Before we moved here twelve years ago, we worked at the Hulton Picture Library, swallowed by what has now become a huge company: Getty Images. We held the entire collection of Picture Post, including the work of their most famous staff photographer, Bert Hardy. The mere mention of something close to that fabulous publication of the 1930's to 1950's, makes me nostalgic for the best job I ever had. Anyway....I have so many pictures of these fabulous little Meadow Pipits that I thought I'd put them all together for once. They are so important for the cuckoo population here; I saw our juvenile fluttering about today with its Meadow Pipit 'parents' trying, and failing, to keep up with it. They must be exhausted. These unbelievably numerous birds are apparently on the amber list in the UK which amazes me. Interestingly, Pat at The Weaver of Grass (http://weaverofgrass.blogspot.co.uk/ ) says they never see them up in Yorkshire.
They are ground nesters, usually in a clump or here, often inside a gorse bush. the nest is built of moss, grasses and usually lined with animal hairs - lots of that here, especially as those ponies start to slip their coats, just in time for nest building in April, May or June. The female incubates a clutch of four or five eggs alone for up to 14 days.
Both parents feed the chicks for up to 13 days when they will fledge. Now, is it just me, or is this one carrying the corpse of a chick, perhaps of another species, to feed to its young? The second picture is clearer......
To the left of the green caterpillar, you can see a tiny leg and claw:
Generally, their diet consists of flies, beetles, moths, caterpillars, worms and spiders, with seeds later in the year, obviously with a side order of cannibalism. Have any of you ever seen anything like this before?
There is certainly a lot of feeding going on at the moment with at least two broods a year. It's difficult to get a picture of them without something hanging out of their beaks.
This youngster was clinging to a rock and let me get quite close:
Almost full grown......
The Wheatear is a close relative of the Stonechat but will only have one or possibly two broods. They winter in Africa whilst the Stonechat is resident, so I suppose they have less time to fit in the breeding.
In the garden, the juvenile Tits are gaining in confidence. This Great Tit is almost looking adult, just lacking its wide stripe.
And this one a bit further along the way to adulthood.
This fluff monster of a Blue Tit is a regular visitor and has no fear........
...............seeing off this Chaffinch:
At least some of its adult feathers are coming through now:
The Chaffinch waiting its turn:
A m}magpie in waiting too. There are SO many Magpies around here at the moment. If the rhyme were to be believed there would be many, many secrets never to be told.
My Dragonfly pond is still almost exclusively full of Keeled Skimmers, here sitting on a cow pat nearby:
But there are now some Large Red Damselflies:
I've been writing this post for days now, never actually finishing before something comes up and I have to run off. This weekend just gone, Chagford played host to Chagstock, one of the festivals of the season. We can see it in the distance from here:
I'm happier here, away from the crowds thank you:
So are the dogs:
One of the main reasons for being so behind with blogging is Chagford Pool which, with the stiflingly hot weather, is a magnet for OB and his friends. Here's a little picture I found on the internet. We can see Kestor Rocks in the distance from the benches but not in this photo:
The problem is, all the time we're there, I'm idle. Not unpleasantly so because I sit and chat to friends in a way that I rarely do otherwise, but I'm getting nothing done. Not a strong enough mobile signal to support the internet, so no joy there. I feel out of touch with the blogging world so am doubly grateful for your comments. Thank you. Tomorrow is supposed to be very hot indeed and OB is desperate to go and swim after school. Another wasted afternoon.............oh well. In a few years he'll be able to go without me so I should appreciate this while I can I guess. So until next time, here are those dogs fighting over a stick. Have a lovely week in the sun if you're in this country. The summer holidays start on Friday here so I think we can guarantee rain.
Great pipit pictures Em, that camera is really working well for you.ReplyDelete
Love the fluff monster!
Enjoy the good weather, as you say it may not last!
I wonder what magnification they'll get into the next generation of bridge cameras? It just seems to go up and up and I get happier and happier.Delete
Liked the bug that looked like red bamboo.ReplyDelete
Their bodies are about a 16th of an inch wide so, for me, until I download them, they're little red blurs!Delete
The fluff monster made me laugh.ReplyDelete
People say "free as a bird", but at think it must be tough being a bird, what with feeding those hungry mouths and migration.
The fluff monster doesn't look like its doing much work yet - very well fed without any responsibilities yet!Delete
The Square Ones often run back with a toy in their mouths much like your last photo.ReplyDelete
What a wonderful pool. I am sure if I was OB I would be there too !
Again you have outdone yourself with the photos of the birds. I tried to take a photo of a bird today and you could barley see him !
You need a new camera Parsnip. This 60x zoom is just amazing and makes all this possible. Because of my back I can't carry around a good SLR with different lenses, or my pictures would be much better. This is a brilliant compromise and lens technology has changed what I can do so much.Delete
Beautiful photographs as always Em - I have never seen a meadow pipit up here but we do get plenty of wheatears up on the moor. Your doggy photos are always proof of just how much they both mean to you. Enjoy taking OB swimming - they grow up too soon these days, so savour every minute.ReplyDelete
I forgot to mention that the Pipts are on the amber list in the UK generally so I must add that. Perhaps we could net a few up here and release them up your way Pat - they're laughably numerous.Delete
HI EM What a wonderful selection of birds and insects in this post. Your camera work is wonderful and it is always lovely to see 'the young ones'. Have a great summer. Your dogs are great and I love the shot with the stickReplyDelete
You too Margaret. I wonder what your opinion is about the corpse in the Pipit's mouth?Delete
Beautiful bird photos! I must say I love the one of the Magpie the best. Love also the shots of the moor (I'd be happier there too) and that is a gorgeous photo of Jack!ReplyDelete
I know the crows, ravens and blue jays all eat the young of other birds, don't know about the smaller birds.
It was really disconcerting seeing something that should be nurtured hanging out of its mouth!Delete
Hello Em!! What a truly amazing set of pictures. Gotta love those beautiful feathered friends :)ReplyDelete
I can't get enough of them. Off out to find some more in a minute......Delete
As ever, absolutely stunning pictures!ReplyDelete
Brilliant post Em, your photos are gorgeous and always make me smile. I think that pool would draw me too on a hot day, especially great for enjoying seeing OB have so much fun. They grow up soon enough. Blogging can wait and we will be here looking forward to hearing from you when you have the time to share again. Your pictures will be all the sweeter for waiting. Thank you for your sweet comment's on my father-in-law's D-Day trip to Normandy. I know he is going to enjoy reading them.ReplyDelete
It was such an amazing thing to do and with the cameras rolling too!Delete
LOVE all your bird photos. Is Snip boiling at the mo with all his hair? Ted's in need of a cut and Pops goes out walking very early because she bakes otherwise will all her fluff. In fact, I think she is more fluff than body :-). I am still chasing the right photo of her.... xxReplyDelete
I have a 'things to do' list every day and 'clip Snip' has been on it for two weeks....I still haven't got round to it. It's really a two person job but I find the comments from a certain other person like:"careful - you're very close to his knob" too annoying. I will struggle on my own in the next few days. xxDelete
That really made me laugh! :-) xDelete
He's done! I managed on my own with him tied to his crate. He was NOT happy!Delete
Sorry to keep saying I love your pictures as it must be boring for you but I really do love your pictures!ReplyDelete
Never boring Julee.Delete
You should be your own one woman image service for wildlife photos!! They are so amazing. I hope that you can enjoy and make the most of the afternoons at the pool. xxReplyDelete
It was cloudy this afternoon so I didn't venture in but OB had a wonderful time anyway. It's a small community and all the kids know each other. I wish I'd had something like that when I was his age.Delete
Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful photos. It gives me a chance to see those wonderful birds up close. xxReplyDelete
I just love those blue tit feathers close up. I saw it today and it's not so fluffy now. xDelete
Em stonechats and pipits take on a new beauty with your lens and the landscapes you show them in. I so enjoy your work and all the beauty you harvest and share with us. Best - MEReplyDelete
Right back at you Mark.Delete
Gosh Em....I truly enjoy your ramblings...and the pictures......oh the pictures♥️ReplyDelete
gorgeous bird photos (and the dogs!) Em. and yes, i love the magpie!ReplyDelete
Glad you like it Leanne. I thought you might....xDelete
Do you know what is so good about your photos, it is the recording of the marvellous summer we are having which also applies to the birds as well, as they struggle to bring up their many batches of young, even though they may appear cannibalistic. Have you never seen a rabbit eat its young when touched by a human hand, horrible I know but animals and birds are not necessarily on the same emotional level as humans....ReplyDelete
I have seen that - yes and I guess it could have been one of its own or, given its age, one of its parents' latest offspring!Delete
Great photos - I really enjoyed the Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and Wheatear - all rarely seen here unless on passage. Keeping up with blogs can be very time consuming - enjoy the sun while we still have the good weather :)ReplyDelete
I am RR! Just back from pool visit number three already this week and planning to go tomorrow too. Today was the last day of term and many of his wonderful female friends from year six are leaving so it was as emotional as it gets with OB.Delete
Really enjoyed this post, Em! Great to learn more about the Pipits - we have one species here in Australia but it's not an attention-grabbing bird next to our Cockatoos and Eagles, etc, so I don't read about them often. They have seriously declined over a few decades though, as I remember every sports field having a pair when I was a boy and now they are much more infrequently seen. It seems like you live in a Pipit 'hotspot'?ReplyDelete
I can't make out if that is a nestling in that bird's mouth by the way, but the thought of cannibalism creeped me out enough so that I didn't linger too long on the photo!
I like your work ethic nagging your relaxation time by the pool, but go easy on yourself! My most recent post has been in the works for several months now, waiting as a 'back-up' for me to publish something when I am otherwise very busy. Also, I imagine you have just a few brief weeks in a year to actually enjoy water-based recreation, so go with it! :)
You're so right about the weather Christian - I can't believe it's been so good for so long. I just HOPE it stays good for the school holidays as the idea of OB stuck in the house for six weeks with his friends is NOT good.Delete
We are definitely a Pipit hotspot. They're just everywhere. I'm having a seriously bad day today including running over the cable of my neighbour's brand new lawn mower whilst using it for the first time and burning the tomato sauce I was making so badly that a biscuit replica of the saucepan base came out of it composed of charred tomato pulp. Tomorrow is a new day..........thank god.
Wonderful pictures Em especially to be able to see the caterpillars in the birds mouths. Your previous job sounds so enjoyable. Sarah xReplyDelete
It was Sarah - I really miss it, still........after 12 years away from it! xDelete
So interesting that you worked at the Hulton picture library. My doughtier started out at the picture library at the Tate!ReplyDelete
loved the pippins but also the two boys with the same stick.
Enjoy your warm days!
Best job I've ever had Elizabeth. It's so warm I'm wilting!Delete