Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Even more on Tawnys...

I've covered about 40% of my boxes so far and have a occupancy rate of about 50%. However, having checked the 'best' boxes first, I am expecting that to fall. Half the birds are still on eggs and only one brood big enough to ring. I also retrapped a female ringed in same wood as an adult 7 years ago.

More on Tawny Owls

Mick P and Ian joined me on the final few first round Tawny Box checks last night and although it was mainly squirrels and Jackdaws, we did find a single chick in one box. Occupancy rate about 20-25% at present.

Herons with NNRG

Mick P and I had a very pleasant day ringing herons at Besthorpe with North Notts Ringing Group today.

More Israel pics

White Pelicans
 Little Crakes
Savi's Warbler
Thrush Nightingale

NC Crows using tools

This is worth a watch too...

Blue Stork

I've seen many birds marked with coloured dye before - anyone know if this bird is from such a project?

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Baby Blabis

First Blackbird fledglings in Harby tonight.

Harby sightings

More House Martins seem to have moved in today and all common 8 warblers are singing. Best migrant of the morning though was a White Wagtail. Two Grass Snakes last week as well.

Holme Pierrepont, Sat 24 April

A last minute trip to HPP produced 22 birds including 4 Whitethroats, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and the first Green Woodpecker for a little while. We knew after last week that it wouldn't be long...

Owl boxes

I'm about two thirds of the way through checking my Tawny Owl boxes now and with the weather as it has been it has been pure pleasure. About 25% of them contain females sitting on eggs and as usual the rest are a random array of Stock Doves, Jackdaws and squirrels. Sitting females we leave well alone, so who knows how many eggs are involved, although one particularly feisty mother was making such a fuss we took her out and Duncan's first encounter with an adult Tawny will live forever in the scar tissue on his hands... Fortunately, she went back down quietly and quickly on her nest after we'd processed her.On Saturday, Meisha and Ruth came out to help and got a good dose of electric fences, barbed wire, ravenous sheep, growling squirrels and bumpy (not to mention steep) off-road driving. Who needs a Landrover... But it was another gorgeous day and there were butterflies and migrant birds everywhere. As well as the Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Willow Warblers that have been around for some time, we found Whitethroats all over the place and the odd Lesser Whitethroat and Garden Warbler. Yellow Wagtails and Swallows were also regular as well as the odd House Martin.
There were birds to ring too and Ruth and Meisha were both pleased with their first Stock Doves. Aren't they gorgeous?

Israel, April 2010

Kev, Chris and I had yet another great week in Israel. We all overdosed a little on Reed Warblers as there were thousands to catch if we had wanted. But as usual we did our own thing with good results and despite the actions of a certain volcano we made it back on time.
European Bee-eater
 Eastern Bonelli's Warbler
Common Buzzard
 Wood Warbler

Spring in Sweden

Some pics from a no doubt relieved Inge.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

From Inge

Nests from Mick P

Great Tit, Carrion Crow and Long-tailed Tit nests.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Holme Pierrepont, Sat 17 April

It was another warm, quiet and fairly short session at HPP. The migrants are dribbling in, but far fewer phylloscs around this week. Perhaps their flights have been cancelled because of the ash... And no hirundines, raptors or waders overhead despite (or perhaps because of) the beautiful clear blue sky, free of vapour trails.
We caught 21 birds, the same as last week. The highlight was in the first round, the season's first Reed Warbler carrying an R613 ring. Look forward to finding out how old that is.We wondered whether it might have even been older than Archie.
Quite a few Blackcaps were singing and the first females were in evidence, including 2 of the 3 we caught. Note the moult limit in the male's wing that indicates that it was born last year. The outermost greater covert, carpal covert and possibly largest alula feather are all browner juvenile feathers.
Reed Buntings seemed to be everywhere and we caught several, though they remain a headache to age. For reference, this is a known adult female's tail. These can look surprisingly narrow, but not quite as abraded as the young birds.
Lastly, a Green Woodpecker was very nearly the catch of the day. Maybe next time...

Swallow timings

Apparently the South Africa Bird Atlas data is showing many swallows' departure was a couple of weeks later compared with last year. Will be interesting to see if this is reflected here. I've certainly not seen many yet.
For more go to http://sabap2.adu.org.za and scroll down the Latest News section.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Marsh & Willow Tits

A good article on these two species available here:
Marti & Wilti article
It's on the ringer's forum pages if this link doesn't work.

Mick P

More breeding news...

Pied Wagtails making very good progress on their nest at my school.

Breeding season news...

I checked some Tawny Owl boxes on 13 April and found several on eggs and 2 with chicks. Also, one of the small boxes I put up at work has 3 Great Tit eggs in it and the other 2 have nests that are almost complete.
Mick P

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Holme Pierrepont, Sun 11 April

With 21 birds caught, it was a steady start to the summer season at HPP. However, the weather was good and our catch included several migrants. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were singing everywhere, though strangely we caught none of the latter. We did catch 3 Chiffchaffs though including a retrap from last year. We also trapped a single Willow Warbler, though there were far fewer of these about. Can you tell which is which? It's not too difficult in spring.
Note the brighter coloration of the Willow, its bolder supercilium, longer wing and slightly paler legs.We also caught a single Sedge and there were several of these singing too.
Other birds around included several Oystercatchers, the occasional Buzzard, vocal Water Rails and Little Grebes and the previous day a Curlew and several Swallows had been flying around. Ride clearing was minimal thanks to the fantastic efforts of last autumn.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Turnstone tracking

Worth a read...


First Willow Warbler singing here in Harby yesterday, along with many Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps. Also Brimstone, Peacock, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Orange-tip and Speckled Wood.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Postcards from Brazil

We had wonderful weather here during the weekend, but today Stockholm is covered in snow again. Only a few summer visitors have arrived so far: Chaffinches, Woodpigeons and Barnacles. Believe it or not, a Chaffinch can sound really exotic after so many months of winter silence!

The previous week I had a flash visit to Aracaju, NE Brazil, for a 3-day conference. By sneaking out of the hotel very early in the morning every day I managed to get quite a few hours worth of birdwatching. It was great to find Southern Lapwings, Burrowing Owls, Southern Crested Caracaras, Striated Herons, Guira Cuckoos, etc, etc, etc, within a 100m radius from the conference venue. Most species were relatively tame and easy to photograph. Ruddy Ground-doves were one of the few exceptions: they used to be hunted massively and thus have good reasons to flee for their lives as soon as something, such as a camera+ telelens, is pointed in their direction.

I didn't have much time, but loved what I did see of of Brazil... and have already added the country to my holiday wish list.

A larger selection of my Brazil wildlife photos can be found on Flicker: