Swifts, badger cubs and a hobby.

May 07, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

As spring moves sluggishly on - the wildlife does its best to cope with the cool temperatures, frost (this morning) and constant low pressure and rain (or threat of).

I noticed a strange falcon flying quickly, very high above our house this afternoon. I say strange because kestrels fly lower generally and peregrines are chunkier (with short tails). The falcon was little more than a dot, high in the sky, but a lifetime of peering into the sky (wasting my time many would say) has enabled me to pick these things out occasionally....

I immediately thought "hobby" and my terrible photo (enlarged by about 12x to see any detail at all) confirmed a russet-coloured vent area and heavy mottling on the chest and underwing. Hobby indeed - and the first I've seen from the garden this year. A nice treat for me, but not for any swifts - as the hobby is the only bird (in the world) that occasionally is quick enough to catch a swift (or more probably a swallow!)

Talking of swifts - getting terrible withdrawal symptoms from my lack of swifts in our new town (despite my CD calling them in), I drove to a large gravel pit about 15 miles away and spent a lovely afternoon watching dozens of my favourite birds hunt low over the water.

I was joined by an old boy with a camera  - also bewitched by these birds and we spent a very amusing couple of hours trying to get shots of these avian missiles.

Not much joy I'm afraid, but two shots can be found at the bottom of this post.

As for the badger cubs - it looks likely from CCTV footage, that the local badgers have indeed raised three cubs at the sett - and all three seems to be parading around above ground already.

They are very big and bold cubs it seems (although its difficult to tell as the CCTV footage is so poor) - and I set the trail cam up on site at lunch today, with a view to getting some half-decent HD video clips of the new family.

Watch this space!




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