Friday, October 28, 2011

Early Owl But No Lottis

Out Rawcliffe 0645 - as usual Will and I had set nets before first light to await the thrushes, but we soon found something other than early Redwings.

The Tawny Owls have been calling to each other for a week or two, usually further away from our nets, but one got a surprise this morning when in the almost total darkness the bird’s flight path was interrupted by a 60ft net. There is an overlap of Tawny Owl measurements, and although from its plumage characteristics we could tell it was an adult, the weight and wing length meant it could be a male or a female. Whichever sex the bird was it proved pretty feisty with the talons, so we took a leg out of the bird bag for ringing before looking more closely at the bird itself.

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

We had a quite productive morning of ringing with 29 birds caught, 28 new and one recapture, a recent Goldfinch. New birds: 10 Chaffinch, 5 Reed Bunting, 4 Redwing, 4 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Goldfinch and one each of Tawny Owl, Dunnock and Great Tit.


The early thrush movement was probably the quietest of the autumn so far, with seemingly no more than 50 Redwing, 12 Fieldfare, 5 Song Thrush and a couple only of Blackbirds on the move soon after dawn, then virtually none during the remainder of the morning. The Chaffinch passage was similarly down with our estimate of c80 only during four hours. The trapped Chaffinches included a couple of larger males, perhaps a sign that more northerly individuals are beginning to spread from the south and east of the UK.

We noted an increase in both Siskins and Lesser Redpolls this morning, with small parties and numerous calls of both species, at times intermixed or accompanying Goldfinches. Our estimate came to 40 Siskin and 35 Lesser Redpoll, but the Lesser Redpolls are more easily caught than the Siskins. We added 5 more Reed Buntings to our autumn total and estimated the species throughput this morning at 10 or 12 in addition to the 5 caught.

Lesser Redpoll

Apart from the endless flights inland of approximately 2000 Pink-footed Geese, this morning’s birding was quiet: 1 Kestrel, 1 Buzzard, 11 Snipe, 1 Corn Bunting, 12 Whooper Swans and an uncounted number of Grey Partridge calling invisibly before dawn. Thankfully a roving flock of 26 Long-tailed Tits did not find one of our mist nets.

Long-tailed Tit


euthymic said...

It is really nice, the type of work that you do:) Monitoring the bird population is one way of establishing early warning signs of needful protection.

Russell said...

When I was young in Australia, (maybe almost 30 years ago), I bought a book about owls by Eric Hosking. I've never seen a Tawny Owl but I'm always reminded of that beautiful book when I hear the name. That Long-tailed Tit pose is perfect.

Paco Sales said...

Un buen trabajo anillando y tomando los datos de estás aves, un bello mochuelo con una viva mirada. Un abrazo Phil

Seasons said...

Phil, the picture of the Tawny Owl is certainly eye-catching. The Long-tailed Tit in the end is very beautiful too. Wonderful to have such variety of birds, and never knowing what might turn up next! Thanks for sharing.

ArtMuseDog and Carol said...

Beautiful 'critters' and great shot! ~ thanks, namaste, Carol (A Creative Harbor) linked to CC ^_^

Anonymous said...

Great shots!

Romina said...

Such a nice work and it seems to be fun too. The photos were just gorgeous and nice to know a variety and other breed of birds.

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful birds, the owl is my favorite. What a beautiful bird. Great photos.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

Bravo top to bottom...very cool catch of the Tawny Owl and glad you did not snag those Long-tailed Tits...what a glorious collection of birds you get to work with. Happy Weekend Phil!

Kay L. Davies said...

Lovely owl, and the long-tailed tit is absolutely adorable. (Oh, I'm such a gushy old lady, but I was a gushy young woman once, too.)
I always enjoy your blog, Phil. Someone commented on my Russian bird post "Oh, I thought it would be Phil who identified your birds, and it was" so you were famous even before I mentioned you.

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

Ruta said...

Beautiful birds...I am partial to owls.

Christian said...

Must be a great thrill to have a wild owl in your hand Phil. What a creature!

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