Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bits N Bobs

If Saturday was a day for Goldfinches then today wasn’t. Read on, but first news of a Barn Owl, the victim of a passing vehicle, the bird found dead by the roadside at Hambleton on 30th March as reported  HERE.

Barn Owl

A notification from the BTO tells me that GC29414 was first ringed 2 miles from Hambleton as a nestling on 26 July 2006, 2442 days or almost seven years before it died.The average lifespan for a Barn Owl is about 4 years, the oldest one known from bird ringing being 15 years of age. So despite GC29419 being a very experienced adult, it still fell victim to a vehicle. 

As the BTO remind us - “Each year over 900,000 birds are ringed in Britain and Ireland, by over 2,500 highly trained bird ringers, most of whom are volunteers. Ringing began over 100 years ago to study the movements of birds. While it continues to generate information about movements, it also allows study of how many young birds leave the nest and survive to breed as adults, as well as how many adults live from year to year and how many birds disperse to different breeding sites. Collection of this information helps understand why populations increase or decline - vital information for bird conservation. After over a hundred years of bird ringing in Britain and Ireland there is still much more to learn!” 

With more northerly wind this morning but after Saturday’s success I decided to try my luck again at the feeding station. When I arrived a Barn Owl was hunting the fields, even flying about my ringing station where soon I would find out there weren’t any new migrants and even the Goldfinches mostly absent.

Barn Owl

Just three Goldfinches this morning, and as if to reinforce the previous point about “still much to learn”, one of the Goldfinch bore a ring D130275 from elsewhere. I suspect it may be from across the other side of Morecambe Bay as a recent Goldfinch control here, D137544 had been ringed last autumn at Heysham some 20kms away.

 Goldfinch D137544 - Heysham 22nd Oct 2012 to Out Rawcliffe 28th Feb 2013

Goldfinch

The 7 birds caught today, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Dunnock, 1 Willow Warbler and surprise, surprise, a recapture of the Little Bunting first ringed here on 13th March. Upon examination I aged it once again as a second calendar year female. The bird now has more colouration in the face with the whitish eye ring more conspicuous. I reckon by now the poor creature is well and truly lost and therefore highly unlikely to find a route to north-east Europe or northern Asia where it should be now. Even less likely is that it will find a mate here in the wilds of the Lancahire mosses.

Little Bunting

Little Bunting

Not much doing on the migration front with a single Lesser Whitethroat singing nearby, one Lesser Redpoll over and several Swallows heading north. The 18/20 Whimbrel in the next fields have been there some days now and if only I could get as close to a Whimbrel here in Lancashire as the one I photographed in January's Fuerteventura holiday.

Whimbrel

Otherwise stuff - 4 Yellowhammer in song, 7+ Whitethroat, 6+ Willow Warbler, 15 Tree Sparrow, 8 Corn Bunting, 4 Reed Bunting, 2 Buzzard, 2 Wheatear and 2 Kestrel. 

Yellowhammer

It has been cold for weeks now but I know for sure things will warm up soon on Another Bird Blog, so log in later to see why.

Meanwhile take a look at Stewart's gallery down in Australia where it just has to be warmer than here -  http://paying-ready-attention-gallery.blogspot.com.au/

18 comments:

EG CameraGirl said...

It's a dream of mine to see and photograph a barn owl. How sad to see one hit by a car. \\Your goldfinches are soooo colourful. Very lovely.

Isidro Ortiz said...

Hello Phil,seme parte el alma cada vez que veo una bonita rapaz como es la Lechuza comun muerta,es una lastima.Por otro lado te dire que las capturas son estupendas sobre todo la captura de la Lechuza en vuelo.Un abrazo

Chris Rohrer said...

Thanks for the follow up on this bird. Very interesting information. I love the studies that go on behind the scenes.

mick said...

Very interesting details about the bird ringing and the information obtained from it. Shorebirds used to be ringed out here as well but recently colored flags have been used. Some are also being marked with numbers and figures. This makes it much easier to see details from a distance away - mostly through a scope. I still find it exciting when I spot on of these special birds and report it back to the central data base.

Carole M. said...

beautiful images all, 'cepting the tragedy for the barn owl

HansHB said...

Great post for the theme, lovely to study Your photos!

eileeninmd said...

Phil, awesome shots of all the birds. I especially love the Barn owl and the Goldfinch. The Yellowhammer is a beauty too. I did not know that ringing began so long ago, 100 years is a long time. Great post and photos.

Karen said...

How sad to see such a beautiful bird's life ended in tragedy. We found a dead Sharp Shinned Hawk on the weekend.

Your Goldfinches are so pretty, and that Yellowhammer is lovely!

Russell Jenkins said...

I'd love to see a barn owl hunting if it was light enough. Great that it'd made maturity and more but still sad it had to die as roadkill. Some great shots there, Phil.

Arija said...

So sad about the owl that became road-kill. I have notice when driving at night, the owls often sit in the middle of the road. They may be feasting on some road-kill themselves or just waiting for a mouse to cross the road. I have often had to brake for an owl that was blinded by the lights of my vehicle. Others, unfortunately are not as observant or caring.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Such lovely shots of the beautiful birds. So sad for the owl that was struck by a vehicle. :( At least it lived twice as long as the average. Still...

Gunilla Bäck said...

Beautiful photos. I love the flying owl.

Stuart Price said...

A Little Bunting? Nice find! They are as scarce here probably........

Shame about the Owl.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

The Whimbrel and Yellowhammer images are awesome, as is the Barn Owl in flight Phil. How very unfortunate that yet, another Barn Owl is dead. Sadly one evening, many years ago, I was traveling home after dark, and out of seemingly nowhere, a Screech Owl, flew into the side of our SUV and was killed. I know that these things can happen, and always sad to me~

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Thank you for including the information about ringing (you had answered some of my questions about it earlier, but I appreciated very much the brush-up) and it makes me happy to think about this research going on for such a long time and the dedicated volunteers who do it.

I am sad about the barn owl...I wish birds could evolve to be more savvy about traffic and picture windows.

The other pictures are wonderful.

Chris said...

Hi Phil,
Wowo you have whimbrel, they are just about to arrive over here and it is still snowy! Poor barn owl... I'm so bad to think about the fact that people just crash them with cars!!

Wally Jones said...

Quite interesting history on your Barn owl! It appears the birds all know it's Spring but you need to tell the weather person!
Very informative post and (naturally) superb photographs!
We've been having rain all this week but it's much needed.

Cheers - Wally

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

We found a Barred Owl, smucked by a car in winter. I took photos. So beautiful!

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