Saturday, 16 June 2012

Swift update.

We're still quite busy with all things survey at the moment as all the spring work comes into it's crucial final stages. Ortolan Buntings are feeding youngsters, which is great news, we ringed a brood of 4 chicks last week and they luckily fledged hours before the farmer cut his grass. I was horrified to wake up to see the farmer had mown in the night. See below the open-topped nest remains. 
Ortolan Bunting after mowing, a sorry scene.

The Marsh harriers we have monitored through spring have hatched and look amazingly cute. There is a runt, but I'm sure they'll find enough food to equal things out as the adults are hunting non-stop throughout the day.
Marsh Harrier Circus aeruginosus. Photo; Strahil Peev

Heather has arrived and now work begins to start preparing the nets and net rides ahead of the ringing season; yesterday whilst fixing nets this little gem landed next to me. I was very, very surprised because I've always been told you need to flick-net for Swifts, maybe this one was a stupid individual. Though it was a stunning stupid individual and a very welcome ringing tick. I now know why Seumus told me his fingers were like pin cushions after handling many of them.

Swift - Apus apus
We also finished off the first round of "normal" nest boxes with a brood of Pied flycatcher. Heather also got to grips with a bit of mist netting and caught this known age Tree Sparrow. Ringed here 1 year ago (almost to the day) as a chick. He can now be sexed on his cloacal protuberance.

Heather and Mr Tree Sparrow - Passer montanus
Pied Flycatcher chicks - Ficedula hypoleuca
A few days ago we heard Long-eared Owl chicks near the house and after a short search I found the nest and climbed to it. The result, 3 Long-eared Owlets ringed. 
Long-eared Owl chicks - Asio otus
One of the chicks 8 days on.

Long-eared Owlet in nest - Asio otus

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