This week in the blog, I’ll be catching you all up with some of the emails that I receive regarding everything from wildlife stories, identification help, and the questions and photographs that you all send in to the team here at Natures Home magazine. I love this part of what I do with the RSPB, so it’s only fair that I talk about it! As I’m normally off gallivanting with my camera, and due to the sheer volume of emails that we receive, I often play catch up with the emails for which I apologise. But I do my absolute best to answer each and every email I receive, and I may even cover an email that you sent in yourself a little while ago, so do read on!
The question that I chose for this week’s blog comes from Sarah Isherwood-Harris, who asks if birds of prey such as kestrels perch atop poles and posts in order to conserve their energy. Her question was even accompanied with a lovely image of a Kestrel taking off from a lamp post!
Photo by Sarah Isherwood-Harris
Birds of prey such as kestrels will use high points within their territory to their advantage. It grants them a view out over the area that they typically hunt, and they would much rather save their energy by perching and looking out over the field instead of flying and hovering. I’ve seen this behaviour myself in an area local to where I live. Telephone wires run directly through the middle of a field that the kestrels hunt in, and they often perch at various points along the wire as it gives them a clear view with which to spot voles and mice to prey upon. You can read more about kestrels on the RSPB’s web page.
First up is one of the many identification requests that are sent in to us here at Natures Home magazine. This one I wouldn’t have actually got had I not encountered the same little critter just a few days before the email, resulting in me looking it up myself. At a glance it looks a little unusual for what it is, so let’s see what you all make of it. Post your guesses in the comments below! I have a feeling this could be an easy one for many of you out there...
Photo by Norman Hall – Norman found some of these peculiar flying insects in his conservatory in August. Do you know what it is? All shall be revealed in good time!
Over the weeks since the Big Garden Birdwatch there have been large numbers of emails expressing their frustration at their garden birds! Why? Well, it seems that for some of our readers, the birds of their garden caught wind of the dates that the Big Garden Birdwatch was taking place this year, and decided to boycott it! Never fear though, because the results of the Birdwatch for 2014 have been released, and you can read a little more about what we found out on the Birdwatch results page, as well as some handy tips on how you and your family can provide for the wildlife in your garden.
You will notice that the mild winter weather that we’ve had has resulted in a few changes of position in the top ten list of garden birds spotted this year, and some nice surprise entries into the top twenty! Let us know if you had any surprise sightings (or disappointing turnouts!) for your Garden Birdwatch in the comment section below.
For those of you who take interest in what I get up to (all two of you), never fear! I wouldn’t dream of depriving you of my goings on, so I thought I would include a quick few words about what I’ve been up to. You can keep up to date with all of my goings on by following me on Facebook (Ed Marshall Wild Images) and Twitter (@edmarshallphoto)!
Last Friday saw me accompany the MSc Biological Photography and Imaging students of The University of Nottingham down to Slimbridge Wetland Centre. Having been before I knew that the best sort of shots I could get would be nice intimate portraits of the various species that you can encounter here, both captive and wild. There are obviously a great many wetland species to be seen at Slimbridge, but there are also many more common “garden variety” species that allow you to approach much closer than normal. I thought it was important not to miss an opportunity like this so I fired away, and here are just a handful of the images that I captured…
Copyright Ed Marshall. As they are more comfortable around humans at places such as Slimbridge Wetland Centre, you can get much more intimate portraits of common species. Try changing the perspective too by getting on their eye level.
Copyright Ed Marshall. A male Goldeneye duck, with its brilliantly golden eye!
Copyright Ed Marshall. Close up portraits such as this can reveal details that you may never have noticed before. Notice the elliptical pupil on this wood pigeon!
Copyright Ed Marshall. Even the much more timid species such as this grey heron are a little more accepting of my presence.
Copyright Ed Marshall. And lastly, it's important that you don't pack your camera equipment away when the heavens open. A plastic bag is all you need to keep the water off your kit, and with a little hole where the lens goes means you can keep shooting away to capture images with another side to the story.