Thursday, January 10, 2013

Mainly Finches

The weather this week has been mostly nasty, rain or fog and simply no sunshine, so when this morning dawned grey and cloudy but decidedly dry I headed over to Out Rawcliffe for a ringing session. During Tuesday’s rain I topped the feeders and scattered a little finch food, and with Wednesday being a shoot day which would keep birds away for a while, I hoped for a decent catch today. 

Arriving in the half-light I followed a Barn Owl for a while as it hunted along the road ahead of the car, then as I slowed to watch the owl it sped away with that rather rapid wing beat that Barn Owls can employ. 

The session was quite steady with just 4 species but a reasonable total of 24 new birds which were mainly finches, but no recaptures today: 10 Chaffinch, 10 Goldfinch, 3 Reed Bunting and 1 Brambling. The catch reflected the number of birds in the area today, with a mixed flock of c 160 Chaffinch and 8 Brambling in the distant stubble, a small number of which find their way to the nets. Once again there were 18/20 Reed Bunting along the woodland/field edge and a coming-and-going count of 45+ Goldfinch. 

A couple of this morning’s Chaffinches proved to be of probable Continental origin, an adult male with a wing length of 95mm and an adult female with a length of 87mm, both measurements almost as long as their respective limits. 

 Chaffinch - adult male

The single Brambling caught was a second calendar year (born 2012) female. The very pointy tail feathers gave the game away. 

Brambling - second calendar year female

Brambling - second calendar year female

Today’s three Reed Bunting added to the 23 apparently winterering but also very mobile birds caught here in November, December and to date in January 2013.

Reed Bunting

The ringing kept me fairly busy, however in-between times I clocked up 1750 Woodpigeon, 2 Jay, 2 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 32 Corn Bunting, 90 Fieldfare, 22 Redwing, 4 Blackbird, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Skylark. 

On the way home I couldn’t resist a shot of the dependable and regular Little Owl, even though I had to use ISO800 and over expose due to the poor light.

Little Owl

Keep looking in folks, Another Bird Blog is back soon.


Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

Yowzers! Another impressive series! Seeing all the detail along with your commentary is a wonderful way to learn more about birds.

grammie g said...

Hey Phil...I am glad that you have time to be out there chasing birds while I am here digging down a foot in the ground to find the cap to my septic tank to have it pumped I won't say what I think of it except that it is a "crappy" job in the middle of winter!!
My bird count for yesterday was one American Bald Eagle ..Flew right over my head , and of course here I am with a shovel instead of a camera..darn that stunk !! ; )
Phil really you are doing a great work my friend..and I do love that Owl ..someday I hope to see one!!
Your friend here under sunny skies and temp's up in the 40 : )

eileeninmd said...

Sounds like a cool outing to me following a barn owl. That would make my day! Is it better to find new birds to band or would you rather catch already banded birds? Great photos, the Little Owl is my favorite. Have a great weekend and happy birding!

Russell Jenkins said...

Those are really beautiful tail feathers and high iso or not the Little Owl is always worth a look. What a cool bird.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I had to go look up "little owl" find it is a species, not just an adjective. Kind of like E/elegant terns. In awe as always of the bird count and the good work y'all do!

Jen said...

It's a nice owl photo. I have yet to see one not in captivity, though I often hear them.

Alligators are actually not very likely to eat anyone, unless you insist upon getting too close - then all bets are off.

Chris said...

Hi Phil,
It has been the same over here, very nasty weather! So I did not go out birding yet ;-) Nice little owl picture, I love it!

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