To see “A Pheasants Year”please select Nature Notes
Partridge on her nest
Crows are not amused by the presence of a buzzard
August 2015Although the weather has been less than ideal there is always something to see. The moorhens have hatched a second brood of chicksand at just a day old the parents have them out in the field. It is always amusing to see five black tennis balls running around. Something I have never seen before is the chicks from the first brood helping to feed the younger ones. The mother moorhen is very protective and will fly at anything that gets too close to her brood. Even the grey squirrel makes a run for the nearest tree.Most of the female pheasantshave disappeared either nesting or finding plenty of food elsewhere. Only "Brownie", another female and a cock bird remain. Brownie was hatched in the field two years ago, one of the few to survive. Pheasants seem to be poor parents and mortality amongst the chicks is high. Brownie is now very tame, she follows me around and will eat out my hand. A pair of partridgesare around but much more secretive than the pheasants. Perhaps because of this they seem to make much better parents and rear more of their chicks.
The numbers of collared doves fluctuates wildly, mainly due to the sparrow hawk, if the piles of feathers are anything to go by. Cleverly the hawk never wipes them out completely and always seems to leave a pair to breed again. Collared doves are easy to recognise by their brown grey almost pinkish feathers and black half collar around the neck. The wood pigeon is a much larger bird with white neck patches. Usually seen in the company of the collared doves and wood pigeons are stock doves. They are smaller than the wood pigeon and easily distinguished as they have a glossy green patch on the neck instead of a white one.Russell, the crow, arrived three years ago unable to fly due to a damaged wing. Somehow, with some extra food, he managed to survive and was able to fly again. He soon found a mate and every year brings the youngsters to show them where the food is. He will sit and caw loudly until thrown some bread which he then takes away piece by piece and carefully hides it in the grass. I am not sure if he does this to save it for later or if he is showing the youngsters how to search for food. This year he has just arrived with four young.Badgers make their nocturnal visits carefully digging holes to use as latrines. Occasionally a fox is seen out and about during the day. The rabbits are multiplying as only rabbits can despite the best efforts of the buzzards and a large ginger cat which is a regular visitor. The buzzardsare less frequent visitors at this time of year. They may be nesting but if they do appear the crows soon see them off. At other times of the year they coexist reasonably happily. Look out for the kite now an almost daily visitor. Kites are easily distinguished from buzzards by their narrower wings and deeply forked tail. Another, less regular, visitor has been a little egret. Smaller than a heron it is pure white with black legs and yellow feet.