This morning the snow was being blown around the sky like feathers shaken from vigorously from a down pillow, and the ice cold wind was sharp, whipping across my cheeks. Of course, the weather conditions were not ideal for catching wildlife on camera, but I had a feeling that I was going to get lucky. I was not wrong!
I have become very aware of a buzzard family nesting near a wood just down the road from me over the past year, and after so many close but all to brief encounters, today was the day for me to try and get a more permanent record of their presence. I had seen the odd buzzard sitting on one of the fence posts, just off the road nearby my stables, and after finding a dead rabbit on the road, thought it would be the perfect opportunity to see what I might be able to record on video.
OK, so it may not be the usual thought to jump into most people’s minds when they see roadkill, to think about putting it in front of a waiting lens to see who wants to eat it, but as a couple of magpies were already feasting over the carcass I did not think it too disrespectful to move it a few yards off the road. In any case, it would be safer for the corvids and other scavengers who were more than willing to have it for breakfast, lunch and dinner anyway, keeping them off the beaten track in danger of cars passing by.
After setting up my trap this morning, bunny and all, I left it for an hour before coming back to check all was working well. I’ll admit I was a little keen checking the camera already, but I was not disappointed, finding a crow was the first lucky individual to find the feast in this corner of the field. He had been hopping around, tearing small morsels of meat off for quite some time. Alas, no Buzzards had found the prize yet.
Of course, it would be typical that as I drove around the corner, there he was, in the middle of the road, balancing on an overhanging branch, a big and beautiful buzzard staring right at me. I was completely taken a back, unprepared, and left for standing as he turned, flicked his tail and soared off into the distance. I only just managed to catch a shot of him gliding through the air as he screeched like an eagle through a mountain range, disappearing into the distance. I thought my luck was up, and I would have to wait a while to catch the shots I wanted, but luckily for me I wouldn’t have to wait long.
Later in the afternoon, again, all too eager to wait a moment longer, I took another trip to see the traps, and there on the posts either side of the camera were the Buzzards! I was driving past anyway, so as to not disturb their afternoon lunch, I crawled passed at a snail’s pace to catch a glimpse of what they were up to. I presumed a juvenile was feeding at the carcass whilst the parents sat on the post either side of my camera, glaring at me and making sure I was not a threat.
After leaving the feasting family in peace for another hour, the night was closing in and so I thought best to change the memory card and see what goodies my camera trap had captured for me. Up in the tree this time, the buzzards seemed partially curious, but mostly wary of what I was going to do to their meal – little did they know that it was me who put it there!
Quickly, quietly, and carefully, I changed the card, and retreated back to my car before rushing back home to see what exciting footage I had captured.