Monday, 20 October 2014

18 October 2014: Great Barrington and Christ Church , Cheltenham.

I had the afternoon to myself and decided to revisit the spot where last year we had been treated to a Great Grey Shrike and a ring-tailed Hen Harrier - near Great Barrington trig point. The light wasn't particularly good so I settled against going to the local patch and sitting in a hide and decided that I would enjoy the walk and discover for myself whether the birds were back even if I didn't get any pictures. Calling by the Deer Park first, the Fallow deer were still distant and relatively peaceful - some calling but no real action.

So, on up to the trig point and the walk. It was really very quiet to begin with and I was lucky to catch this Brown Hare.
as well as one of the many Red Kites that are staring to populate the area.

The regular Kestrel appears
There was also a fairly large flock of Starling which kept lifting from the fields into the trees and back, but there was no sign of any other threat o them than perhaps myself.

I did spook this a small group of Pheasant but managed to track this female.
At the edges of a distant field I could see a small flock of birds dropping into the field from the hedge and back again. From what I can now see, it was a flock of at least Yellowhammer and Goldfinch.
Then I returned home as I had to take the other half into town to do a bit of shopping. While she was there, I spent an hour watching the Cheltenham Peregrines as its a while since I last visited them. It would seem that they have finally managed to rid themselves of the children and have taken up residency on their winter roosting spots - the window tracery on the north side of the tower, out of the prevailing wind. Both were sat quietly when I arrived.
This is the male, having a bit of a preeen and smarten up.

Then I was treated to something I have not encountered before. Over the summer I had got used to the calls and screaming that was involved at feeding times with the chicks but had never witnessed any interaction between the adults. They appeared to start talking between themselves - a kind of "chekking" sound, during which time the male who I was watching became quite active on his perch and when I followed his eyes

I could see that the female had already taken to the air.
Minutes later the male also went but the female returned empty clawed in about 5 minutes.

The male had not returned by the time I left for homeward taxi duty.

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