Thursday, March 29, 2018

Trying

I missed two ringing sessions. Tuesday was half-term duties and then on Wednesday I had to wait in for the heating engineer. 

Andy was out on both days when he caught the first Chiffchaff of spring, several Meadow Pipits, half a dozen each of both Siskin and Lesser Redpoll and the usual bits & bobs of Dunnocks, Robins and Blue Tits. 

Wednesday was a chance to catch up with spring and the example set by Andy. We met up at 0630 to a gentle south-easterly and hopeful vibes, but 2° with an ice warning on the dashboard said otherwise. And so it was, with just 7 birds caught in more than three hours - 3 Goldfinch, 1 Siskin, 1 Coal Tit, 1 Meadow Pipit and 1 Goldcrest. The latter was our first of the spring and now some two weeks later than normal.

Meadow Pipit 

Goldcrest 

Siskin

The tiny and quite stunning Siskin is a species that ringers like to catch. 

It is also one of the bird success stories of recent years. Since the 1950s the maturation of new conifer plantations has aided the spread of breeding Siskins throughout the UK from their previous stronghold in the Scottish Highlands. 

The Siskins' habit of using garden feeders, especially in late winter, has developed since the 1960s and despite many winter birds in gardens migrating to the Baltic region to breed, may also have helped boost the UK breeding population. 

 The 1988-91 Breeding Atlas identified a major expansion of the breeding range into southern Britain and subsequently there have been further considerable range gains, especially in the south and west. The 1970s and 1980s saw more Common Bird Census plots occupied but samples were insufficient for annual monitoring until Breeding Bird Survey began in 1994. 

Results since then show parallel fluctuations of populations both in England and Scotland. To some extent this probably reflects the occasional large continental influxes affecting spring numbers on a broad UK scale. 

As might be expected from the figures above, this morning’s visible migration was nil. But all was not lost. On the way home and at 11 am I spotted a day hunting Barn Owl across distant fields. I spent twenty minutes or more watching as the owl ranged far and wide, high and low in search of a meal before it seemed to head back home. 

Barn Owl 

Barn Owl

Barn Owl 

It wasn’t the most successful morning but nice to finish on a Barn Owl high. More soon – stay tuned. 



20 comments:

Rhodesia said...

Wow how good is that to see a barn owl out hunting and be able to record it. Fabulous. Diane

eileeninmd said...

Hello, great series of bird photos. I love the Owl images, what an awesome sight. Happy Thursday, enjoy your day!

David Gascoigne said...

Good morning Phil: Whatever the success of your banding exploits your Barn Owls seem to be the constant, so with that as a backstop it’s hard to imagine any outing being anything but a resounding success. I have had a few good looks at this species, but more often than not they have been distant birds, or individual partly hidden from view. And I haven’t seen one in many years.

Angie said...

I would be on a high too if I ever saw a barn owl like this, much less captured such wonderfully varied shots of it! Love it!!!! Have a wonderful weekend and a blessed Easter!

Stuart Price said...

I remember very occasionally seeing Siskins in my parents' back garden back in the 1980's but they were always scarce as I recall. In Hokkaido they are mainly winter visitors but numbers fluctuate massively year to year.

eileeninmd said...

Hello Phil, I have always wanted to see the Barn Owl in the wild. I just love these shots of the owl on the hunt. Love the cute songbirds, the Goldcrest and Siskin are beautiful. Thank you for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your weekend. Happy Easter to you and your family.

Schotzy said...

Looks like the barn owl captured everyone's heart.. mine as well!!! Would love to see one!!

A Colorful World said...

You got some great work in! Great Goldcrest and I love the Barn Owl!

sandyland said...

GOOD FOR YOU NEVER GIVING UP - NEAT OWL TOO

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Beautiful flight shot of the barn owl! Nice that they hunt in the daytime -- I didn't know that. Nice success story for the siskins, which indeed are a charming tiny bird!

Betty Crow said...

It's a rare occasion when I see an owl. You sure got some awesome action shots. Happy Easter.

Anni said...

Hi! I'm back from my cruise to Jamaica and wanted to stop by and thank you for visiting I'd Rather B Birdin' in my absence. Have a great day! Hope to see you soon.

Love the siskin image, so colorful and of course owls are always a favorite of mine.

Stewart M said...

20 minutes with a Barnie makes up for most things I think!

The dove eating the acorn: the acorns from the street trees in my street are not as large as the ones I used to see in the UK - they would be about the same size as a pea. I other street nearby there are 'full size acorn oaks' and their acorns seem to go uneaten. Maybe I should ship over some Jays!!

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Jenn Jilks said...

A barn owl. I've never spotted one. My client used to have one in her barn. I don't have time to explore it, though.

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

Great photography especially the owl.

NC Sue said...

Love these photos, especially of the barn owl!
Thanks for linking up at https://image-in-ing.blogspot.com/2018/04/biltmore-estate-in-bloom.html

Mary Cromer said...

Oh to see those Barn Owls...just such lovely Owls. Hint hint for my blog this week...let me just say, it was on my short life bird list. Barn Owls are on it mainly for not having seen one, possibly one in flight over a year ago, since 1981 ish. You are so fortunate to see them as you do~

Clipping Solutions said...

This owl shot is so beautiful. Really appreciate your sharing.Keep taking these amazing shots.

Kelleyn Rothaermel said...

Stunning!

Lowcarb team member said...

A beautiful barn owl ...

All the best Jan

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