Saturday, March 26, 2011

Blown Off Course

The forecast for ringing was “iffy” – a 9mph easterly that would potentially blow down from the fells, across the open mossland of Out Rawcliffe and then into our ringing spot, currently bare of leaf cover. But flushed with our recent successes Will and I decided to give it a start, and if all else failed, move to Plan B - management work in the plantation, topping up Niger feeders and erecting a nest box.

We started well enough with a number of Meadow Pipits dropping into the netting zone, Siskins and Lesser Redpolls flying over and a couple of birds, “mipit” and redpoll in the nets. More Meadow Pipits arrived, 40 or so, all from the south, as did a single high calling Fieldfare, but the wind quickly increased to a steady 20mph and billowed the nets too much for safety.

Meadow Pipit

Lesser Redpoll

We packed up, filled the Niger feeders that have caught us 35 Goldfinches so far this spring, spruced up a few netting locations and made a new net ride through a glade of silver birch.


We then turned our attention to a second box for the first of the two pairs of nearby Little Owls. There is a box that we think they roost in, a nest box also used one year by Great Tits who made hundred trips to fill the cavernous hole with nesting material. But the owls have not used the box for nesting, so we put up a second and hopefully more suitable box on another tree, close to where we see the Little Owls.

Little Owl Nest Box

Will and Little Owl Nest Box

As we hauled the box up to the tree and fixed it in place we speculated where the owls were, all the time with the feeling that maybe they sat just out of sight but watched us with great interest.

Little Owl

Back home a Lesser Redpoll sat on my garden feeder for a second day, a new addition to my garden list yesterday. I wonder when Lesser Redpolls began to use garden feeders in the UK? The closely related Siskin is reported to have used garden feeders since the early 1970s but I suspect Lesser Redpolls are much later. Answers please to Another Bird Blog.

Lesser Redpoll

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