Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Still no Woodcocks but a Little Owl saves the day.....

After a long day in the office I was keen to get out for some more nocturnal activity and so it was back Manor Farm. But rather that just trying to catch Woodcocks I decided to put some nets up with the hope of catching any passing owls, in particular the resident Little Owls. I set three nets and waited to see what would happen!!

Little Owl - February 2012

The first hour passed pretty slowly, Little Owls were around but proving to be elusive, so we decided to take the nets down and go off in search of Woodcocks, but as we approached the final net success.....a Little Owl!!

Little Owl - February 2012
Regular readers of this blog may recognise this bird, since it was a retrap that was originally captured one year and one day ago. In 2011 it was aged as an adult so it is at least two years old, looking at the first picture it didn't look very happy about being captured again!

Enthused by our success we trudged off around the fields in search of Woodcocks, but once again failed. We flushed six Woodcock and three Lapwing, but caught nothing......very frustrating!!!

Today, I had to travel to East Sussex for a survey, and as I walked around the site I managed to flush nine Woodcock, it was almost like they were rubbing salt into the wound!!! I continued with the survey, and noticed in an area of woodland the remains of another!! In the absence of any live specimens to examine, it gave me the ideal opportunity to have a go at ageing it.

Eurasian Woodcock Wing
Given that I only had nine primaries and seven primary coverts to work with I thought it might be difficult to age, but despite my limited experience with the species it seemed quite straight forward.

Eurasian Woodcock Primary Covert Tips

Apparently the tips of the primary coverts in adults have a flat profile with a pale terminal band, whereas juvenile coverts have a more rounded profile, with the terminal band the same colour as the rest of the feather....as above. The primary tips in adults show very little wear and have a clean profile, whereas they are worn and jagged in profile in juveniles....as below.

Eurasian Woodcock Primary Tips

Assuming I have aged this wing correctly it looks like this individual was a juvenile bird before it was eaten. I have no idea what had caught it but whatever it was, its having better success than me at catching Woodcocks at the moment!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...