The Great Bustard

Its been sometime since I last blogged. I was thinking that with all the restrictions and less work I would have more time on my hands but I have decided that 2020 is in some sort of time warp and 24 hrs seems like 12 hrs, especially now that the evenings are so dark.

We have been blessed recently to have a rare bird visit Oxfordshire. “The Great Bustard”. I have had the pleasure of seeing it in several different locations.

In the UK, the great bustard became nationally extinct when the last bird was shot in 1832. This iconic species of the Wiltshire landscape returned to the UK in 2004 when the Great Bustard Group initiated the 10-year trial reintroduction. The project sourced birds rescued from agricultural operations in Russia, with a plan to release 20 birds per year onto Salisbury Plain.*

The first sighting was early one morning, it was a bit misty and the light was very poor. I noticed he/she on the brow of a field. So then had the challenge of getting closer. I had my three dogs with me so capturing it on camera was going to be a challenge. The image quality is not great due to the conditions.

The Great Bustard (Otis tarda) is one of the heaviest flying birds alive today.

The Male Bustard is much bigger than the female. I am thinking this is a female but thats just a guess.

Males: Standing height 90-105cm. Wingspan 210-250cm. Weight 8-16kg.
Females: Standing height 75-85cm. Wingspan 170-190cm. Weight 3.5-5kg.

The Great Bustard is omnivorous, meaning it eats both animal and plants. Its diet is mainly composed of plants during spring, autumn and winter.

They favour lowlands, river valleys, and undulating open land.

They are long-lived birds, those that make it through their first year apprently usually live on for another 15 or 20 years.

The wing span is huge and it is very impressive in flight.

The next time it was around, it was a very foggy morning. I was given a tip off that it was around. Visibility was very poor. After searching for 3/4 hr I was about to give up when I suddenly spotted it lurking in the fog.

Although the image quality is poor, you can see in the image below how big the Great Bustard is compared to the phesant to its right.

Putting its size into perspective below with a ewe.

Thankfully some slightly better weather and a few days later another oppertunity to see this lovely bird in another location.

Not always so easy to find!

Beautiful in flight

On the look out!

Getting a little peckish!

Thank you for reading. I hope you enjoyed the blog!

All images are copyright of Mel Taylor Photography and should not be used without permission.

*Reference RSPB Website. https://www.rspb.org.uk/our-work/conservation/projects/reintroducing-the-great-bustard-to-southern-england/

In and around Letcombe Regis – March/April 2015

I have been rather busy recently and hence the delay in getting another of these put together. The weather improved as we moved to spring and so I am able to take the camera out more. The mornings get lighter and the evenings darker and the wildlife are busy setting about spring time activities.

Wild Deer

March and April were both good months for spotting the local wild deer. The are easily spooked so always a challenge to get a shot before they see either the dogs or myself and then I have the dilemma depending on how close they are as to whether I think I should grab the dogs in case they think about chasing (which they have never done yet) or get the image!

These deer were in the fields beyond Letcombe Regis. A young stag in the middle.

digital photographer_0045These deer were near the Ridgeway near Letcombe Regis.

digital photographer_0048These images were taken on a walk on the outskirts of Hendred.

digital photographer_0046 digital photographer_0047This herd was seen on a walk on the Ridgeway near Letcombe Regis.  A lovely group of young stags! It was a shame the rape was not in full bloom!

digital photographer_0052I spotted this single deer near Letcombe Regis… those living locally may recognise the landscape.

digital photographer_0051Birds of Prey

Not a very exciting collection of images but I am always in awe of any Bird of Prey and could watch them for hours. These kites were taken around Letcombe Regis.

digital photographer_0039Kestrels are very shy little birds so I am always please if I mange to get some images. This one was hiding in the blossom on the way into the Nature reserve, Letcombe Regis.

digital photographer_0042This one was on the road to Letcombe Basset near College Farm…

Digital Photographer_0040 digital photographer_0041Occasionally I see Kestrels around the recreation ground in Letcombe Regis, but they are quick to fly off when you see them.  This one was in one of the trees near the football pitch.

digital photographer_0057This one was perched on the Cricket Sight screen on the recreation ground.

digital photographer_0058This next picture was a rare caputure I have never seen one on the ground before looking for carrion. Taken by the Cricket Pitch on the recreation ground.

digital photographer_0064Other Birds

There always a lot of Canada Geese around the village. Sadly I have not seen any goslings this year. Taken behind the Recreation Ground.

digital photographer_0063Taken at the pond on the Deer Farm.

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Robins, again very shy birds but so beautiful and such lovely calls. Both images taken near the deer farm.

digital photographer_0055 digital photographer_0056I see Yellow Hammers every year but this year I have not seen so many and they take flight quickly when they see you coming. Such a colourful bird.

digital photographer_0053Thurshes are again very shy birds but also very graceful… this was taken on the recreation ground.

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Game Birds

Partridges, lovely beautiful birds, very good at hiding and very shy….

digital photographer_0061 digital photographer_0060

The Solar Eclipse 2015

A major event for March… images taken from my garden.

digital photographer_0043Letcombe Village

St Andrews Church in Letcombe Regis had a new roof and looked very smart this spring with the Daffodils.

digital photographer_0065Deer Farm

Coming out of Winter and looking a bit scruffy with mud covered winter coats. I always look forward to the arrival of the newborn calfs.

digital photographer_0050Thank you for reading my post. Some of my images are available on Postcards or Greeting cards at the Richmond Homes, village shop and tea rooms. Thank you for reading my post.  www.meltaylorphotography.co.uk