Tuesday, 14 June 2016


This post is an assortment of things that I have photographed over the last week along with a short summary of recent ringing activities.

Woodpigeons have caught my attention again but this time it was birds that were in the top of an Ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) across the road from the garden. I had noticed birds spending a lot of time there and hadn't really thought much of it as seeing Woodpigeons in a tree is hardly unusual. However, when I got my bins on them and had a proper look I could see they were eating the leaves and that was a bit of a surprise, to me at least. I knew Woodpigeons were partial to the flowers of Ash but I didn't know they also ate the leaves and they have really thinned out the leaves in the top of this particular tree.

This bird is about to swallow a piece of a leaf and you can also see that some of the smaller branches have been stripped of many of their leaves.
In this image you can easily see some of the leaves that have been partially eaten against the birds upper breast..

Another leaf is about to be eaten.
I am not into flowers in a big way but the meadow areas at the Billinge ringing site have some of the most impressive areas of Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) that I have ever seen and they are at their best at the moment. A few orchids are also flowering and while I hadn't gone looking for nests I found a Meadow Pipits while photographing the flowers.

Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) 08/06/2016

Ragged Robin (Lychnis flos-cuculi) 08/06/2016

Marsh Orchid spp. 08/06/2016, probably Southern Marsh Orchid or Southern hybrid.

Meadow Pipit nest 08/06/2016
Back at home the moth trap hasn't produced anything out of the ordinary but variety and numbers are slowly improving.

Lime Hawkmoth 08/06/2016

Ruby Tiger 08/06/2016

Green Silver-lines and Miller 10/06/2016

Pebble Hook-tip 12/06/2016

Peach Blossom 12/06/2016

Scorched Wing 13/06/2016
On the ringing front a very short ringing session at Crawford on the 9th and another there on the 12th produced combined totals as follows (retraps in brackets): Tree Sparrow 20 (4); House Sparrow 2; Greenfinch 17 (2); Goldfinch 9 (2); Chaffinch 2; Robin 3; Dunnock 2; Whitethroat 1; Great Tit 5 (1).
Tree Sparrows seem to be having a good breeding season as I have now caught 33 at Crawford in the last 10 days with 30 being juveniles.

Juvenile Tree Sparrow
Adult male House Sparrow; an increasingly scarce sight these days.
Studies have shown that individuals with larger black bibs are more dominant.
Juvenile House Sparrow 12/06/2016.
While Tree Sparrows seem to be doing ok the same can't be said for House Sparrows. They have virtually disappeared from my garden.
Juvenile Greenfinch 12/06/2016.
The extensive areas of yellow on the tail and outer webs of the primaries mean this bird can be easily sexed as a male.
I am still catching quite a few new Starlings in the garden (mostly juveniles but a few new adults too) and I have now ringed 287 juveniles over the last 5 weeks. Numbers visiting the garden should tail off rapidly now, as birds disperse and form post breeding flocks, so I don't expect to ring many more this breeding season.

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