Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Tawny Owls rung.

A brood of Tawny Owls were rung recently at Thornton. They are using a Barn Owl design style box.

A very snooty youngster!

The female was also very tolerant and allowed herself to be lifted from the nest and rung. We returned the chicks and then replaced her in the box.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Bumper year for the Blue Tit

We spent Sunday afternoon checking our nest boxes, as its till too windy to do any mist-netting. The Tree Sparrows have already successfully fledged their first broods of which we ringed 27 chicks a week ago and are now on their second clutches. In the big wood the Blue Tits are doing very well as we ringed 74 chicks, brood size was 1 with 12, 1 with 11, 2 with 10 and several with 9. All the chicks were in good condition with no casualties found apart from the odd egg that hadn't hatched. We still have another 8 boxes containing 47 Blue and 25 Great Tit to ring later in the week, as these were too small to ring.
With a possible 121 Blue Tits from this one site compared to only 47 last year I think we can call it a bumper year for the Blue Tit. (here at least anyway)

Monday, 16 May 2011


Conditions for catching at the sewage works were not ideal, mainly due to the wind, but a handful of Swifts were caught along with Swallows and House Martin. What you can see in the hand but not the field is the subtle pale fringing around the white throat and just how short the legs are.

If you've ever wondered how Swift species can just hang on to a wall vertically then I can attest that they have needle sharp claws which are deployed with a vice like grip from above and below. One bird in particular just locked on and took some effort to extract from my finger. The other thing I always find with Swifts is the parasitic flat flies that are used to the host being airborne 99% of the time must wonder why everything's gone quiet so come out for a look. I ususally 'remove' them as a parting gift before the birds go on their way.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

New Site Tick.

An early morning start at WCP reedbed resulted in a site tick in the form of this smart Jay. The black lines on these feathers are in line so it is an adult.

We also caught a family party of recently fledged Long tailed tits. Does the crown remind you of Jedward or is it just me!