I couldn’t have been more surprised as I looked at the remote camera stills. Since the beginning of March this year we had been monitoring a nesting platform built in the highest larch in our wood, right on top of the canopy, around twenty metres above the ground. This half term, with the help of a friend and his climbing gear, the camera was retrieved – and the results were not quite as anticipated….
I don’t normally run two photo posts together, but I thought, with the gloomy news that we are facing the next lockdown, I would share something fun and hot off the press. To give you some background, last year, encouraged by sightings of ospreys over the wood (much ‘wow-ing’ and dancing at ground level on those days) we enlisted the help of our friend with climbing know how, and together we built a nesting platform in a likely site. The camera was set to take photographs of anything that came to the platform. What we did not see, when we checked the photos, was any sign of an osprey. However, the number of different species visiting the platform was impressive, and I would never have guessed the eventual occupier. I will leave you to scroll through some of the photos here and I hope you enjoy finding our surprising tenant as much as I did.
Sometimes the birds were hard to make out because they were small and blurry – like this warbler here in the bottom right.
Sometimes the birds were too big to be in shot! This is a buzzard stretching its wings.
Sometimes it was dark – here we have a tawny owl.
There were so many other visitors, including coal, blue, marsh and great tit, blackbird, robin, carrion crow, chaffinch, goldfinch, wood pigeon, greater spotted woodpecker, song thrush and wren. And it didn’t stop at birds – we had grey squirrels and bats appearing on the photographs too.
And then there was the jay, but what was that sharing the shot?
There on the screen in the bottom left corner was a mallard. Even more incredibly, she appeared to be on a nest, twenty metres up from the woodland floor. And here is what happened next:
This mallard fledged at least eleven young! Now that’s not something you see on your average osprey platform!
Of course, I shouldn’t be surprised – mallards often nest in trees, though perhaps not usually quite so high up. I’m just sorry I missed the sight of eleven or more ducklings tumbling from the sky to wander down through the wood to the estuary. What a sight it must have been…