Wednesday, 25 June 2014

18th to 24th June summary

It has been a week since my last post and I have to say that my efforts over that period have been far more productive and interesting than those of the England football team. I have put in what you might call a solid performance to use football parlance and have ringed 88 new birds of 18 species over the last seven days.

It hasn't all been ringing though as I have also found a few nests and there have been some interesting observations along the way. Best of the bird sightings were an adult Hobby over Crawford (22nd) and a few Curlews moving back towards the coast over Billinge Hill (one on 23rd and four on 24th). Below are some random photographs from the past few days that make for much better viewing than the football did, well they do for me at least.

The weather has been glorious this last week and this female Common Toad risked being caught out in the sun while crossing a track. I presume she was trying to find damper and cooler ground on what was a very hot afternoon.

I don't catch Goldcrests in juvenile plumage very often and I always think they look a bit odd without the yellow/orange crest. This was one of 4 caught together with an adult at the site near Upholland and indicates that they are breeding nearby.

OK it is only a bramble patch but this one held the Linnets nest shown in the photo below.

This is the second nest of a pair of Linnets that fledged a brood in early June. I will check the nest at weekly intervals to see how this breeding attempt goes.

This is the first Tree Sparrow I have ringed this year and was also caught at the new ringing site near Upholland. I have seen or heard a few Tree Sparrows on every visit to this site so I will hopefully catch a few more.

Treecreepers have an interesting shape to their eyes and this juvenile prompted me to take a closer look. The reason for the elongated shape only becomes apparent when you look at it from the back as if it was climbing up a tree. The shape and position of the eye allows them to see over their backs as you can see in the pictures below.

This bird may have its back to me but it can see me with both eyes without having to turn its head. This has obvious advantages for a bird that spends most of its life shuffling up trees.

Most predators are going to try and attack a Treecreeper from behind and this closeup shows the reason for that eye shape.  If you can see the eyes the eyes can see you and this adaptation clearly gives the bird the extra peripheral vision that it needs to help it try and avoid predators. I have noticed the elongated eye shape on Treecreepers before but this is the first time I have taken a closer look and worked out why.

A few more Willow Tits have found their way into the nets. This juvenile shows that diagnostic wing panel on the secondaries really well.

When I first spotted this nest I didn't think it was occupied. In fact it looked like an old nest that was starting to fall apart. Then I noticed a few white splashes below the nest so I decided to climb up and have a look. You can't tell from the photo but it was only about 20ft up in a willow.

It was well worth the climb as I found myself face to face with 5 Sparrowhawk chicks. From the ground the nest didn't look to be big enough for a Sparrowhawk and these 5 youngsters won't have much room as they grow. 

This Wood Pigeon has certainly gone out on a limb with this nest. There can't be much to hold it on there if anything at all. It just looked so out of place.
That gives you a flavour of my week, a good performance with plenty of interest and far more to marvel at than the sorry results from the England football team.

18th to 24th June Ringing Totals with retraps in brackets.
Blackcap  11
Whitethroat  4
Willow Warbler  6 (1)
Chiffchaff  4
Goldcrest  5
Meadow Pipit  2
Willow Tit  4 (1)
Blue Tit  4
Great Tit  7
Dunnock  4
Robin  3
Chaffinch  6
Greenfinch  5
Goldfinch  1
Tree Sparrow  1
Blackbird  1
Starling  19
Treecreeper  1
Total 88 (2)

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