Exit Stage Left…

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…pursued (though only briefly) by a corvid.

I always feel rather sorry for buzzards: they must be successful, because according to the RSPB they’re the UK’s most common raptor, but they never look as though they’re having much fun. While red kites are very active birds, buzzards seem to spend most of their time sitting in trees looking depressed, though they can be put to flight by almost anything (including my car slowing down gently so as to be used as a mobile bird hide). They do eat small birds and rodents if they can catch them, but seem primarily to live on carrion, and even earthworms, and during prolonged spells of bad weather they’re liable to fall victim to starvation.

As if they didn’t have enough other things to contend with, crows will attack them on sight because they’re fiercely territorial, and perceive any larger bird as a potential threat that needs to be dealt with; and though you’d imagine that a buzzard would be able to defend itself easily with its large talons, in practice they’re simply not aggressive enough to fight, so all they can do is try to get out of the way. When attacked by several crows, a buzzard can struggle to extricate itself from the situation and may be injured, but this one was seen off by a single crow, which didn’t bother to chase it very far.

I saw this scene at Napton Reservoir in Warwickshire, where I’d gone in the hope of spotting a bearded tit which has been resident there through the winter. I found the reed bed in which it’s living, and was assured by the man standing next to me on the bank that it was there yesterday (confirmed by this lovely photo taken by someone else yesterday morning) – but there was no sign of it this afternoon. Bearded tits yesterday, and bearded tits tomorrow…..

Still, if it was easy, there’d be no challenge to it, would there? And it’s the standing around in the freezing cold challenge that keeps us all so cheerful.

I’ve put a few things that were around today on my Facebook page, if you’re interested. Rather worryingly, the grebe with the fish appears to have caught one with some fishing line attached, presumably meaning that it’s also swallowed a hook – which I can’t think is going to be particularly good for it.