Monday, 6 April 2015

Easter Break Birding and Ringing - 3rd - 6th April

Since returning from Norway I have had little time to get out in the field, until that is this weekend. The Easter break meant four days off and the chance to get back out in the field, well at least for a bit of it. The weather was not great on Friday, and as I had a few things to do around the house I didn't venture out. I was hoping to do some ringing with Rob on Sunday morning, and so on Saturday I nipped out to look at a few sites to see what was around. Being Easter Sunday, Manor Farm was likely to be too busy, so I ended up at Botley Wood. It was again a cool and overcast day and there was very little to report on the migrant front, singing Chiffchaffs being about it. There were of course other resident species present, the most obvious being the pair of Ravens, but also several Buzzards, Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker, Stock Dove, and Blackbird. As I was working my way back to the car I heard a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker calling, but was unable to find the bird.

As there was not much happening at Botley Wood, we decided to have a ringing session in my garden. There had been a good mix of species coming into the garden during the week so it seemed like the best option. We opened a net at 7:30 and it was not long before we had a few birds to work on. We had a steady session that resulted in the capture of 22 birds of eight species, Goldfinch (9), Blue Tit (5), Greenfinch (3) and Bullfinch, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Blackbird and Chaffinch.

Female Bullfinch - this bird was a 2cy bird with retained juvenile greater coverts, which are visible in the image above

Adult Male Greenfinch - There is no disputing how stunning male Greenfinch's are, this bird was a retrap that was ringed in my garden 2 years earlier.

The Chaffinch was a 2cy male, it had one retained juvenile greater covert and also retained primary coverts and alula; the central tail feathers were also juvenile. Unfortunately, we were unable to ring the bird since it had growths on its legs, and I therefore just went through the ageing with Rob. The growth of the legs is caused by one of two things, mites of the genus Knemidocoptes or the Fringilla papillomavirus. Details of both can be found on the British Trust for Ornithology website

Growths on leg of male Chaffinch

The weather on Monday morning was glorious, and almost cloudless sky, warm and sunny. There were no plans to ring but I had heard that there had been a bit of a fall along the coast and so nipped down to Lee-on-Solent for a stroll. I did not see many birds, but did pick up my first Wheatear of the year on the beach. I next headed back to Botley Wood to see if any migrants had arrived, but bird wise it was pretty much the same as Saturday. On the invertebrate front things were better though, as I saw four species of butterfly, Brimstone, Peacock, Green-veined White and Comma, Green Tiger-beetle, and several Bee-flies. Several Common Lizards were also basking in the grassland, which were my first reptiles of the year.

A very spring like Botley Wood 

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