An audience with the Chatterley Whitfield Worminator.

P1120854

Having collected Neill at a reasonably civilised hour this morning I careened down the M6 to Chatterley Whitfield in Staffordshire to have a squint at the young Red Footed Falcon, lured by tales of the close encounters many birders have had with the falcon, and the fact that the last time I clapped eyes on a Red Foot it was so long ago smoking was still cool and social media hadn’t been invented.
When we got there, as is often the way with youngsters, the bird was in a petulant mood, skulking and preening in a hawthorn – Look Mom No Head! (ahh, how I miss Lux and Ivy….)

P1120770

This was okay, as it gave us time to have a look at the young Black Redstart through the fence at the old colliery entrance, while the falcon sorted itself out.

P1120740

After an hour or so, the Red Foot swept out of the hawthorn and pitched down to hunt worms and other insects on the short turf of the roadside paddock – it might have been grasshoppers it was catching, but “grasshopperinator” just doesn’t work as well as “worminator”…
Whatever, it was pretty successful, scurrying about on short runs to catch its prey several times before flying up to a convenient old phone pole in the warming sun.

P1120829

P1120819

P1120841

Very nice indeed – splendid views of the thing.
Then it shot back into the hawthorn for another sulk, so we headed out onto the reserve area and old spoil heaps to see if any butterflies were on the wing – the site is a stronghold of Dingy Skipper and although it is past that species’ flight season now, I thought it was worth a punt as everything is so late this year.
No Dingy joy, but an obliging Small Skipper is always worth a closer look…

P1120867

Wished I taken a few shots of the old mine buildings – you see ’em so rarely now, but I can’t be expected to remember everything.
Paused on the way back to the wheels for another look at the Red Foot, but it was still having a hissy fit in the hawthorn, so we trundled back north for a sunny Sunday cold beer afternoon. Just as it should be.

P1120848