Sunday, 22 April 2012

Are Crows are good for Starlings?

Did a fair bit of local birding today in one form or another and I managed to get a couple of decent local area year ticks.

First off was a couple of male Common Whitethroat that were singing away, with back up in the form of a single Twite, Shelduck and female Wheatear. A nearby field held 6 male and 1 female Yellow Wagtails, several Pied and a single White Wagtail, however pride of place here went to the stonking male Wheatear. Also quite a few Skylark present too.

Wheatear (Phone-scoped)

A bit later a 'flock' of 3 Whimbrel was nice - one was colour ringed but I could only get that it had a yellow ring above the left leg as unfortunately the grass was too long.

Late in the afternoon while driving around a familiar song caught my attention and I was surprised to hear a very early Quail singing away. I listened to it for 5 minutes before I had to get on my way.

Ah, almost forgot. The blog title... Well this morning while watching the Twite I was aware of a flock of Starling feeding on some grass 10ft in front of me, when suddenly there was an awful loud squealing cry. A Sparrowhawk had dropped onto a Starling but not killed it. The birds wrestled on the ground for a minute or so as all the other birds in the area went crazy. Suddenly a Crow appeared and dive bombed the raptor a couple of times, at which point the Sparrowhawk let go of the prey and made a hasty retreat, getting smashed all the way by the Crow! Whether the Crow was defending the Starling, defending its own territory, or trying to steal the Sparrowhawks prey is debatable... but interesting to watch. The Starling took the opportunity to make a dash for it!

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