Aylmerton Nature Diary

Saturday 3rd November

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Female Kestrel on Felbrigg Hall – having just stashed a vole for safe-keeping

In the time I’ve been away it’s like Autumn has slipped effortlessly into Winter. On my first walk in the park yesterday afternoon in over a week there were no winter thrush flocks to be seen and no late migrants like Meadow Pipits around. There were however the usual winter build-up of wildfowl on the water meadow – including a returning pair of Egyptian geese and plenty of gulls on the sheep pastures. The two most interesting events were the appearance of a Mandarin on the lake – female this time, not the splendid male that’s been hanging about for weeks and some unusual Kestrel behaviour. I was standing surveying the Hall, in the hope of finding something interesting, when a female Kestrel with prey in her talons flew in. She landed on the ground by the main entrance, hopped between the pillars and quickly came away with no prey. She flew up onto the building and then away. I went to investigate and found a freshly dead Field Vole, I think, hidden in the dark crevice at the base of the steps. Never seen that ‘larder keeping’ behaviour in Kestrel before.

Emerging from the building, having deposited this Field Vole (insert) – pulled forward to take the photo

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