Saturday 4 April 2020

Lockdown Day 12 - Partridges

Today, with the sun shining first thing this morning, has been a day for getting out on the bike and cycling to a supermarket. Permitted exercise and shopping in one go! As I have mentioned, the country lanes around us have little traffic and few people and, even in less restrictive times, are good places to see wildlife.

 Not long after setting off from home I came across two Grey Partridges (Perdix perdix). These are indigenous to the British Isles having migrated over time to these shores since the last Ice Age. They have, however, been suffering large declines in population since the 1950s due to pesticide and insecticide use on farmland and also habitat loss from removal of hedgerows and intensification of farming practices.

They have good camouflage even out in the open like this.

It is unusual for me to find grey partridge out in the open like this, usually I find that I will get a brief view of them before they scuttle away into dense crops or undergrowth.

Here you have both the male (front right) and female (rear left). By this point they had noticed me and shortly afterwards took off with an alarm call into the next field. They don't generally fly far, just enough to get out of immediate danger.

Here is a close up of the male bird.

They are quite distinctive from the introduced red-legged partridge which started being released onto estates in the 1770s.

Both partridges are regular sightings for me around where I live though of course I prefer to see the native species.

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