Saturday, January 09, 2010

One Less Squirrel

Before I start posting photographs from this new year, I thought I would share an interesting encounter I had with a buzzard just before Christmas. An early present.

I will warn you now that the photos below are quite graphic in their content of a squirrel being pulled apart and therefore those of a sensitive nature may wish to skip this post. However, the photos serve as a good reminder that nature is the big harsh game of survival. Eat, drink, avoid being eaten and breed are the basic rules.

So a quick introduction to the predator, the Common Buzzard. I understand their main prey is rabbits but they are quite an adaptable bird and I have seen them happily feeding on earthworms in a horse paddock. They apparently have such good eyesight that they can spot a rabbit a mile away. Not much hope you would think for a photographer then to get anywhere close to one!

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Predator with prey.


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The bird then started feeding pointing away from my position.
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It suddenly stopped and looked back straight towards me, despite staying motionless and silent, and I thought for a few moments it was game over and the bird would leave. However, the distraction that caught the attention of the bird had been a passing sparrowhawk.
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The squirrel lunch then resumed and started getting messy.
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After about twenty minutes the bird away with the remains leaving me feeling as a privileged witness to this moment.

14 comments:

Neil said...

Fantastic set of photos. Do you think the buzzard scavenged the squirrel? Most predators leave them well alone as they are too aggresive and risky to try catch

Little Brown Job said...

Wonderful images as ever, Richard, nature at it's most gruesome but beautiful best.

Dominic Gendron said...

What a great serie, what a great moment you captured here! The last on is splendid ;)

Bob Bushell said...

Wow, that Buzzard is the best. It puts mine to shame.

holdingmoments said...

Excellent series Richard. They are a magnificent looking bird, and that stare over the shoulder is superb.

Ash Cohen said...

A truly stunning set of pictures, nature at it's finest, it's all about survival and you've captured it amazingly here. I too would feel privileged to witness this.

Ars Natura said...

I like your blog. You have very good pictures.
I added a link on my blog.

Delson Roche said...

Hi Richard,
Im totally floored by your photographs. Just love them and I wonder how I missed your blog for so long.
Thank you for inspiring .

delson

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Stunning photo images, of nature doing what it does best, doing as it was created to do. What a name though, for such a spectacular bird. I also liked the old rusted fence piece, the weathered wood, it all blended nicely for perfect harmony in nature. Thanks!

Razboynik said...

Hi Richard, great blog.
I've just started birdwatching again after a 25 year hiatus, and decided to keep a blog. I would really appreciate a link on your blog. I've got your blog listed already.
Cheers,
Andy

The Early Birder said...

Raw nature, superbly captured Rich.

RĂºben Neves said...

Nature as it is... great feeling, once again and a sense of predator/prey well managed... Nice "field" work.

biologion said...

lovely work! excelent photos!!
it is a grey squirrel and not a red one, isn't it?

Rich Steel said...

Many thanks for the comments. Firstly I can confirm it is a grey squirrel. I must admit I was in two minds whether to post these photos as some people may have found them offensive. However, nature is not always very pretty particulaly when it comes to predators eating prey.

cheers

Rich

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