Aerial feeding frenzy - everyone got in on the act!

  • Dave Shedman
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8 years 1 month ago #14193 by Dave Shedman
Dave Shedman created the topic: Aerial feeding frenzy - everyone got in on the act!
Yesterday evening at dusk I stood on the doorstep watching hundreds of swallows and swifts swooping about, far more than we generally see around here. It seems there was a large swarm of those horrible flying ants we get around this time of year. However, the aerials were not the only ones cashing in on this bountiful harvest. A saw another small bird fluttering about in a very un-swallow like fashion and landing on rooftops and trees to eat its prey. I picked up the bins and waited until it landed in a tree again and when I focussed I was amazed to see it was a breeding male Southern Red Bishop! It had a flying ant in its bill, which it proceeded to eat then flew up to find another one. I know some of the seed eaters will glean insects off leaves, especially when they're feeding young, but has anyone ever seen a bishop hawking large insects in the air?

Up on the electricity pylon a couple of Mountain Wheatears were making short flights out into the swarm and returning to the pylon to eat what they'd caught, and even a couple of Mynas joined in! Not surprisingly, a couple of the local bats also joined the party. I did get a short video clip before the camcorder battery died but it won't be detailed enough to show the individual species as it was very gloomy out there (about 7.15pm). It was certainly one of the most spectacular bird displays I've ever seen.


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