Tuesday, July 31, 2012

UCD Sparrowhawks

So we have at least 3, possibly 6 Sparrowhawks in UCD this Summer.
From never having really seen one, I spent quite a bit of time watching one of the Sparrowhawk juveniles for well over an hour on Saturday.

It spent a lot of time at the top of a tree just sitting around, preening and being silent. I was surprised it was on its own after hearing all the raucous calling during the week, but seeing one was better than none.

Juvenile Sparrowhawk, UCD - July 28 2012

Sparrowhawk, UCD. Supercilium over the eye, together with brownish plumage means this is a juvenile. A supercilium with grey plumage would be an adult female, and no supercilium with rufous cheek and breast would be an adult male.

This juvenile is independently hunting already.

After hanging out watching the Sparrowhawk, I wandered over to the main lake to see if I could manage a photo of the Tufted duck chicks.

Tufted Duck chick, 3ish weeks old, main lake, ucd, July 28 2012.

Tufted duck chick, main lake, ucd

Tufted duck chick, ucd main lake.

Mother Tufted looks on.

One of two adult Herring gulls always around the main ucd lake.
If you had this looking at you whilst eating your sarnie at the lake, wouldn't you throw it some crumbs? With that glare I'd offer my whole lunch.

The Black headed gull numbers were up to 55 by the main lake.
All of them in different stages of summer/ winter plumage.
I never remember if they grow white head feathers for winter, or lose their black head feathers from summer.
They lose their black head feathers from summer, I just looked it up.

Black headed gull with its summer breeding plumage.

A little scratch

And all the brown feathers have fallen out. Black headed gull moulting into winter plumage.

Moorhen chick, main lake ucd. I think about 3 months old, born on the island in the main lake.

Yes, well done you Papa Moorhen.

For a good few months I noticed Jackdaws hanging out on this ledge, usually with loads of students milling around underneath. This area is one of the busiest student areas in ucd, but oblivious, the Jackdaws started to build this nest. I didn't think it would last without falling, but chicks emerged and they can now be seen around the Main lake. Quite a success story.

Juvenile Jackdaw, ucd - Some mothers do ave em.

I know it could be considered a bit sad going into your workplace on a weekend, but that doesn't dawn on me.
With so much birdlife going on, it's relaxing to spend 'proper' time around the ucd woodlands instead of bombing it around, fitting in what I can during breaktimes.