Monday 8 February 2010

Look out for - Buzzard Behaviour

Two things for you to look out for in the forthcoming period and an unusual observation today to tell you about.

The first I was reminded of the other day when I witnessed it again.  I have now seen it three times, in each case at this time of the year.

It was this week two years ago that I went and stayed with Dave and Marion while they were still in Switzerland.  We were driving back towards Dave's apartment, having had a great day out.  There had been quite a bit of heavy rain while we had been in a hide, fortunately.  I noticed a couple of buzzards out on a  freshly ploughed field, then I noticed more and more and more.  It seemed that the rain had bought the worms to the surface and the Buzzards were down for a feast.  There were at least 12 of them if I recall correctly.

Then twelve months ago, after a similar heavy rain shower near to Stratford , I saw the same phenomenon on my way to work, except this time I counted seventeen in two adjacent fields.

Finally, last week, the same but only five this time.

The next bit of behaviour to watch out for is the mating aerobatic flying.  Hopefully on a good sunny day at this time of year, you can observe the male displaying with an almost roller-coaster type flight where it stoops, ball shaped, then pulls out and zoom climbs with the speed gathered in the dive to carry it back up.  It is fantastic to see - so keep your eyes peeled.

The observation that surprised me today happened very early as I was driving to work.  I needed to get in even earlier than normal, and it was still pitch black.  It was near a reasonably lit roundabout that I noticed movement to my left, and then watched a buzzard flying low, making small stoops from about a metre above the ground.  Clearly this was one hungry bird after some very small prey, but very early.  And I thought they were traditional day time hunters.....I guess when needs must at this time of year.

Now have we got a treat for you later this week.

My good friend Robbie Brookes has written an article as our next guest photographer, and I am so excited to be able to share his words and images with you.  The article covers four seasons of wildlife on Shetland

So make sure you stay with us.


1 comment:

  1. Interesting observations, Martin.

    I too have noticed that buzzards appear to spend a fair bit of time on the ground "worming". I noticed this almost daily in open fields during prolonded wet days - last November especially. However this was the odd bird or so - nothing like the numbers you've experienced. I also wonder how much this apparent increased adaptability of the Buzzard has "contributed" to the reduction in lamppost sightings on dual carriageways of the Kestrel. I remember just a decade or so back how the one or two kestrels I used to regularly see over a 5 mile stretch has been "replaced" by 3 or maybe 4 Buzzards. Don't get me wrong I am equally impressed by both species but I wonder if the apparent success of the Buzzard is due to it's greater adaptability and obvious size?

    Interesting post and I'm sure Robbie's forthcoming seasonal look at Shetland will be highly inspirational. Good timing and topical as you may be aware Simon King has just started a series on the Shetlands on BBC2 - beautiful and truly wild place - I'm hooked!

    Best regards