Wildlife Column: Exciting times as young leave the nest
I was out at Carsington Water Reservoir near Matlock this weekend and the birds were performing really well.
First of all, we were treated to a wonderful if late chorus of blackbirds, song thrushes and blackcaps.
It was just as the sun came out after a slight shower and was as if they were all trying to compete – each wanting to outdo the others.
I suspect the atmosphere with damp in the clear air following the rain enhanced the acoustics. These birds do have multiple broods so they were presumably still actively in breeding mode and hence very vocal.
Then, only a few minutes later but some way across the water was an osprey.
At first glance it looked rather like a cross between a very large gull and a buzzard, but even at a distance the osprey is distinctive.
So the walk was off to a cracking start when it got even better as a family party of ravens passed overhead with their excited calls and a bit of tumbling.
The long, diamond-shaped tail of the adult birds is a good character to look for, along with their strong broad wings and massive bills.
As we walked on through a more closely wooded area a young tawny owl flew across the path in front of us; its route though the small woodland given away by the triggering of a host of small birds mobbing and scalding the unfortunate youngster.
This incident was followed rather quickly by a male peregrine falcon which passed silently over.
I think the highlight though was a very noisy family party of common buzzards circling and calling as they displayed over their nesting territory towards the western end of the site.
One youngster seemed reluctant to join the others and an agitated parent bird was encouraging it, with a loud repeated mewing cry.
It appeared the youngster had not quite got the idea of leaving the nest and was calling for attention and food.
The adult was having none of it but appeared anxious for the juvenile to take those first hesitant steps.
No doubt hunger was about to kick in and would trigger the young bird to take a great leap into the big unknown.