Friday, 1 August 2014

July ends in fine style.

I finished off the month the way I started it with an evening ringing session at Billinge. I set up the usual 2 nets in what were near perfect conditions - pleasantly warm, overcast and just a light breeze. The first check of the nets didn't produce a single bird and it soon became apparent that most of the warblers that were around previously had moved on and they hadn't been replaced by others moving in. There were a few warblers around but nothing like the numbers there had been. I wasn't sure if any Swallows would come in to roost either or if they had moved on too but I decided to stick it out anyway. I am certainly glad that I did as around 150 Swallow gathered along with a few House Martins and 35 of the former were caught.

Juvenile Swallow.
Swallows topped the ringing totals for the day and the month.

As I was extracting the last few Swallows a large bird hit the net just above my head and when I looked up a Tawny Owl was looking back at me. My reflexes kicked in and I quickly got hold of it and extracted it from the net before it had the chance to escape. Large birds can get out of small mesh nets quite easily so I was lucky that it went into the net so close to me. The evening ended with 50 new birds ringed and 5 retraps.

Juvenile Tawny Owl.

Juvenile Tawny Owl.
This is the first full grown Tawny Owl I have caught and ringed in a long time.
Ringing Totals for 31/07/14 with retraps in brackets.
Swallow 35
Linnet 7
Willow Warbler 4 (5)
Chiffchaff 1
Blackbird 1
Robin 1
Tawny Owl 1
Total 50 (5)

This July has been one of the best I have known and has a ringing total to match. I don't usually post monthly ringing totals but 826 birds ringed of 30 species is worth a mention. Top 5 in terms of number ringed were:
Swallow 426
Willow Warbler 93
Chiffchaff 54
Linnet 50
Goldfinch 46

The weather is forecast to be unsettled for the next few days so it could be early next week before I get August's ringing totals started.

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