Birds with tools

Seeing and watching the variety of birds that live on a wetland habitat, such as the Nene Washes, is wonderful. Just think about all the different bill/beak types. Long and thin, long and broad, long and hooked, long and spoon-shaped. Shall I go through all the short bill shapes too? I think you get the picture. And their legs as well. All the varieties of length.

Each species has evolved to fit into its own little niche within its habitat. Each of those different shaped and sized features are the birds’ tools. They are adaptations that enable them to forage, hunt, dredge, etc. for food.

Two species may live side by side and actually eat the same food, but not be competitors. How? Well one has tools that help him to find food, such as molluscs or worms, a few centimetres beneath the damp surface. His neighbour has slightly different tools which enable him to maybe eat the same foods but from a bit deeper in the mud. So everyone is happy.

Yesterday I witnessed something rather special. A very orange, and healthy looking, little fox trying to get past a pair of cranes. Their calls initially caught my attention. There they were spreading their wings out to make themselves look large and ferocious each time the fox tried to advance.
If the cranes were alone they could have moved into the water or simply flown away. It was obvious that they were protecting something from the fox. Their chicks.
Frustratingly I couldn’t see the chicks with my binoculars. Too far and too well camouflaged.
I watched the drama with my heart in my mouth. The fox has a right to eat, but I did not want to see a sad ending for the crane family.

My mum is visiting for the bank holiday weekend. Today we visited Ely. It was delightful. What a gorgeous quaint little town. Paddocks with ponies, pubs on the river, boats and barges on the river, Edwardian and Georgian houses everywhere, and the cathedral.
Its not the most beautiful cathedral that I have seen from the outside. But step inside and… I have honestly never in all my life seen anything man made and so exquisite. I was overwhelmed, utterly. I shed tears. The detail, the colours, the beauty. Beyond belief.

Bird list for week commencing 20th May 2013:
Barn owl, Blackbird, Black-headed gull, Black-tailed godwit, Buzzard, Canada goose, Common tern, Coot, Cormorant, Corncrake, Crane, Crow, Cuckoo, Great-crested grebe, Greater spotted woodpecker, Greylag goose, Heron, Hobby, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lapwing (& chick), Lesser black-backed gull, Little egret, Little owl, Magpie, Mallard (& chicks), Marsh harrier, Meadow pipit (& chick), Moorhen, Mute swan, Oyster catcher, Pintail, Redshank, Reed bunting, Sedge warbler, Shelduck, Skylark, Snipe, Spotted crake (heard), Starling, Swallow, Swift, Tufted duck, Wood pigeon, Yellow wagtail.
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About Olivia N Masi

From art college drop-out, to office space-planner, to back-packer, to air stewardess, to brolly babe, to model agent, to wildlife conservationist. How? I've always believed in jumping at every opportunity that comes my way. This has taken me along some bizarre career paths. None of which I regret. I have been to amazing places and met fascinating people. And having worked in the motor sport industry I've sadly experienced too many beloved friends take one adrenalin step too many. I think of them always. I've hung out with pop-stars, sports personalities, and millionaires. I reached a point when nothing but VIP would do. And then something happened. My pops passed away and I felt the need to reconnect with my Italian side. Whilst in Italy, I learnt to be resourceful, to recycle everything, to listen to the valley, to grow my own veg, to catch and tame feral cats, and to follow my heart. My heart led me to a desire to save this beautiful Earth, and all the wonderful life upon it. And so I read, and then I studied with the Open University. I suddenly found myself accepted on a BSc in Wildlife Conservation, having left school with pitiful qualifications. So here I am. A qualified Wildlife Conservationist. A scientist I suppose. I love nothing more than to listen to birdsong, and watch, learn and photograph wildlife. So here is to me getting the perfect job where I can contribute to saving one of Earth's beautiful species. Do I miss the glamour of the old life? The VIP lifestyle? The petrol-head adrenalin? The buzz of being a successful business owner? Only occasionally. Though it seems more like the distant dreams of a previous life.
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