Saturday, 23 December 2017

Pre Christmas birding and ringing

It is that time of year when there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get all the jobs done, errands completed and time for birding.  Consequently my birding has been limited.
Yesterday morning I was out just as dawn was breaking and came across at least 4 Brambling  and 20 + Tree Sparrows roosting in a hedge below Hanging Houghton . A Barn Owl was also out hunting the wide grassy field margins.  No further birding until just before dusk when I walked the dogs in fields adjacent to the Brampton Valley Way heading towards Brixworth. Again there was a Barn Owl hunting and this was joined by a Short Eared Owl.
Today it was more of the same as both Barn Owl and Short Eared Owl were again hunting this evening.   Earlier in the day I had visited Harrington Airfield which was rather quiet apart from 2 Hawfinches in bushes near the last bunker and 4 Grey Partridge.  
There was a single Hawfinch flying around Hanging Houghton village this morning.
I have checked the hedges for my earlier sightings of Long Eared Owl but haven't relocated them. Their appearance coincided with the cold snap of weather but there is no suitable hunting habitat so I suspect that they have moved on.

The ringers have been busy over the last couple of days.
Yesterday 22/12/17 Dave Francis and Jacob were ringing at the feeding station at Pitsford .  It was a quiet session, few birds, probably as it is so mild.  21 birds were caught which included 6 new Tree Sparrows which is the main target bird.
New Birds:   Tree Sparrow 6, Blackbird 1, Chaffinch 1,
 Goldfinch 1, Yellow Hammer 1.
Retraps: Blue Tit 4, Robin 2, Dunnock 2, Blackbird 1, Coal Tit 1, and Great Tit 1

Today Kenny Cramer and his helpers were at Linford near Milton Keynes.  This was the final ringing session at this site for 2017.  
A total of 53 birds were caught with 22 retrap Blue Tits and 16 Retrap Great Tits making up the bulk of the catch.
There were two new species caught today for the Linford ringing list. The first bird to hit the net was a dangerously cute adult male Tawny Owl !!  and at the end of the session a rather handsome male Water Rail caught in the potter traps.

Regards  Eleanor

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