Friday, May 18, 2012

A Bit Of Everything

It’s all very well this going on holiday but there’s an awful lot of catching up to do eventually. 

I spent this morning checking Tree Sparrow boxes at Out Rawcliffe: without much luck as it happened because a couple of broods had obviously fledged, three adults were on eggs and the remaining boxes were occupied by either Blue or Great Tit. No joy with two owl boxes but the visit was productive in other ways as I met a neighbouring farmer who would like both Barn Owl and Little Owl boxes on his own farm – a job for Will when he returns from Scotland. Also here, 2 singing Yellowhammer, 2 Whitethroat, a singing Willow Warbler and a singing Lesser Whitethroat. 

 Whitethroat

A visit to our ringing site was overdue, mainly to see how much the vegetation had encroached on net rides during wet and windy May, but all was quite good with a netting session on the cards soon. Walking through the plantation I came across a couple of nests, a Chaffinch one with 4 eggs and then 25 metres away an unfinished and as yet empty nest which looked very Chaffinch-like. 

 Chaffinch Nest

Chaffinch Nest?

Other birds here, 8 Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Blackcap and 6 Willow Warbler, 1 Buzzard overhead, 6 Yellowhammer and 3 Corn Bunting. 

Again this year in Menorca I was struck by how common the Corn Bunting still is as a result of the islander’s traditional farming methods. Another prominent feature of the Corn Bunting in Menorca is their apparently large bills compared to ones I see locally in Lancashire. There are some shots below, and maybe I just captured pictures of particularly large Menorcan males in the unyielding Menorca sunlight, but the bill does appear very hefty. 

Birds of the Western Palearctic (BWP) suggests that although both Menorcan and UK Corn Buntings are of the nominate race Miliaria calandra, the Balearic Corn Buntings are if anything marginally smaller than their UK cousins. 

Corn Bunting - Lancashire

 Corn Bunting - Menorca

 Corn Bunting - Menorca

In Menorca the fields of summer flowers are left as winter fodder for the local cattle, a system which inevitably leads to an abundance of arable seeds for wintering Corn Buntings, finches and larks.

Linnet
 
 Menorca Flower Field

Menorca Flowers

12 comments:

Christian said...

Hi Phil

Great news about the Barn Owl boxes - what a great farmer!

Rohrerbot said...

Wow! The Owl boxes sound fascinating. And that's interesting about Menorca and the corn. Didn't know. So much I don't know....but it's all fascinating. I'd love to put owl boxes up somewhere:) But I'm not there yet. I've got to attract them to our garden first:)

news said...

Hi Phil: Oh to have fields like that in this country All the best JWB.

Friend of HK said...

A family of little chaffinches are on their way!

eileeninmd said...

It is very nice of the farmer to want the owl boxes on his farm. The photos and birds are wonderful. I love the field of flowers, they look like Poppies. Great post. Have a wonderful weekend, Phil!

Vita Stunder said...

Owl boxes sound fascinating!

Great serie!

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Welcome home Phil!
That little Linnet sure is a beauty!
The Chaffinch nest is quite interesting, if indeed that is what it is, very intricate it appears.
Those fields of flowers are delightful and I am sure that Sue also enjoyed them very much.
Happy weekend~

Kay L. Davies said...

Lovely birds, Phil. I'm also back, but just from a week's visit to my family on the west coast, and not feeling quite up to snuff, but am doing what I can for my new kitchen, which will be put in on Tuesday.
K

Denise said...

Great post with wonderful photos.

emmanoelle said...

They so cute. Nice post!

aviary

chubskulit said...

Those are very unique looking eggs,.

Come and see the cicada in my critter entry.

Pia said...

I enjoyed your post so much. Wish I could have an owl box in my garden.

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