Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Rough-legged Buzzard in the snow

the Ferriby bird is surviving but with such depths of snow how is it feeding? BWPii notes Daily food requirements c. 10% of body weight (Craighead and Craighead 1956), equivalent to 80–120 g per day or 4–6 small mammals

Today I had the opportunity to see at least one food item albeit a somewhat odd one; after sitting in a snow covered field looking intently at a lone Brown Hare, presumably sizing up whether it was weak enough or not, the Rough-leg flew up and hovered over the middle of the field -- it then set off in a determined level flight towards the main A1077 road -- I measured this afterwards as a distance of 397m -- as it approached the road I was concerned that it was going to get hit by a vehicle but it crashed into the reed fringed ditch on the road side and emerged with a bird in its talons; I just stuck with the camera trying to get a few images although it was a good distance off being chased by two Carrion Crows; it flew back into the snow covered field and proceeded to pluck and eat the bird that at first I thought was a Woodcock but looking at the images it was obviously a Water Rail; that the Rough-leg saw it in the reeds from 400m away is amazing; it continued to feed throughout a snow storm with feathers blowing across the open snow before returning to its favoured fence posts


Mike Watson said...

Great stuff Graham, you must be on first name terms with this bird by now?

Craig Round said...

Amazing series of photos Graham. I Guess many a Water Rail is already turning carnivorous as well in the big freeze!