seen in the photo below, there are actually two Oystercatcher babies.  Oystercatcher was seen commonly at all locations throughout my trip - here at Rutland Water.

Fuzzy little Common Moorhen at Rutland Water.

Begging Razorbill

On Ramsey Island there were many fledged Wheatear.

Adult Pied Wagtail (Motacilla alba) were around in a variety of locations.  Early in the morning I saw them feeding in the grass, but they were, at least for me, impossible to sneak up on for a close photo.  So when on Ramsey Island the RSPB staff told me that a Pied Wagtail had fledged from its nest behind their building earlier in the morning, I went out immediately to find the bird.  It was already a skillful flyer.

Newly fledged Pied Wagtail

Father Chaffinch feeding fledgling.

I saw all of the tits (with the exception of the Crested Tit which is only in northern Scotland) and most often I think they had fledglings with them.  The tree stump above has a cavity just left of center which housed nestling Blue Tits (Parus caeruleus).  But why include a photo of a tree stump with invisible nestlings?  Both parents were feeding the nestlings and were completely bedraggled and frenetic with the activity.  Each time they approached or left the cavity, which was often, they would perch on the stump just above the cavity.  I must have tried two dozen times for a photo of the perched parent Blue Tit before giving up.  I include a photo of the stump for the memory of this frustrating experience.        

Bringing up the rear, Greylags with goslings were common at Rutland Water.

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