Saturday, 10 December 2011

Woodcock probing the leaves

The first,i hope of many more and closer woodcock pictures this winter.I first saw one in the second week of october but the early ones just pass through until the stayers can be seen regularly in areas from november onwards i think.They lie up in the daytime usually in deep cover found in all sorts of woods but the thick rhodedendrons like here suit them well.They flight at dusk from these places just before the duck do on the way to their nocturnal feeding grounds which they prefer to be dampish meadows but also downland grass fields and golf courses,mostly flying low a bit bat like.At some places they can be seen individually but in numbers of up to a dozen shooting over hedges and dropping,bomblike,out of the sky to feed on some favoured fields.Not often recorded is their probing in woodland leaf litter at night at a place where they could very likely be roosting(on the ground)during the day so pics like these are quite a catch of one of the most interesting of birds.It is quite probable that,just like duck,they do not always flight at dusk if their food is so close to hand,there is no point in exposing themselves,in flight,to unnecessary risk......

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