Dukes of Buzzard

A walk along the North Downs Way between Reigate and Dorking was the setting for this week’s desperate sweep of the natural world for sightings of new species to add to my 2014 bird list.

North Downs Way - Britain's countryside at its finest

North Downs Way – Britain’s countryside at its finest

In the bushes I heard a rustle (Perhaps it was a Crow?)…  I peeked between the twigs and branches and could make out a rather panicky-looking Red-Legged Partridge.  I don’t know if you’ve ever seen one before, but these birds always appear startled and nervously dashing about.  They rarely fly when trying to evade predators or prying eyes, instead, they speed-waddle away from potential danger in a manner akin to a Benny Hill episode closing sketch.  The Partridge skittled across the path in front of me – out of the undergrowth on the left and into the vegetation on the right.  I was half hoping it would be followed into the bushes by a couple of policemen, a gaggle of nurses and a pair of nuns…  But, was left somewhat disappointed.

Another bird species for the list, but no vestal to tick off in my I-Spy Book of Religious Figures.

Aha! A Partridge

Aha! A Partridge

A bit further along the path, I saw a pair of Nuthatches doing a bit of do-it-themselves to their nest – making the entrance hole in a tree-trunk smaller by adding earth.  They do this to keep larger birds nipping in when no-one’s looking and snacking on their offspring.  Imagine having to pick up cement with your mouth to brick-up your back door so that your neighbor doesn’t eat your baby.



In the sky – circling way, way up were a pair of Buzzards.  People seem to always refer to this as ‘wheeling’ – I don’t quite understand this, but I’ll go with it.

Another bird of prey wheeled in from over the trees…  But, it didn’t look like the other two.  It was smaller and greyer than a Buzzard.  This was exciting.  What was it?  My inner JIZZ computer whirred into action…  Brrrrrrrrr….  Processing… Smaller than a Buzzard…  Greyer than a Buzzard…  Calculating… It can’t be a Buzzard, so must be a Hen Harrier – They’re smaller and greyer.

Does Not Compute - ID Systems Error

Does Not Compute – ID Systems Error

It was a Buzzard! (a juvenile one)

I clearly need to load up some bird ID expansion packs into my memory sockets.

Great Tit

Great Tit



Excitingly, it seems that Fauna Corner has been commissioned for a second episode after the pilot received glowing reviews in the national press…

”There aren’t many words that rhyme with ‘corner’ and ‘fauna’ is almost one” – Former Poet Laureate, Andrew Motion

“I was especially interested in the picture of the mouse” – Sylvester the Cat

“The arrival of Fauna Corner proves there’s more to life than birds” – Hugh Hefner

Small Tortoiseshell

Small Tortoiseshell

Field Vole

Field Vole

Roman Snail - Britain's largest land snail

Roman Snail – Britain’s largest land snail

I’m going to Germany at the weekend, so hopefully the next blog installment will be used to regale you with stories of parrots, emus and a whole host of exotic new sightings.

If you feel like you’re having a hard week, spare a thought for this Mallard who is raising 21 little Mallards all by herself!

Cheeper by the dozen (and then some)

Cheeper by the dozen (and then some)


About mixaeljones

Hello! I try to undertake a yearly challenge and write about it in a semi-witty manner. I often use twenty words when three will do. I am also a big fan of terrible puns and taking unintentionally blurry photographs of wildlife. In 2013 I tried to eat a food I hadn't eaten before each week (I got to 28!), in 2014 I attempted to seek out as many species of bird as I could in the year (I got to 201!) and in 2015 I delved head first into the world of butterflies and tried to see as many different types as possible (44!)... I've also done some belly dancing, been Father Christmas and nearly played tennis against Bjorn Borg. If any of this seems like it might be of interest, feel free to check out my blogs... Comments encouraged! Have a nice day :)
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