Saturday, 12 October 2013


Ring Ouzels have caused me a great deal of wasted time this year with my only sighting being a brief glimpse as one was spooked from the Cissbury Yew by a Sparrow Hawk.

I was not going out today. For me Saturday is not a birding day, but I was keeping an eye on the birding reports. Ring Ouzels were everywhere - Blackdown, Sheepcote, Pagham, Portslade, then 200+ at Hastings and 400 at Beachy Head. Then one reported at Cissbury. There were sure to be more. A chance for good views and a photograph. It was late afternoon but I had to go.

You guessed it. A walk around the ring and visits to the Rifle Butts gave me nothing. The only option was to spend more time standing in front of the Yew tree waiting for another brief glimpse. And that's exactly what happened. An hours wait, a flash of silvery grey as something crashed into the Yew tree and then the contented calls of a Ring Ouzel from deep within the tree. Dipped it yet again!

Fortunately there is an almost tame juvenile female Kestrel on the Ring. It seems totally indifferent to the presence of people although the dogs do cause it to move on. Standing in the middle of the patch that it was hunting over I was able to get some great photographs before the light faded.

This shot taken at 1/160 sec showing how the Kestrel can hold its head and eye steady to aid hunting despite the rapid wing movements.

Not what I was looking for but at least something worth photographing. The Ring Ouzels will have to wait for another day. The trouble is that the weather forecast for next week does not look that good and I am starting to run out of days.

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