Friday, 3 September 2010

Friday 3rd.September 2010

Over breakfast , with mist swirling around the back garden , I made a snap decision to visit RSPB Elmley on the Isle of Sheppey today .
The mist soon lifted and turned into a very reasonable day . Shame the same couldn't be said for the birding . It was really hard work , but I will post the details of the visit tomorrow , as I will be copicing with the Surrey Hedgelaying Group all day , and unlikely to see much wildlife .
Tonight , I would like to share a ten minute slice out of today's visit which I really enjoyed , one of those magical moments . Having returned from the hides to the car park , I was about to have my lunch , when I spotted these three juvenile Swallows , sitting on a fence rail .
They spent most of their time preening and making sure everything was just right .
Every now and again , the preening stopped , when one of the adults arrived with food .
Then , from somewhere , a fourth youngster arrived on the fence .
Which meant even more competition for each adult visit . At one point , one of the adults stopped for a rest for a few minutes .
Then it was back to the preening and watching .Suddenly , several alarm calls rang out , to warn of a Sparrowhawk hunting in the area .
The chirping and preening stopped , and all four turned sideways on , so there was nothing showing over the fence rail they were sitting on . Motionless , they stayed like that for a good five minutes , when the all clear was announced , and it was back to the feeding and preening .

6 comments:

Warren Baker said...

That really is a classic photo of them all looking skywards Greenie :-)

Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
Nice Photo's of the juvenile Swallows.
What time was you at Elmley? Did you see the temmincks Stint at all?

Wilma said...

Very interesting behavior that you documented, Greenie.

Greenie said...

Ken ,
I arrived at 0915 and left at 1330 , but only visited Wellmarsh hide , which only held the usual outside . Very quiet along track , but didn't see the TS .

ShySongbird said...

A really delightful post and series of photos, Greenie. I particularly like the third one down. As you so rightly say, the whole episode was one of those magical moments that you can't put a price on!

Kingsdowner said...

Impressive description and interpretation of the youngsters' reaction to the Sparrowhawk, Fred.
With good pics too.