A short sharp lesson readily learnt: if you go out searching for something, always be ready to see something else.
Two recent examples come to mind: – while looking for the best place to observe the pair of buzzards who are often busy probably raising young in the small wood at the bottom of the field opposite my garden, I was crossing the field filled by a crop of clover up to a metre high, when I saw a large brown animal leap up and away through the clover.
When it stopped to look round a few metres further on, I could see it was a large and very beautiful fox which I watched through my binoculars for five minutes before having to move. I was silent and there was no wind so the fox just sat and waited, as I sat and waited. Eventually I made a noise and it moved silently away into the nearby streambed. It is not common to see foxes out in broad daylight unless they are unafraid, or are feeding young cubs. I suspect both cases apply here.
The second example was also whilst looking at buzzards which are enjoying the warm weather soaring and displaying overhead. Today there were actually three pairs all calling and showing off to each other high over the Bank House Hotel.
A couple of days ago, I was buzzard watching again and saw a large bird fly from the Malvern Hills directly towards me. By the time it was close, I could see that it was a red kite with an obvious forked red tail which flew right overhead and onwards over the top lake. I was confused by the fact it was flying steadily without circling and soaring, which is characteristic of this pretty bird of prey.
While kites are common and breed not far from here in the Shropshire Hills and mid-Wales, they are still quite a rarity in Worcestershire and since they do not get on with buzzards which are getting very common, it may be sometime before they actually colonise the area properly by nesting. On the other hand, they may already be doing so and the landowners are keeping mum!
At other times this last week:- • Looking at damselflies, I spotted newt tadpoles • Looking at fish feeding under Bransford Bridge, I saw (very briefly) a kingfisher • Listening for garden warblers and blackcaps, I found another nest of woodpeckers along the railway trail. There is an entire world of wildlife waiting to be discovered right here in Bransford!
Keith Falconer, June 2016
Keith Falconer is a local naturalist with many years experience of observing and photographing the wildlife of this region. He has an amazing knowledge of birds and bugs and all the creatures that live around us. Every few weeks he share his seasonal account of what to look for and listen to across our wonderful nature trail.