Officially Spring!

Monday, March 24th 2014

Yesterday there was a telephone call from Willie Metcalfe to say that there were two Tawny Owls and a Buzzard to ring out on the training area.  In typical spring weather the Foxglove Team headed for Feldom where the birds were ringed.  It was an interesting route for those without 4 X 4s!

Watching the ringing of the owls and buzzard

For some it was quite special to see these species so close up - the Tawny Owls were male and female and the Buzzard was a large female.

Buzzard

Ringing at Foxglove today started in beautiful sunshine although very cold.   The sun was catching the tops of the trees along Risedale Beck.

Sun catching the top of the trees along  Risedale Beck

On Friday 18 Bramblings were recorded in the back garden.  Today seven new ones came through the ringing room, including this male and female.

Male and female Brambling

These may well be the last Bramblings to be caught at Foxglove this year, as they will be heading north to their summer breeding grounds.

A Chiffchaff, one of our first summer migrants to arrive, was heard calling last week and today two were caught in the mist nets, one a new one, one a retrap.  Another with a ring, was seen on the weir at the lake. They were all males and it was especially pleasing that the first caught was one ringed in the reserve last year.

Chiffchaff

Just after lunch spring returned with a vengeance and the wind increased, the hailstones came down and the temperature dropped.  All the bird ringers helped and carefully emptied the nets and took them down. 

At the end of the day 135 birds had been processed including 15 retrapped Bullfinches and five new ones. (Bullfinches can usually be seen around the hopper in the back garden.)  Three new Goldcrests were also ringed.  This male was quite happy, but trying to get the markings on his head into the photograph proved a little difficult, so we have Lesley's hand and arm too!  You can see his orange flashes!  These tiny birds weigh in around 5g.

Goldcrest

Blue Tits are fairly common around Foxglove but don't often get a mention.  Today a retrapped Blue Tit was processed that was first ringed in December 2007, making this bird nearly seven years old.

To prove that it is spring, the Blackthorn along Risedale Beck is in flower.

Blackthorn flower

All weekend the reserve has been busy with many visitors, some old friends, some new to the reserve.  Children have been captivated by the toads, mainly males, at the bottom of the ponds. 

The bird ringers ringed birds, other volunteers made tea, welcomed visitors, checked bird bags, took photographs for display and recorded species.  A huge thank you to everyone.


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