Thursday, 18 December 2014

Mild, wet and windy!


The current bout of mild, windy and occasionally wet weather is not particularly conducive for good winter birding locally, but it does provide an opportunity to see other wildlife.

John Porter saw a flying Brimstone butterfly at Summer Leys yesterday and reported that the Golden Plovers gathered there looked superb in the winter sunshine. 

Young Hedgehogs are still wandering around at a time when they should be hibernating. It seems that the offspring from the late breeding efforts often don't have time to bulk up for hibernation and as a result rarely survive the winter; the lack of adequate sustenance and fat reserves makes them liable to pneumonia and similar conditions. However in a mild winter these youngsters will continue to feed and with supplementary food and/or captive conditions can make it through the winter months. It may not be just the birds that are eating foodstuffs put out in the garden!

Eleanor has been visiting Harrington Airfield regularly and feeding the birds on the concrete track where it junctions the minor road to Draughton. Nothing of specific interest as yet but today there were good numbers of Chaffinches, Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings and even Blackbirds and Blue Tits taking advantage of the food.

Today we received  news of ringing effort returns, the more interesting as follows...

i. Pete Gilbert was working at Pitsford Reservoir today and on the reserve found a decomposed body of a Tawny Owl. It transpires that this bird was ringed as a nestling in one of the reserve owl boxes in April 2012. Clearly it didn't live very long and it seems didn't travel far;
ii. A young male Blackcap ringed at Pitsford on 13th Sept 2014 was caught again by ringers at Icklesham, Sussex on 25th Sept 2014;
iii. A Lesser Redpoll ringed at Stortons Gravel Pits on 7th Oct 2012 was caught again by ringers operating in South Lanarkshire, Scotland on 19th April 2014;
iv. A young female Cetti's Warbler ringed at Stortons GP on 31st Aug 2013 and was then caught by ringers working at Rutland Water on 16th May 2014;
v. A female Goldfinch ringed at Astcote (South Northants) on 4th Feb 2014 was found freshly dead at Crossrigg, Cumbria on 22nd Oct 2014;
vi. A juvenile Blue Tit ringed at Greens Norton on 7th Sept this year then took a 32km journey north to Stanford Reservoir where it was caught by ringers on 23rd October. I wonder what stimulated it to travel north to another area of the county (the British breeding stock of this species is normally pretty sedentary)?


Neil M
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