Gannet with nesting materials

Gannet with nesting materials

This Gannet is collecting a pile of grass for its nest on the top of a cliff.

Gannet with nesting materials

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The biggest of the European seabirds with a wingspan of up to 1.8m (6ft).

Adult gannets are large and bright white with black wingtips. They are distinctively shaped with a long neck and long pointed beak, long pointed tail, and long pointed wings.

At sea they flap and then glide low over the water, often travelling in small groups.

feeding by flying high and circling before plunging into the sea to catch fish.

They breed in significant numbers at only a few localities and so is an Amber List species.

Foxy Little Lady

foxy little lady

Foxy little lady – approximately one year old 
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Red foxes are small-to-medium-sized, omnivorous mammals .

They have a flattened skull, upright triangular ears, a pointed slightly upturned snout and a long bushy tail .

Red foxes are usually together in pairs or small groups consisting of families.  Such as a mated pair and their young, or a male with several females having kinship ties. The young of the mated pair remain with their parents to assist in caring for new kits.

Diet

 The species primarily feeds on small rodents, though it may also target rabbitsgame birdsreptilesinvertebrates and young ungulates.

Fruit and vegetable matter is also eaten sometimes. Blackberries being a natural laxative help the foxes get rid of worms.

 

European juvenile Shag

European juvenile Shag – A rare surprise visit inland at a local lake

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The European shag or common shag is a species of cormorant . It breeds around the rocky coasts of western and southern Europe, southwest Asia and north Africa, mainly wintering in its breeding range except for the northernmost birds. In Britain this seabird is usually referred to as simply the shag.

This is a medium-large black bird 68 to 78 cm long and with a 95-to-110-centimetre wingspan. It is distinguished from the great cormorant by its smaller size, lighter build and thinner bill.

Habitat and Feeding

It feeds in the sea, and, unlike the great cormorant, is rare inland. It will winter along any coast that is well-supplied with fish.

The European shag is one of the deepest divers among the cormorant family.

They will eat a wide range of fish but their commonest prey is the sand eel.

In UK coastal waters, dive times are typically around 20 to 45 seconds, with a recovery time of around 15 seconds between dives, this is consistent with aerobic diving.

It breeds on coasts, nesting on rocky ledges or in crevices or small caves.

 

Barn Owl on stump

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The Barn Owl – With heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white underparts.

The barn owl is a medium-sized, pale-coloured owl with long wings and a short, squarish tail. There is considerable size variation across the subspecies with a typical specimen measuring about 33 to 39 cm (13 to 15 in) in overall lengt. Barn owls have a typical wingspan of some 80 to 95 cm (31 to 37 in).

The barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird.

Widely distributed across the UK, and indeed the world,  also referred to as the common barn owl. The Tytonidae, which forms one of the two main lineages of living owls, and the other being the typical owls (Strigidae).

Barn owls have suffered declines through the 20th century. It is thought to have been adversely affected by organochlorine pesticides such as DDT in the 1950s and ’60s.

Due to barns owls being mainly nocturnal birds they are poorly monitored by the Breeding Bird Survey. Because of  this, numbers may have increased between 1995-2008.

The barn owl is nocturnal over most of its range, but in Britain and some Pacific islands, it also hunts by day.  A specialist  in hunting animals on the ground.

Nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound, their hearing being very acute. They mate for life unless one of the pair gets killed, when a new pair bond may be formed. Breeding takes place at varying times of year according to locality, with a clutch, averaging about four eggs, being laid in a nest in a hollow tree, old building or fissure in a cliff. The female does all the incubation, and she and the young chicks are reliant on the male for food.

Barn owls are a Schedule 1 and 9 species.

Short Eared Owl in flight

Short Eared Owl in flight

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The short-eared owl occurs on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. It is partially migratory, moving south in winter.

The short-eared owl  is a species of typical owl . 

known as the eared owls, as they have tufts of feathers resembling mammalian ears. These “ear” tufts may or may not be visible.

A medium-sized owl measuring 34–43 cm in length and weighing 206–475 g. It has large eyes, a big head, a short neck, and broad wings.Its bill is short, strong, hooked and black. Plumage is mottled tawny to brown with a barred tail and wings.

Behaviour

It will also wander nomadically in search of better food supplies during years when vole populations are low.

Hunting occurs mostly at night, Its daylight hunting seems to coincide with the high-activity periods of voles, its preferred prey.

Several owls may hunt over the same open area.

