Friday, August 05, 2011

2 for the price of one ....

The foxes are a longer term project, but for a while now I've had another idea in mind.  Earlier in the year we put down a dead chicken in Rich's field with the trail cam on it.  Over a few days we filmed a buzzard and a fox at the carcass, and of note to me was the fact that the buzzard was feeding in good light.  The spot wasn't really ideal for photo's, although I have some thoughts about a snow or frost scene I might try for next winter. 
The idea of putting down some bait for buzzards is hardly new.  Dave Slater (see links) had some shots he'd taken from his hide, and of course at places like Gigrin Farm there are plenty of buzzards down with the red kites.  However my time for photography is quite limited so I always saw it as a gamble.  Near the village there are several fields where the short grass betrays a good rabbit population, 
and when I started to hear the unmistakable mewing of the newly fledged buzzards in the area I thought it might be worth a bash.  Then one day Kay had been walking the dog and told me about seeing several buzzards down in one field.
So there I was, up early on a Saturday morning cruising the local lanes for overnight roadkill.  All I found was a long dead and tatty cat, which didn't meet my needs!  I tried again on Sunday and there was a large and very fresh roadkill rabbit, duly scooped up into a bag.  
I seriously doubted whether a hide would be tolerated so I found a spot on the edge of some trees where I could hide and put down the rabbit a reasonable way off in the hope I wouldn't put the birds off.  For an hour or two my frustration grew, as I could hear several buzzards calling, but none too near, and none obviously moving.  The rabbits were around though.
Suddenly l heard a different type of call, and more than that it was right over my head.  Next thing I knew not one but two birds appeared on the ground in front of me.  It was apparent straight away that this wasn't a vulture 'share the carcass' scenario, but very much a case of pecking order.  The bird that won out did the classic mantling you see from raptors, 

spreading it's wings to shield even a sight of the prey from the other bird which just sat around looking a bit sorry for itself.  The single bird shots are all crops but they don't look too bad on screen, so click on them for bigger views.

After a fair while there was a sudden flurry of activity and the other bird dived in.  By now the first had eaten a fair bit so it gave way.

At the end the bird tried to carry away the remains in a cloud of flies, but it was obvious this big rabbit was too challenging, and in the end the birds flew off.  A third had appeared, but this one didn't come down to stay.  Sorry a few of these shots are a little gruesome!

I decided to leave the remains and went off for a late breakfast.  That afternoon the dog and I went back, and there was nothing at all to be seen, so obviously something had tidied up.
So in the space of a few weeks I'd achieved two planned sets of pictures -  a nice feeling of achievement.
As always better views can be seen on the web albums HERE.

1 comment:

Brian J Davis said...

A cracking and worthwhile project. well done on some excellent shots. I wish I had your perseverence.
Keep up the good work.