Thursday, 27 March 2014

Good and sad sightings

Its always a sad sight to see dead birds especially those beside the road. Last week I was giving talks on Shetland to two groups on in Nottingham and then at Boston RSPB group in the evening. Travelling down the A52 was interesting with many wood pigeon and corvids around.

We stopped for a cuppa and a bite to eat some way before Boston and was lucky enough to see a male Marsh Harrier closely followed by a female.I gather that in this part of the county they have started to nest in oil seed rape crops, very similar to the ones in France. This is all down to expanding numbers with birds moving away from traditional reedbed nest sites.

Also as the light dropped a barn owl made an appearance, they always seem more numerous in this part of the country. It moved back and forth along a ditch and made one attempt to catch some prey item. Also we were very lucky to also see a short eared owl close to as it flew along parallel to the road over weedy ground. This is a favored habitat for this day flying species, normally though we see them in winter in Lincolnshire.

The only disappointment to this day was the number of dead Tawny Owls along the A52 , we counted 7 dead ones and 1 dead barn owl. They often come close to the road side as the traffic disturbs the small mammals and end up being hit by passing traffic.

Often small birds such as Blackbirds also get killed as they have changed their flight path to a very low road crossing trying to avoid sparrowhawks. A dead badger and fox also highlighted that roads are very dangerous places for all wildlife.

In Shetland i have seen a number of gulls, Rooks at Kergord, numerous rabbits and even a Polecat ferret dead at the side of the road, so even here people drive too fast !
                                                                                          Dead Rook at Kergord

Down in Boston as we ate our sandwiches we looked over to the Boston Stump and saw a Peregrine, near the tower. They failed to breed last year due to disturbance but a pair have been present for a few weeks. The pair nesting in Sheffield city centre now have 3 eggs and have been successful for a number of years

                                                                      Sheffield peregrines now with 3 eggs

As regards the talks, the evening one , very well attended, had the most people out of one group that had visited Shetland - 7 people. they all had stories some from 30 years ago. I really should be getting a job with the tourist board with the amount of publicity talks i do. Shetland is the most requested talk I give, with about 1/5 of the 35-40 talks a year.


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