 

Short Eared Owl portrait

Short Eared Owl portrait

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The short-eared owl occurs on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. It is partially migratory, moving south in winter.

The short-eared owl  is a species of typical owl . 

known as the eared owls, as they have tufts of feathers resembling mammalian ears. These “ear” tufts may or may not be visible.

A medium-sized owl measuring 34–43 cm in length and weighing 206–475 g. It has large eyes, a big head, a short neck, and broad wings.Its bill is short, strong, hooked and black. Plumage is mottled tawny to brown with a barred tail and wings.

Behaviour

It will also wander nomadically in search of better food supplies during years when vole populations are low.

Hunting occurs mostly at night, Its daylight hunting seems to coincide with the high-activity periods of voles, its preferred prey.

Several owls may hunt over the same open area.

 

Juvenile Barn Owl in flight

Juvenile Barn Owl in flight

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The Barn Owl – With heart-shaped face, buff back and wings and pure white underparts.

The barn owl is a medium-sized, pale-coloured owl with long wings and a short, squarish tail. There is considerable size variation across the subspecies with a typical specimen measuring about 33 to 39 cm (13 to 15 in) in overall lengt. Barn owls have a typical wingspan of some 80 to 95 cm (31 to 37 in).

The barn owl is a distinctive and much-loved countryside bird.

Widely distributed across the UK, and indeed the world,  also referred to as the common barn owl. The Tytonidae, which forms one of the two main lineages of living owls, and the other being the typical owls (Strigidae).

Barn owls have suffered declines through the 20th century. It is thought to have been adversely affected by organochlorine pesticides such as DDT in the 1950s and ’60s.

Due to barns owls being mainly nocturnal birds they are poorly monitored by the Breeding Bird Survey. Because of  this, numbers may have increased between 1995-2008.

The barn owl is nocturnal over most of its range, but in Britain and some Pacific islands, it also hunts by day.  A specialist  in hunting animals on the ground.

Nearly all of their food consists of small mammals which they locate by sound, their hearing being very acute. They mate for life unless one of the pair gets killed, when a new pair bond may be formed. Breeding takes place at varying times of year according to locality, with a clutch, averaging about four eggs, being laid in a nest in a hollow tree, old building or fissure in a cliff. The female does all the incubation, and she and the young chicks are reliant on the male for food.

Barn owls are a Schedule 1 and 9 species.

 

Buzzard in Flight

Buzzard in Flight

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Juvenile detention

Juvenile detention

A comical juvenile little owl several months old looking out of a old disused barn.
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Wide spread in Europe , the little owl is small and chunky measuring roughly 21 cm in height.

This small owl was introduced to the UK in the 19th century.
It can be seen in the daylight, usually perching on a tree branch, telegraph pole or rock. It will bob its head up and down when alarmed.
In flight it has long, rounded wings, rapid wing beats and flies with a slight undulation.

Breeding Bird Survey data suggest that little owl numbers are declining, with the UK population estimated to be down by 24 per cent between 1995 and 2008.

This particular little owl nests in a old unused barn and it very timid, the sex of little owls is unknown without a medical.

Kingfisher at the sluice

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Widely distributed over Europe, Asia, and North Africa . Migrates from areas where rivers freeze in winter.

Kingfisher are small  bright blue and orange birds of slow moving or still water.

Feeding by flying rapidly, low over water.  Hunting for fish from riverside perches, hovering above the water’s surface.

Important members of ecosystems and good indicators of freshwater community health.

Breeding

Common kingfishers are highly territorial,  and must eat around 60% of its body weight each day. so it is essential to have control of a suitable stretch of river.

Solitary for most of the year, roosting alone in heavy cover. 

Courtship is initiated by the male chasing the female while calling continually, and later by ritual feeding, with copulation usually following.

Nests are  excavated by both birds of the pair in a low vertical riverbank.

kingfisher typically lays two to ten glossy white eggs

Both sexes incubate by day, but only the female at night.

The eggs hatch in 19–20 days, and the altricial young are in the nest for a further 24–25 days, often more.

Survival

When Juveniles are large enough,  the young birds will come to the burrow entrance to be fed.

The early days for fledged juveniles are more hazardous. During its first dives into water, about four days after leaving the nest, a fledgling may become waterlogged and drown.

Very vulnerable to hard winters and habitat degradation through pollution or unsympathetic management of watercourses. Kingfishers are amber listed because of their unfavourable conservation status in Europe.

Listed as a Schedule 1 species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act offering them additional protection.