• Claire Stott

The drought continues

Another week and still there is no let up in the suffocating heat, and rain remains a distant memory here in Aberystwyth. The grass overlooking the harbour outside has been scorched and bleached a harsh shade of yellow by the burning sun and drought.

The baked banks overlooking the water created a new backdrop on which to photograph our regular visitors, the Jackdaws, as they scoured the ground today in search of insects.

Under the high contrast of the early afternoon sun, these handsome birds photographed particularly well, the light bringing out the finer details in their feathers and reflecting a glossy blue on their black wings.

Jackdaw showing off their distinct grey neck feathers

In profile

Posing beautifully

Jackdaw on scorched grass

Although the temperature had dropped to a cooler 24 degrees the Jackdaws appeared to be feeling the heat (as was I!), their black plumage absorbing the suns rays. Since birds cannot sweat to cool down the Jackdaws would erect their feathers erect and spread their wings to allow cooling air to reach their skin.

Jackdaw with wing spread and open beak

Another method many birds use to cool themselves is known as gular flapping, when the birds open their beaks and flap their throat in the bird equivalent of panting. This is not something I have seen in Jackdaws before, but in today’s warmth they demonstrated this behaviour perfectly!

Jackdaw gular flapping to keep cool

A close up

Feeling the heat

— All photographs copyright of Claire Stott/Grey Feather Photography 2018 © http://www.greyfeatherphotography.com

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#wildlife #birdwatching #aberystwyth #naturephotographer #britishbirds #birder #birdphotographer #photography #birds #ornithology #gularflapping #birdbehaviour #heatwave #jackdaws

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