This is a continuation from my previous Whinchat Post (which can be found here). I was really looking forward to this session as the majority of my first visit had been spent finding the birds. It was a grey and overcast as I left the house before dawn but the forecast looked promising and conditions were brightening just as I arrived on this upland moor. The site I had located was next to the road which allowed me to photograph from the comfort of the mobile Nissan hide. When I arrived both birds were away foraging so I waited until they both returned to their perches close to the nesting site before pulling in to position. This would allow them to see me slowly approach rather than finding a strange object near to the nest when they returned. They both, particularly the female, spent a few moments checking out the arrival of this strange new object in their landscape.
Having decided I did not seem to be presenting any threat, both birds then quickly continued with their feeding duties of a demanding brood. I never went to view the nest but assumed they were rapidly growing by the frequency of feeding. The breakfast menu for the day was the occasional fly and caterpillars.
In fact lots of caterpillars..
The female bird appeared to be doing the majority of the work foraging as the male was otherwise preoccupied defending the territory and their food supply from the numerous Meadow Pipits. This photo is of the male on lookout duty for invading Meadow Pipits. I took this photo as a wider angled shot to show the bird amongst the wonderful range of hues of moorland habitat. These birds certainly live in a beautifully coloured world.
The male bird would frequently take up position on a perch and as soon as a Meadow Pipit approached, would take flight to chase the pipit out of the area in twisting aerobatic flight through the low lying vegetation.
I will finish off this post with a few last photographs. If you read my last post on the Whinchats, you will recall I left a perch in position as I departed. Well the female was very happily using this regularly on her approaches to and departures from the nest.
There was a brief light rain shower during the session which added some extra moorland atmosphere to this photograph of the female.
I will finish this post with a photograph of the male bid perched on some heather, although unfortunately not in flower at that time of year. The orange colours of a male bird would really compliment the purple flowering heather if you think about the enhancing effect of matching opposites on a 'colour wheel'.
It was a very enjoyable session and before leaving for home, and while both birds were away foraging, I added another perch for my next session and left a little feed to help them along with their parenting duties.