Friday, August 27, 2010

Four Of A Kind

It’s getting to be a bit of a habit this ringing lark with our third session at Out Rawcliffe in a week when Will and I found yet another opportunity this morning with an overnight zero wind and a forecast for another fine morning.

I woke at 0430, too late for a short doze until the alarm but early enough for leisurely breakfast number one before a relaxed drive made me first on the moss. I logged the initial birds of the day with 2 Grey Partridge calling before both birds flew across my line of sight and landed deep in the potato field. This sighting was quickly followed by the loud calls of a nearby Tawny Owl in the plantation. Will arrived soon after to tell me of a Kestrel in the half-light hawking around the field next to the barn, but I think I won our “first birds of the day” competition this morning. We set up shop then set the nets.

The Ringing Shop and Cafe

Our very first net round caught a Blackcap and a Chaffinch but as we waited for the next circuit we saw and heard Tree Pipits overhead, with at least 6 birds involved, as four of them dropped into the trees. In fact not only did four birds descend into the trees but all four of them found the same net together. It’s not often a mist net holds four Tree Pipits in these parts. When released the pipits all flew off strongly south and resumed their migration. That little interlude proved a good omen as we enjoyed a successful morning with 30 birds of 8 species caught, 29 new and 1 recapture.

New birds: 4 Tree Pipit, 3 juveniles and 1 adult, 13 Chaffinch, 1 Blackcap, 2 Great Tit, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 1 Wren, 3 Whitethroat and 2 Willow Warbler. That takes our total of new Whitethroats for the site this year to only two short of the ton at 98 individuals; Willow Warblers to 76.

The single recapture was a Great Tit from this summer.

Tree Pipit

Blackcap

Long-tailed Tit

We almost caught 2 Sparrowhawks. As we checked along the net from the end of a ride a small male bounced off the net then flew away as almost immediately a second bird, this time a female, fell into the pocket from the other side. The larger bird freed itself as female Sparrowhawks often do because of their sheer size. Two that got away then, but we consoled ourselves with the thought that they were possibly the same birds we caught a few days ago. But in all truth they probably weren’t because of the number of small birds on or around the moss at the moment that will atract in raptors like Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and possibly Hobby.

Sparrowhawk

As well as the visible migration of Tree Pipits heading south we logged a small number of Meadow Pipits, with 10 or more high flying individuals. Associated with the pipits were 5 or more autumn calling Reed Buntings, but we didn’t catch any today.

Reed Bunting

Other birds seen this morning included 2 distant but loudly croaking Ravens, 2 Skylark, 7 Linnet, 18 Goldfinch, 3 Buzzard 2 Kestrel, 11 Tree Sparrows and 24 House Sparrows. I must say that both House Sparrows and Tree Sparrows appear to have completed a very successful breeding season and it does beg the question whether the cold winter actually suited our sparrows better than the warm winters of most recent years.

House Sparrow

Tree Sparrow

We remarked this morning how we hadn’t seen the regular Marsh Harrier of six or seven sightings in recent weeks but as I drove off the moss I saw it over to the east near the big field, its favourite hunting spot.

3 comments:

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Your images always just get me because of the beauty, but you get so close and can show off their beautiful expressive eyes. Your Long-tailed Tit is such a cool little bird, really love all of the feathery stuff going on~

Birdringal-andalus said...

This ring ...! Congratulations friend Phil, as would give to have cold feet and a good wool sweater because at the moment here in the south.
I have always called attention to one thing all banders English:
Because you never banded birds comfortably seated in a chair??
Logically or you are very nervous or cold that makes you stand up to heat the legs ...
Right now we are with the Redwing, a hug.
Fernando.

Phil said...

Hola mi amigo Fernando. Usted tiene razón. Estamos Debido a que es demasiado frío, demasiado húmedo o demasiado viento

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