I was really excited about this weekend, because it was the first time I could go ringing with Peter for six weeks, due to him being in Portugal. It was a two session weekend out and about in South Lancashire with of course two early starts back to back.
Saturday was reasonable with at least 40 birds, nothing unusual, but we caught quite a lot of Blackcap and a few White Throat which was nice. Other birds we caught yesterday included: Wrens, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Robins, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Blue Tits, Great Tits and a Chiffchaff (caught in a Reed bed). The vegetation had grown up quite a bit over the six weeks and brambles were a big problem for my dad who got tripped up twice and fell head first into the nettles !
Today the morning was all about the Bullfinches with quite an unusually high number caught at our site today. There were also a couple of other spectacular birds, a couple of stunning Yellowhammers and the bird as shown in the picture below. The bird is a Garden Warbler; I have been lucky enough to have ringed this species earlier in the holidays.
Due to feeding up for migration some birds had yellow on their breast which is it's fat. This bird below individually had a fat score of 5, so whilst migrating it should do well. I know the picture below doesn't really look like a bird but we blow gently on the birds underside to look at its fat score. We occasionally see feather mites also on the birds.
Other warbler species we caught were juvenile Common White Throats, we know this bird is a juvenile because the two outermost tail feathers were a buffish colour (with an adult these would be white), the eye on the bird was quite dark as well. Peter was hoping to catch more of what we did catch, but I was happy.
Again we caught a Willow Tit in a single mist net. This bird was a re-trap, I think it might have been one I had ringed previously.
We weren't just catching birds in mist nets, we also got to ring these fantastic juvenile Barn Owls. There were four in the nest; the biggest Barn Owl brood of the year which is fantastic, as this year is turning out to be a very bad year for barn owls.
A juvenile barn Owl is quite a handful so Peter helped me to ring this one.
The two barn owls below are of course from the same brood but show the massive difference in size as the female lays her eggs at different times.
A great way to end the weekend and the Summer holidays before I start at high school on Tuesday!!!