Are they ill, or are they having a rest?
(Click on image to enlarge)
21st September 2011: I am at home, stretched out on my reclining chair. My thinking cap is well and truly pulled over my brow. In this condition I have made connections between the dead blackbird mentioned in my post of 19th September, and various other blackbirds and pigeons that I have found similarly afflicted. These birds were found on the mash over a three-month period, in one particularly small patch of grass . I have commented on some of these birds in earlier blog posts. I am seriously considering the validity of these connections, and I intend to get to the bottom of this bird mystery! I should have cottoned-on to this mystery ages ago. Could I be experiencing age-related brain befuddling? I don’t know! I must have stood over half-dozen dead or stunned blackbirds and pigeons, and wondered if they were ill or just tired. I have a strong suspicion that the buzzards are the culprits here. I feel that I didn’t examine the dead blackbird closely enough – the foxes will have eaten it by now. My impression is that there was one set of buzzard sized talon punctures in the blackbird’s body.
Could a kestrel have brought these birds down? I saw a kestrel hovering over the lagoon field that same day. The kestrels appear on the marsh when the undergrowth starts to thin out. Whether it was a buzzard or kestrel that brought these birds down, why didn’t they eat them? Kestrels go for small prey, like mice. I saw a sparrow hawk flying across the lagoon field that evening, too. A buzzard will not take moving prey; they are slow flyers. A buzzard will wait perched on a tree branch for its prey to land or walk below it. When the prey is stationary, the buzzard will swoop down and grab it.
Wandering the marsh is all about making connections. This is one of the main things that make the whole process so interesting. Obviously, my old noggin should translate all the available bits of visual information flowing through my eyes and flick the connection switch when it thinks I have seen something that it considers to be of particular interest me. I can then don my Sherlock Holmes hat and investigate the matter further. It has taken me three months to acknowledge these connections, and that’s too long in my book.
I am a little confused on another matter. I spotted a polecat at the bottom of fox hollow this morning – this is at the southern end of Hoo Wood. Well, my brain said polecat, and I have owned a few ferrets and polecats in my time, but I can’t help wondering if what I actually saw was a squirrel. It didn’t run like a squirrel, I can say that – all four legs seemed to be moving independently. First, I see a ferret and now a polecat? Am I hallucinating? I think I will withhold judgement on this for the time being. The solution is to photograph the darn things, but they are fast-moving critters. I am slow-moving in comparison, both mentally and physically. I don’t usually find it difficult photographing squirrels. The problem might be that, whilst I am able to see more animals, now that the undergrowth has shrunk back, it is taking me a while to get my eye in. I am seeing things that I am not expecting to see and that’s always a bit disconcerting.
Ah well! There is always tomorrow. I might find my answers tomorrow.
These are links to previous stunned bird posts.