Friday, 4 December 2009

Friday at the Flicks (Food and Drink)

Yesterday when I added some suet pellets to the ground feeder it didn't take long for the Magpie to spot them. As it was getting late in the day it decided the best thing to do was to collect as many as possible and hide them in the edge of the lawn.

Magpie Burying Suet Pellets

Some birds find the raised edging round the pond is just right for them to get a welcome drink.

A few days ago when the Starlings descended en mass a couple of them decided they wanted fresh apple. No rotten old windfalls for these. Much better to eat them straight from the branch.

The action was about sixty feet away but the 70 times optical zoom on the camcorder comes into its own on these occasions. By comparison here is the same view taken with the Canon at 200mm zoom.

Starling in the Apple Tree

Hope you have some decent weather so you can enjoy observing the wildlife around you.

Mystery Bird.

As I opened the back door a bird took off from the direction of the pond. Size - larger than a Blackbird, probably about Collared Dove size. Colour very dark mottled brown. Fanned tail with slightly lighter brown curved stripes across. Unfortunately I could only see its back as it beat a hasty retreat. I assume is was a raptor. In fact a quick check of the area showed the evidence in a pile of small grey feathers. Which bird of prey was it I wonder. Now I know why there were no birds at the feeders at what is normally a busy time.


  1. Could have been a female Kestrel John.

  2. Thanks Roy. My thoughts were a toss up between a female Kestrel and a female Sparrowhawk by the size. My books show good pictures of birds in the air seen from below but this one was rising at about 45 degrees and flying away from me so I couldn't see any of the under body / wing marking at all.

  3. Hi there John,
    We were quite amazed to see the magpie hoarding the suet pellets. We didn't realise that it would/could do that. We also enjoyed the starling devouring the apple, although we don't think whoever owns the apple tree will be much pleased :)
    We think your suggestion of a female kestrel or a female sparrow hawk makes sense. We find it's always the way, isn't it - the action never takes place in the area in which the cameras are focussed on currently - it's always where the cameras had been, before they'd been moved or else, in another area altogether!

  4. Hello Twosie. Apparently Magpies are know for their food hoarding activity. A while ago I saw it bury a few peanuts one day and retrieve them the next day. This year is the first time I have seen this activity in action.

    I am beginning to think most people round here who have apple trees do nothing with the apples. There are probably hundreds of windfalls down this short lane. Just think of all the scrumpy that would make ;)

    The raptor was completely out of sight from the kitchen which was why I didn't see it until I opened the back door and it took off, together with its prize as only the feathers were left behind. That now makes three missed photo opportunities this year.

  5. I think the Magpie will have difficulty locating its hordes of suet pellets, the rain would probably melt them away into the soil, even the worms might fancy them:-)

  6. It did all right with some peanuts a while ago, Lynmiranda but you may be right about the suet as the ground is saturated. All I could see was a few narrow beak holes so the pellets were well in the ground.

  7. Great videos John.
    Love the way the Magpie bounds across the grass to get more suet pellets.
    And you can't beat fresh apples. Those Starlings looked to be really enjoying those.

  8. Thank you Keith. The Magpie often reminds me of a youngster bouncing on a space hopper. Those rosy apples do look inviting.

  9. I watched the Magpie video three times, it was such fun seeing it bouncing along and looking so pleased with itself, I was fascinated too by the way in which it dropped one of the pellets and instead of picking another was determined to have the first one!

    Ah missed photo opportunities...HLH was out with Louis earlier and a lady told him he had just missed a Crow trying to steal some food from a squirrel!

    Great flicks John and a great zoom on the camcorder too.

  10. Thank you Jan. It has me laughing every time I see a Magpie on its invisible space hopper. I must find a 'boing' sound effect. Oh yes, they don't like to see any food to escape. ;) Later on it had a beak full and spent ages trying to get one more particular piece in with the rest.

    Now the crow and the squirrel would have been an unusual capture but it's always the way - those without a camera see it, those with miss it!

    The range of zoom was the reason I bought the Panasonic. Maybe not quite as crisp as the Hitachi but it gets action other makes would miss.

  11. John, pest they may be, keep feeding them and maybe they will leave eggs alone, doubt it, like all crows they survive. I love watching your video, makes my Friday or in this case Saturday.

  12. Thank you Adrian. I wonder what happened to the other Magpies. The Spring ended with a pair and three young. I am fairly sure one was hit by a car. Maybe they each have a territory of their own now. Mind you one is plenty to keep me entertained.

  13. Terrific photos and video of the bouncy Magpie. Your zoom lens is amazing. I'd like to have a go with it when looking at the eagles around here!

  14. Thank you Glo. The Magpies are always fascinating to watch. They always look like sneak thieves, looking around to see who is watching before darting in to snatch some food.

    The zoom lens is great with creatures which don't move around too much or too fast as they can soon move out of view. Also it needs a stable tripod as the slightest movement sends the picture all over the place. It would be great with soaring eagles gliding up in the sky.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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