Monday, 21 June 2010

Birds

Summer Solstice and a beautiful day, although I couldn't persuade Malcolm to dance naked around the garden with a set of antlers attached to his head at sunrise this morning! Probably just as well, don't want to scare the neighbours!
Back to our holiday and there were many, many birds all around in Newquay. The most obvious and vocal were the Herring Gulls (Larus argentatus). We were treated to the sight of a family of these large gulls on the roof tops opposite our hotel room including two parents and three chicks.
The chicks were forever chasing their parents around the roof as soon as they arrived, in the hope that a regurgitated meal was imminent! A closer look at the Herring Gulls was afforded us at the harbour area as they congregated for a taste of fish discarded by the fishermen. What a gorgeous looking bird it is when looked at closely.  This is a large sized picture, so please click on it and enlarge the picture to get the best image.
The Herring Gulls were joined on the beaches by the largest gull to be found in the British Isles, the Great Black-Backed Gull (Larus marinus). A truly magnificent bird with a wingspan up to nearly 6ft and a formidable reputation for taking and eating other birds, mammals, fish and almost anything else it can get it's beak on. They are large enough to swallow a Puffin or a small duck whole and can even manage to gulp down young rabbits in one. This one was preoccupied with a Spotted Dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula) on the beach at the harbour.
A much smaller bird was to be found flitting about the scrub by the sea near the Fistral Beach. The Stonechat family (Saxicola rubicola) was making a lot of noise as they searched for insects to feed to their youngsters. This male bird was particularly beautiful.
Lastly and back to the large birds. This time a family of Ravens (Corvus corax) feeding on goodness knows what on the beach as they rummaged through the seaweed. The young were about the same size as the adults and quite capable of feeding themselves, but it didn't stop them begging from their parents.
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