A Busy Weekend Continued

Monday, January 7th 2013

A beautiful sunrise followed by an amazing sky heralded the beginning of the day at Foxglove.

A beautiful sky

The bird ringers discussed how the birds appeared to know that the year had turned and the days were getting longer.  Birds can be heard singing in the dark, both morning and evening.  When everyone left this evening the Tawny Owls could be heard calling as they started to defend their territories and begin their courtship.

Further discussion was held over where the skeins of calling Pink-footed Geese were flying from and to.  General consensus was from the Solway to the east coast.  As an estimate there were about 150 geese.

Skeins of Pink-footed Geese

The area that was a hive of activity yesterday was peaceful and calm.  This photograph was taken from the top of the steps and shows how open this area is.  The bonfire site will be covered by logs to form a new habitat pile and in another 20 years will be covered with moss and provide homes for many invertebrates as well as other plant life.

Newly coppiced area

It was mentioned yesterday that coppicing would encourage spring flowers to thrive and amongst last year's Primrose leaves was the crown of new leaves.  These will show their yellow flowers by the beginning of April.

Crown of new Primrose leaves

Ringers were out doing a net round and all was quiet back at the ringing room when a call came in from Adam "There is a Sparrowhawk in the net, could I have some help please?"  These birds can very easily escape from the net. Tony shot off and soon returned with a beautiful young female Sparrowhawk.  As always the names of those ringers who had not ringed a special bird went into a hat and Sandra was drawn out.  After it had been ringed, Adam released it and it flew off quickly and silently

A young Sparrowhawk

There were several Coal Tits through the ringing room during the day, but this one was just a little different. It was an example of the rare Arctic sub-species, the Spotted Coal Tit.  Now that the end of 2012 has passed we can be more specific about the numbers of birds ringed - or not ringed - on the reserve during the year.  Due to a combination of poor weather and subsequent failed breeding the total of new birds ringed was the poorest since 2003 at 2278 birds. This is more than 1500 birds fewer than recent annual totals which is significant.  It brings the total of new birds ringed on the reserve by 31 December to 48,747.

Coal Tit

A very busy weekend at Foxglove and again thanks go to everyone who helped. 

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