Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 07/09/2012

Sorry to Boar you!




Wild Boar piglets, originally uploaded by http://andrewskelton.net.

Despite the lack of wildlife photography on my Flickr account and therefore on this blog, I have been out and about and witnessed some spectacles I’ve not seen before (some which I’d forgotten about). About a month back, whilst parking my car in a particularly leafy car park I heard a bird call that isn’t as widespread as it used to be, unmistakable once you know what to listen out for and one that promises a real treat if you can locate the bird. With it’s scarlet red breast and black cap, there’s no mistaking a Bullfinch and once you’ve seen one, well you want to see them all the time so you can imagine I was quite excited to hear the call and then I slowly edged my way to where I thought the song was coming from. Locating the correct tree, I had to edge around to a point where I could see the bird, but there wasn’t just one bird… there were three – the parent bird was feeding two young. You guessed it, I didn’t have my camera to hand!

I’ve mentioned before about the numerous squirrels that visit our garden, though more recently they’ve been conspicuous by their absence until two days ago and what a show they put on. Whenever I’m in the kitchen or dining room, I’m continually scanning the wooded area that backs onto our garden looking for some signs of wildlife.. it’s a habit the whole family has adopted. It often pays great dividends and we’ve seen some great birds along our perimeter, the latest a beautiful Wood Warbler which was picking off insects that were close to the trampoline much to the annoyance of the resident Robin. I almost did a double take when I first glanced across to a holly tree which was shaking violently… thinking that I was about to see something special, something huge with a big point beak, sharp claws and a mean stare until I realised the resident squirrel was back (it has a nick in its ear, that’s how I can tell… if you were wondering) and not only back, but back in style. This little grey demon was gripping one of the Holly branches with it’s hind claws and displaying amazing acrobatic skills as it stretched down to reach some ripe blackberries that were just within reach. You guessed it, I didn’t have my camera to hand!

My final tale for tonight, Dear Reader, was witnessed this morning when out and about before the hustle and bustle of the madding crowd. This time I heard a call I didn’t recognise at all, let alone ID it, so once again listening carefully and ensuring I was as quiet as I could be I made my way to where the noise was coming from. Up in a tree I could see a largish bird which I quickly identified as a Jay, a bird whose call is more discordant than it is dulcet so I quickly discounted it as the song’s source. I then spotted a second Jay, then a third, fourth and finally fifth bird all congregated together, appearing to be slowly waking up. Still, it couldn’t be these birds.. could it? I then noticed one of the larger birds had it’s wings outstretched as if it were mantling (birds of pray cover food they’ve caught with their wings, shielding it from prying (and preying) eyes), its crest was puffed up and it was making the most beautiful song I’ve heard in a long time. You guessed it, I didn’t have my camera to hand! Nor something to record the song with!

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