Saturday, May 22, 2010


Sometimes you don’t catch a particular species for weeks or months then just when you least expect it, the mist net finds them, just like today when not only did Will and I catch a Sparrowhawk but also Mistle Thrush. Mistle Thrushes don’t find our nets very often and the chances are that we ring nestlings rather than catch full grown birds. Not content with catching the first one for some years, just like buses, two came along at once when we caught two birds, a male and a female, together in the same net.

And after a run of Sparrowhawks for months back neatly flying under, over and around our nets, this morning a second calendar year male stayed in the pocket long enough for me to pull it out. This was soon after we found its last item of prey, a freshly dead partly eaten male Corn Bunting, probably the one that has sung from the same set of song posts for weeks now. The song posts it used were amongst the line of small hawthorn bushes along the edge of the plantation – woodland edge, a favoured hunting habitat for a Sparrowhawk.



Mistle Thrush

Back to the beginning. The morning started at 0310 when I awoke to glance at the alarm clock set for 0400, and careful not to doze off, I waited until 0345 to get up. Most ringers will agree that the promise of a netting session prevents them from sleeping until the alarm and more than likely the early hours are spent actually waiting for the alarm to ring; I’m sure it’s something to do with unconscious anticipation of the unexpected. But it did mean that I wasn’t late for our appointment at Rawcliffe Moss for 0500 where we set the normal 320feet of net and waited for the rush of birds.

New birds caught today were 4 Whitethroat, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Willow Warbler, the aforementioned 2 Mistle Thrush and 1 Sparrowhawk. Retraps were 4 Whitetroats, 1 Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Willow Warbler and 1 Dunnock.

A couple of the Goldfinch showed very noticeable build up of what we though to be nyjer seed residue on their bills. One of those Goldfinch is shown below and it would be interesting to know whether these birds are still finding nyjer in gardens or whether their bills are coated like this from a winter feeding on the black seeds.


Willow Warbler

Female Whitethroat

As expected, migration has all but ceased and the only definite migrant we saw was a Wheatear.

We found our friendly neighbourhood Buzzard still maintaining a vigil on the the same branch of same tree as some weeks ago, near the pair’s nest and a single Kestrel hovering over our nets and the set aside fields. Otherwise much was quiet while most birds settle in to nest.



Mary Howell Cromer said...

Woah Wow, the Kestral images are terrific, as are each of them, yet these are absolutely outstanding, great entries~

Unravel said...

Congratulations on the sparrowhawk.
It looks great at close range.

forestal said...

wonderful pictures


eileeninmd said...

Awesome shot of the Kestral! Wonderful photos of all the birds.

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