Showing posts from July, 2016

Photographing Hares at the Badger Sett

It's been too long since I last saw a hare in the wild. I recall the last time being when walking through woodland around Marlborough, when we glimpsed two hares in a small clearing. They stood around a bit, before having a quick box and then scampered off into the trees.

So this morning I was very pleased to see four hares in an open field, again near Marlborough. In fact these hares were in the same field as the badger sett we have been following with camera traps for over three years now. We were at the sett collecting the camera trap this morning, when we were greeted by the sight of four hares scattered across the field. So after we had grabbed the camera trap, we headed into the field to see how close we could get.

At first, there were two hares clearly out in the open, so we set about getting photographs of them before they headed too far away for photos. But we then realised there were two more hares hunkered down in the grass much closer to where we were standing. So we att…

My post on the BTO Young Birders Blog

This is just a quick post to share my blog I wrote for the BTO's Young Birders Blog on Nocturnal Birding, the opportunities it offers, and some of the amazing nocturnal birds that can be seen after dark.

You can read the blog post here:

I was given the opportunity to write this blog whilst on work experience at the BTO, and chose to focus on a new aspect of birding that I have just discovered - birding at night.

As I explain in my post, nocturnal birding is exciting, different and presents a whole new cast of birds, the majority of which are elusive and mysterious, making it all the more exciting when you see one.

"The birds that hunt and operate after the sun has set are almost entirely different to the cast we’re all familiar with when the sun’s up. And, being harder to see and harder to spot, we don’t see them as frequently as our daytime birds, which makes finding them at night a whole lot more special. The common practice of bird ‘watching’ beco…

Conservation: Bornean Orangutan now Critically Endangered

Unfortunately, this post on conservation news is not a success story like the ones in the past. 

I was saddened last week to learn that IUCN has increased the conservation status of the Bornean Orang-utan (pongo pygmaeus) from Endangered to Critically Endangered, the highest risk category on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and only one step away from extinction.

Erik Meijaard, one of the assessors for IUCN said: “As orangutans are hunted and pushed out of their habitats, losses to this slow-breeding species are enormous and will be extremely difficult to reverse.”, thus explaining the major reasons for the new assessment of this enigmatic species.

The Bornean Orangutan has suffered a population decline of more than 60% from 1950 to 2010, which is a notable era for mass deforestation in Borneo, mainly due to the industrialisation of the region at this time. Forests were logged and burned to make way for plantations, farming and timber.

Having visited the rainforests of Borneo and w…

Dusk on the Heath (Stone Curlew!)

Whilst on the Norfolk/Suffolk border last week for my work experience at the BTO, I took the chance to visit a renowned, yet hard to find heathland nature reserve on the edge of Suffolk. The aim was to head their after work one day until it got dark, in hope of seeing Nightjar or owls. We got more than we had hoped...

We arrived at the heath at around 8:00. The reserve has a dirt track running through the centre of the heathland designed for cars, which allowed us to drive around halfway down and park the car to use as a hide until it got dark. The heath is known for its populations of nightjar, stonechat and stone curlew, with the first being the target species for the evening. For nightjar, we knew we had to wait out until it was almost too dark to see, so in the meantime we watched the bracken and heather for anything else exciting.

One of the first birds we came across was a stonechat, sitting, as they usually do, in a prominent position atop a bush. The individual stayed for a shor…

Bird Baby Boom!

We’ve reached that time of year when fledglings begin to appear, and over the past week we have seen a number of young birds from a number of species, some in and some out of their nests.
I’ll start with the birds we saw in the nest, and possibly the most exciting of the species; the House Martins, whose nest was nestled below an overhanging roof. The two chicks tucked inside were relatively old and looked as though they were close to fledging, and were both squeezed up to the edge of the nest, peering out at us staring at them from below.

In the photo above, you can see the wide gape of the House Martin chick. The gape of the young birds are particularly interesting. It is believed that the colour or patterns of the gape are an indication of the health of the chick. This therefore helps the parent birds to decide how to share the food they bring back to the nest. Studies have shown that gape colour also induces feeding, particularly red gape colour. There's more to these chicks th…