Yesterday was poor weather, no attempts were made to ring birds. Instead me and Rune (another ringer here) went bird watching at a nearby nature reserve.
It was a fantastic place actually. The birds were not at all bothered by the people in the hides and the road running not too far behind it. For total birds seen see Gedser Fuglestation link at the side.
Highlights for me however were the White-Fronted geese, Bewick's Swans and Dunlin - Not rare birds but I have never had a better view than I did yesterday.
Also a cracking observation of Little Gull 1cy.
Anyway, Today. This morning I set only few nets due to the even present wind! As I set the nets I saw a Tengmalm's Owl and shortly followed by a Long-Eared - NICE. I watched the Long-eared as it whirled around the garden before settling back in to the bushes at the roadside!
First net round came and I had taken only 3 birds, A P.Colybita, a Blackbird and a Goldcrest. I saw a few Sparrowhawks whilst setting nets so I opened the Sparrowhawk nets up - Within 5 Minutes a huge Female Sparrowhawk was hanging in the net by just her claws. I ran and got her! I wandered through the other nets back towards the house and I saw a Goldcrest and another bird, the other seemed brighter, more defined I clocked it properly then... Nice, a Firecrest!
Next round and Rune joined me. As we walked an otherwise empty round we came to a last net and this jumped in.
Long-Eared Owl (Asio otus) - 1cy female.
Apologies for my ugly mug there, but the Long-Eared Owl was a gorgeous bird. I've waited a while to see an Adult in the hand (well full-grown).
I heard the Firecrest just before catching it, a really nice bird even smaller than it’s cousin the Goldcrest - Regulus regulus. The Firecrest weighed just 4.7 grams and had a wing length of 52mm. Goldcrest females are normally around 54mm and weigh 5 grams or more; so why it is said that the Goldcrest is Europe’s smallest bird is beyond me.
The "weird" thing about today is despite the stormy wind condition we have caught a few birds, the most numerous being Sparrowhawk with 5 new in the ringing book. Never before have I ringed so many Sparrowhawks in one day and you can really start to appreciate the plumage differences. Note here the eye colour of the birds, the first calendar year male has a lime/lemon coloured iris whilst the third calendar year plus bird has a much deeper orange iris. (These pictures were both taken in identical light and so quite good to compare)
Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus) 1cy Male
1 Long-Eared Owl
3 Great Tit
Highlight sightings include 6 Red Kites, 3 Rough-legged buzzards, 20+ Sparrowhawk, 30+ Twite and (From Rune's small sea watch)60+ Little Gulls, Possible Red-necked Phalarope amongst more common birds such as Eider and Common Scoter.