My likely birding score proved more substantial than the ringing total this morning, but maybe it is best to start at the beginning with the Little Owls.
I hadn’t seen the owl/owls for some weeks on the farm, where they share their nesting spot with a horse-filled barn busy with riders back and forth during the day. I feared for the worse that the continual disturbance might scare the owls away from this traditional site, but I needn’t have worried. Birds are persistent creatures and in any case the owls nest out of reach in the roof space, and the horsey folk probably don’t even know that in the dark crevices above their heads live the owls who venture out only when all is quiet. As I drove onto the farm at 0730 the Little Owls sat in the half-light almost together, but as the car stopped they both lifted off and flew back into the roof space. A positive sighting then because the pair are still about and should nest again this year, fingers crossed.
Further down the farm Seumus and Craig were setting up, trying their luck with Tree Sparrows, so wishing them well I sped past towards the summer plantation to fill the Niger feeders and put up a net or two while doing a spot of birding. The Goldfinch still haven’t arrived in any numbers and although I caught two, there were no more than 8 or 10 around. A threatening breeze quickly sprung up, putting paid to any extended ringing and I packed up with just 5 birds caught, 2 Goldfinch and 1 each of Chaffinch, Great Tit and Blackbird.
Birding gave me distant sightings yet again of the wintering Hen Harrier and a single Buzzard, with 2 Kestrels much closer and then 2 overflying Ravens heading towards St Michael’s village.
Other sightings this morning, 90+ Lapwings, including the first signs of display, 2 Grey Partridge, 45 Linnet, 7 Yellowhammer, 40 Chaffinch, 2 Great-spotted Woodpecker, 4 Curlew and 3 Skylark.
I saw 5 Roe Deer this morning, with Brown Hares were pretty active too, and generally more noticeable than of late running about the fields where some indulged in a little shadow boxing.
Coming off the farm I noted a pair of Stock Doves at a holey tree and 21 handsome Fieldfares living up to their name, and while keeping a watchful eye on my distant camera, they probed for food in the muddy soil.