Saturday, March 12, 2011

Owls And Things

It was Out Rawcliffe this morning where as a change to my normal direction I first took a walk through the wood and headed for the big field. Lucky I did when I chanced upon a roosting Tawny Owl which obliged by not flying off.

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

The owl wasn’t the only thing in the wood, with a pair of Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 30+ Chaffinch, 5 Blackbirds and several Tree Sparrows chattering around the nest boxes. Along the big hedge were another 20 or so Tree Sparrows, 3 Reed Bunting, 2 Yellowhammer and 2 Corn Bunting, one in song. From the big field itself a group of 9 Stock Dove took off at my approach, then a little more distant, a gang of 40+ Lapwings.

It’s very exasperating at the moment with between 30 and 50 Siskins and lots of Chaffinch still in Will’s garden but a nagging wind that makes it a touch too blustery for a ringing session. Up on the moss, so open it’s guaranteed to catch any wind that’s in the offing, I discovered that the feeders put up last week had attracted a number of Goldfinch and 10 Chaffinch. Predictably the annoying gusts were there too, blowing through the still bare, leafless trees. 15 Lesser Redpolls were also in the wood, moving about quietly in the masses of alder trees, but unlike Siskins that readily take to artificial feeders, around here at least, Redpolls haven’t done so to the same extent. However perseverance is the name of the game and the feeders will stay up for a while, and there’s lots of Redpoll to come in the next few months.

My finch count didn’t include the odds and sods of 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Dunnocks, the Robins and titmice aplenty, which today included 4 Long-tailed Tits, all of which mooched around the food on offer. So I topped up the feeders with black magic and crossed everything available in the hope of calmer weather and a spot more ringing soon.

Long-tailed Tit

Apart from the nagging breeze it wasn’t a bad morning for birding, quiet enough and very cloudy, but no hint of the snow promised for Ireland to the west and The Lake District just 40 miles up the M6. The Buzzards were very active this morning, still resolving disputes, amongst themselves and with the Carrion Crows which harass them at every turn. I counted 7 Buzzards this morning.


On the way home I looked across to a distant tree that held last year’s Kestrel nest; no Kestrel there, but a pair of Stock Doves sat directly above the entrance hole. As I watched the doves moved from near the hole a Little Owl popped out of the cavity and just sat there in the entrance, perhaps to emphasize its occupation to the now departed doves. A poor picture I know, but that Little Owl’s dogged determination to hold on to that nesting spot just made me smile.

Little Owl

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