Sunday, 24 May 2015

Become a birdwatcher for £15.49

I am still not getting out much and have become stir crazy or perhaps I should say Starling crazy as a result. This self imposed incarceration is down to my attempts to catch all the adult Starlings that visit the garden. Recapturing some of the birds that were ringed in previous years has proved to be quite difficult and some individuals have taken many hours to catch. Each bird is caught individually in a manually operated cage trap and I have to watch all the birds that go in the trap to feed to see if they are birds I need to catch for the study. Birds I have already colour-ringed happily come back to feed in the trap and I may have to watch dozens come and go, several times in some cases, before I see one that I need to catch. I have now caught 128 different adults and this probably represents about 95% of the Starlings that breed within feeding range of the garden. With a week of the study period to go I may be able to push that percentage even higher.

The first juvenile Starling followed its parents into the garden a couple of days ago and the numbers have grown since then. I have only ringed 9 of the juveniles so far as I am still concentrating on the adults but I expect to ring up to 200 juvs over the next month or so.
So what do I do while waiting for Starlings to enter a trap; well the answer is all manner of useful and not so useful things that don't take me too far from the window. Today I found myself thumbing through a product brochure that had been posted through the door. To my amusement I found becoming a birdwatcher only costs £15.49.

Another advert that caught my eye was for toast tongs. Apparently they have a little magnetic bit for handy storage and I am sure we all know a place that we would like to stick such an item.

The advert that gave me the biggest smile was for coal paint, yes coal paint as in paint for coal. If your imitation nutty slack is not black enough then this is the product for you. I would love to meet the person who has dull and faded coals that are in need of a lick of coal paint. I bet they have toast tongs stored in a very handy location and also became a birdwatcher for £15.49.

Back to more usual blog content and I haven't mentioned moths recently and that is because the moth trap has hardly caught a thing for a while now. It has been one of the worst springs for moths that I can remember and this must be having a knock on effect on some species of birds as there will be fewer caterpillars around as a result. There were only 3 moths in the trap this morning which was really poor given the date. There were 2 Poplar Hawk Moths and a Bright-line Brown-eye, both species being firsts for the year.

Poplar Hawk Moths 24/05/15

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