Monday, 2 November 2009

Redwing Feasting on a Fat Earth Worm

Redwing

Yesterday turned out to be a sunny and warm day. A welcome respite from the frozen weekends earlier. My wife and I went for a walk to enjoy the sun. The birds kept to themselves, except for this redwing which seemed rather daring.

Redwing

It seemed intent on foraging about in the grass that was very close to a public footpath and the huge numbers of people walking about didnt seem to distract it.

 

 

Redwing

I was intent on getting some good shots of this normally shy bird and I almost didn’t see the big earthworm it had lying next to it on the grass.Redwing

No wonder it seemed reluctant to leave its prey and head off to the shelter of more foliage.

Redwing

However, for some reason, it wasn’t very interested in gobbling up the worm. The worm looked dead and half dried up. Perhaps that was the reason.

Redwing

Instead, the bird continued to dig frantically at a speed that my camera was finding hard to keep up with.

Redwing

In between, it would pause and look up at me as if warning me not to come any closer and then it would resume digging the ground again. Suddenly it pulled out another long worm and laid it on the grass in front of it.

Redwing

You can see the worm in the picture above as the bird seems to size it up wondering how to eat such a long worm.

Redwing

It then started a tussle with the earthworm, probably to try and cut it up. However, it wasn’t getting very far doing that.

Redwing

For a moment, it laid the worm aside and froze, almost as if thinking hard, what it was going to do next.

Redwing

Then, upon having decided on its course of action, it took the worm at one end and proceeded to swallow it. In the shot above, it has already swallowed around a fourth of the worm.

Redwing

As it swallowed more we looked on in astonishment, wondering how it could possibly swallow the entire thing.

Redwing

Mid way through, it seemed to encounter some difficulty and paused for a while.

Redwing

…and then in a determined effort, put its head upwards and rocked its throat and body to send the worm propelling further down.

Redwing

Finally, when there was just a bit remaining, it paused again, perhaps tired by the former move.

Redwing

 

…and then went for the final gulp to down the entire worm.

Redwing

 

Having finally accomplished the task, it sat there and looked at us for a while as if to ask: “Did you really think I would fail?”

Redwing

It then turned the other way. We though that was it, perhaps it would now head off into the trees.

Redwing

But no, it hadnt quite finished. To our surprise it continued to hunt for more worms, and event went back to the first dead worm but left it alone afterwards.

Redwing

We decided it was time to leave the bird in peace and reluctantly moved on.

Redwing

Now that the sun is out and the birds are catching worms and snowdrops flower all over, I suppose the signs of spring are emerging. I look forward to it eagerly.

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