Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

A Shrewd Move, Down the Lane

Dull greyness this morning was less than inspiring, but it turned to bright sunshine in the afternoon. It stayed cold though!

This morning I had another go with the Barn Owl pellets, aided by Alex who was fascinated and disgusted in equal measure. Having now done just four pellets, I've found and identified four different small mammals and can already see that there is a great deal of variation in what amount the pellets contain. A reminder that yesterday's single pellets yielded 3 Field Voles & 1 Wood Mouse.

Pellet 2 : 4 Field Voles, 1 Common Shrew
Pellet 3 : 2 Field Voles
Pellet 4 : 3 Field Voles, 2 Common Shrews, 1 Pygmy Shrew

The Shrew skulls are smaller and even more delicate than the voles, but the red teeth really stand out amongst the matted fur and bones.

Common Shrew above, Pygmy Shrew below - apart from size, the shape of the end tooth is the ID clincher.

Later in the day, I headed off for a walk down the lane. Haven't been down there in daylight for a while so was surprised to see that the verge had been massively torn up ...

Then realised that the farmer has dug out the roadside ditches. No doubt the verge will recover - hopefully before any f.wits fill the ditch with fly tipped rubbish ....

The outward bound walk was enlivened by the regular Little Owls, a couple of Buzzards and still good numbers of Fieldfare and Redwing. It was noticeable that on balance the trees, hedgerows and verges are still showing more signs of autumn and winter than spring. A few buds starting to show, but plenty of stark twigs with still-attached seeds ...


Traveller's Joy

White(?) Willow


A trio of Mallards on Whetstone brook made it onto the OFFH list before I completed a little circuit and headed back up the lane. Almost as soon as I was back on the lane I heard a distinct and vaguely familiar call. A quick scan with bins and I was pleased to see a pair of Yellowhammers - hope the stay around. Here's a pathetic record shot in poor light from distance (plus any other excuses that fit the bill).

You may well have to squint and stare to see them both ......

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