Friday, July 15, 2011

It’s Now Or Never

With the weather synopsis showing rain for Ringer’s Saturday, Friday morning became the now or never day. So off I went to Rawcliffe Moss hoping to finish about 1030 before the horse flies warm up and become hungry for blood.

Notable happenings this morning - the number of Goldfinches about, the continuing lack of juvenile Willow Warblers, recaptures dwindling as the breeding population thins out, and a Tawny Owl escaping from a mist net for the second time in as many weeks. The owl landed in the far end of a 60ft net as I was taking a Whitethroat from the opposite end. It looked towards me then flapped out and away before I could get anywhere near it. The nets aren’t really designed to hold large owls, but the day was early and I saw a second Tawny Owl later – read on!

The few nets kept me occupied with a decent catch of 29 birds, 27 new and just 2 recaptures, a Goldfinch and a moulting Willow Warbler. New birds: 17 Goldfinch, 5 Whitethroat 2 Willow Warblers – both moulting adults, and 1 each of Sedge Warbler, Dunnock and Chaffinch.

Sedge Warbler

Dunnock - juvenile

Chaffinch

Although moulting Willow Warblers look a bit messy this time of year with a mix of feathers old, new, worn, or missing, it is instructive to look closely at any emerging feathers. The adult below is in the process of renewing all flight feathers, with the tail colouration and shape a useful diagnostic feature with which to separate adults from juveniles later in the season when both newly moulted adults and fresh juveniles look very similar.

Willow Warbler – adult tail

The Goldfinch bills now betray the fact they extract seed from plants, but whether the black deposit is from our Niger seed I don’t know.

Goldfinch

Other birds seen this morning: 15 Tree Sparrow, 2 Yellowhammer, 2 Corn Bunting, 4 Skylark, 2 Buzzard, 45 Goldfinch, 120+ Lapwings on newly cut fields, and 2 Tawny Owls. Yes, the other Tawny I found on my way home, and that leaf just wouldn’t blow out of the way, but it rather made up for the earlier miss. Maybe I'll do a bit of gardening, prune that little branch and remove the overhead leaves just in case it decides to sit there another day?

Tawny Owl

14 comments:

David Riewe said...

The warbler is cute. I don't think we get them this far south, maybe in winter. Nice seeing pictures though. Enjoyed the post.

La sonrisa de Hiperión said...

Un palcer volver por tu casa. Todas las cosas que nos dejas son geniales.

Saludos y un abrazo.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...those horse flies are something else...take a chunk right out of ya!! The more you swat the more vicious they get!!
You sure do catch up with alot of cute Owls...well except the one that was in the net!!
Glad you got a good day in while the weather was good!!
Your poor wife though with you cooped up inside!!!! lol
Have a good one ..Grace

eileeninmd said...

Great collections of birds, Phil! I love the Goldfinches and the owl is a wonderful sight to see. Awesome photos.

missing moments said...

Love to see the tawny owl ...

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the chaffinch, but I have a soft spot for finches. I always enjoy your photos, Phil.

—Kay, Alberta, Canada

JWBateman said...

Hi Phil; Leave the gardening,it looks more natural as it is JWB

i beati said...

I'm not used to that coloration on a gold finch all I've seen have been black gray gold and dark brown

LivingSoAbundantly said...

Those are excellent pictures! Yay for seeing the Tawny owl!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

So Phil, the Tawny Owl must be quite the little escape artist, maybe third time shall be the charm. The Willow Warbler really caught my eye when I checked my side bar, what a beauty~

Jidhu Jose said...

nice shots

Modesto Viegas said...

Great job!!!

Seasons said...

So Phil does not proscratinate, and now the world knows it. "Time and tide (and birds) wait for none". Beautiful pictures. My whole family has always been fond of birds. Great shot of the Tawny Owl...a favorite. Thanks Phil!

Ayuwat Jearwattanakanok said...

The juvenile Dunnock looks very interesting. It looks similar to a young redstart or robin. Accentor is another family which I'd really love to see more often...

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