Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Crawford 21st April 2015

I went to Crawford this morning as the seed in the nyger feeders has being going down quite fast. There has been a noticeable increase in the number of Goldfinches using the feeders in the past couple of weeks which could be due to people stopping or reducing feeding in nearby gardens and or because some migrant Goldfinches have also found the feeders. I also wanted to see if anymore summer visitors had returned as there are usually 3 or 4 pairs of Whitethroats at the site and I still haven't seen one this spring.

I didn't get there too early and had a couple of nets up just after sunrise. There was no sight or sound from any Whitethroats and the pair of Willow Warblers that usually breed there were similarly conspicuous by their absence. The only warblers present were a couple of pairs of Chiffchaffs with one of the females busily nest building and a singing male Blackcap. A pair of Linnets were also back on territory and it wasn't long before I noticed that the female was carrying nest material to a small conifer.

The first bird caught was totally unexpected and came in the form of a cracking male Kestrel. It had a bulging crop and had obviously just eaten something, I then noticed the back end of a fresh Field Vole on the ground below the net. The Kestrel had presumably eaten the best bits of the vole (brains, heart, lungs and liver) while on the ground and then had flown into the net while carrying off the remaining part to be eaten elsewhere.

Male Kestrel
The remains of the Kestrel's breakfast.
Although there were plenty of Goldfinches around the catching rate was quite slow. This was largely due to the fine weather and the general lack of leaf cover which meant the sun made the nets more visible once it had risen above the hedges along the eastern edge of the field. I am not going to complain about such glorious weather though, especially as the final tally wasn't that bad for this time of year and included the aforementioned Kestrel and a control (ringed elsewhere) Goldfinch. It will be interesting to see where this Goldfinch was originally ringed as the number was from an unfamiliar sequence so I don't think it is a bird from a nearby site. I will send the details off later today and will post details of recovery report in due course.

Control Goldfinch D308986
Ringing totals (retraps in brackets) for 21/04/2015: Kestrel 1; Blackcap 1; Chiffchaff 1; Blackbird 1; Robin (2); Dunnock (1); House Sparrow 1; Goldfinch 5 + 1 control.

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