MORNING WALK INTO YEO VALLEY
WEATHER: overcast and chilly to start, some sunshine later and a little warmer
The meadow outside our garden was virtually bird free this morning, I saw a few Wood Pigeons, a single Carrion Crow and not much else.
For me, walking into the Yeo Valley every day is just like going to the same movie theatre every day but watching a different film. OK, the shape of the scenery and landscape hardly changes, only its colours, but the wildlife is different all the time, I love it.
I walked past the Nuthatch nest without seeing a Nuthatch, I watched the grey Wagtails taking food into the derelict building and I saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker sitting outside its nest hole. But, my main aim was to get to the Kingfisher's nest as early as I could.
As I approched the Kingfisher site I heard the Wren singing, out of about ten Wrens on territory along my walk this little guy has to be my favourite. I watched him singing from a perch on the washed up debris at the side of the stream and after a while I realised that he wasn't going up to his nest.
my favourite little Wren
Oh my God!! The Wren's nest was ripped to pieces and hanging down the bank!! Poor little thing was hoemless, I couldn't imagine what or who had done this, a mammal perhaps, a bird, maybe the Kingfisher??
the poor Wren's nest, feathers and moss hanging down from the bank
I took some pictures of the poor little fellow and noticed that he was looking up and then I saw what had grabbed his attention. A pair of Long-tailed Tits were robbing his nest of feathers. He made no attempt to stop them, so I think he has given up on that nest. One bird's loss is another bird's gain.
the Long-tailed Tit looking down at the Wren
the Wren looking up to the Long-tailed Tit
The Tit drops down closer to the broken nest
the Tit at the Wren's nest
thief!!! Stealing feathers from the Wren's nest
During all this action the Kingfisher turned up, he perched just below me, I froze, then I must have blinked and off he went. Within seconds of that, a Cuckoo called from across the meadow near the river Yeo, it didn't sound quite as far off as before, so I marched off to look for it.
As I reach the slope above the river Yeo a Green Woodpecker flew up off the grass and the Cuckoo called again, this time it did sound far off. I scanned the trees on the horizon and there he was, my COMMON CUCKOO, on the list for sure!!
This is where I heard the Cuckoo from. The bird was actually sitting in the most distant trees on the horizon, about a mile away I would say. I marched across this meadow and up onto the slope of the hill to take the photo below.
with my scope set at 40x magnification and phone zoomed up I got this record shot of the Cuckoo
I was buzzing now, so I walked all the way back to the Kingfisher nest and waited for a shot of this special bird. The Wren was still singing, it brought a little tear to my eye. The Kingfisher arrived from behind me, from upstream. I caught a glimpse of him in my peripheral vision and as a I turned, just 1mm to my left, off he went. I can see that this going to need a lot more planning and some better disguises.
the female Beautiful Demoiselle
So I marched across the meadow again to the slopes next to the River Yeo, the sun began to break through the high clouds and it warmed up, I took off my lightweight raincoat. Then I spent a lovely hour or so looking for things to take pictures of. I found two more Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies, I am sure one was a female and the other a teneral male.
this is probably a teneral or immature male Beautiful Demoiselle
I watched Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, Treecreepers and a whole bundle of Blue tits and Great tits and a few butterflies before I set off back home, exhausted from dashing around but thrilled to bits with my sightings!