January 2007

Another trip down to Gigrin Farm yielded some more action shots of Kites and Buzzards.

If you've never been to Gigrin, the show starts at 2pm in the winter (3pm in summer) with the owner of the farm spreading the day's meat over the field in front of the 5 large east-facing hides. He uses up to 1/4 tons of lean beef every week.

Chris Powell spreading the day's meat

Once he has got back in his tractor and left the field it only takes a few moments for the spectacle to begin, with up to 400 Red Kites swooping in to grab some meat. They rarely land, so you have to be quick to catch the action.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

Buzzards are also attracted to the free meal, but unlike the Kites they land and eat their meal on the ground. The bird below was caught just before touchdown...

Eurasian Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

The weather was a bit variable this time, ranging from bright sunshine to violent hailstorms. Sometimes both simultaneously!

Eurasian Buzzard (Buteo buteo) flying through a hailstorm

Eurasian Buzzard (Buteo buteo) flying through a hailstorm

Swallow Prominent (Pheosia tremula)

The dark rainclouds with the low sun reflecting on the bird's underwings did, however, make a more dramatic background than the normal white clouds.

Red Kite (Milvus milvus)

Despite the ample supply of meat, squabbles are frequent...

Eurasian Buzzards (Buteo buteo)

The Ravens seemed even shier than usual this time and rarely came close.

Common Raven (Corvus corax)

Closer to home, I took advantage of the first sunny Sunday in over a month and visited a local country park. The Bittern that had been wintering in the reedbed put in a brief, but distant, appearance for the lucky few who were in the hide just after sunrise. The photo below is heavily cropped.

Bittern (Botaurus stellaris)

On the open water, a Great Crested Grebe was quite confiding despite the hoards of screaming kids feeding the Mallards only a few metres further down the shoreline.

Great Crested Grebe (Podiceps cristatus)

December 2006 2007 Diary Index February 2007