Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Small Is Beautiful

Will and I had a good morning’s ringing, and after four hours of what is essentially work, we longed for a sit down, a wash and brush up, and some grub,but not necessarily in that order. But as we drove off the farm I couldn’t resist another ten minutes action when a Little Owl posed in a roadside tree and almost asked me to take a few photographs.

Little Owl

Little Owl

We’d grabbed a window of weather again, with a cold, frosty, but clear morning start and enjoyed a very successful session after a somewhat slow start. We bagged 44 new birds again, with one recapture, a Goldfinch from a week ago but small finches in general dominating our catch: 16 Goldfinch, 10 Chaffinch, 5 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Siskin, 1 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Reed Bunting, 1 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing.


As normal we arrived early in order to catch thrushes, with nets up in the dark for overnight travellers or local roosting birds, but numbers of thrushes were fairly low this morning with approximately 60 Redwing and 180 Fieldfare seen in the course of the whole morning. This was a low number compared to recent efforts for thrushes, however we weren’t too bothered when as compensation we caught several Lesser Redpoll and Siskin plus good numbers of Goldfinch. There is something quite special about handling the Carduelis group of small, handsome and delicate finches.



Lesser Redpoll

Lesser Redpoll


Like thrushes, Reed Buntings were down in comparison with recent days and weeks, and our catch of two birds was the smallest since the spring months, with a maximum of 25 birds about this morning. Reed Buntings can be notoriously difficult to age and sex, especially using ageing criteria of tail wear, because as a bird that feeds on the ground or in low cover, all or part of the tail feathers can wear or be lost quickly. However today we caught an adult female with a rare, text book tail, rounded almost to the point of being squared off.

Reed Bunting – Adult female

Reed Bunting – Adult tail

Although we caught 10 Chaffinch, their numbers moving through were also down to about 60 in total.

Other happenings this morning: 3 Roe Deer, 2 Sparrowhawks (male and female) hunting the plantation, 32 Snipe, 85 Skylark on the stubble field, 1 Kestrel.

1 comment:

Bridget said...

Incredibly cute little owl!!

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