Sunday, 1 September 2013

Breakfast With Bullfinches, Lunch With Barn Owls.

I was really excited about this weekend, because it was the first time I could go ringing with Peter for six weeks, due to him being in Portugal. It was a two session weekend out and about in South Lancashire with of course two early starts back to back.

Saturday was reasonable with at least 40 birds, nothing unusual, but we caught quite a lot of Blackcap and a few White Throat which was nice. Other birds we caught yesterday included: Wrens, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Robins, Reed Warblers, Sedge Warblers, Blue Tits, Great Tits and a Chiffchaff (caught in a Reed bed). The vegetation had grown up quite a bit over the six weeks and brambles were a big problem for my dad who got tripped up twice and fell head first into the nettles !

Today the morning was all about the Bullfinches with quite an unusually high number caught at our site today. There were also a couple of other spectacular birds, a couple of  stunning Yellowhammers and the bird as shown in the picture below. The bird is a Garden Warbler; I have been lucky enough to have ringed this species earlier in the holidays.

Due to feeding up for migration some birds had yellow on their breast which is it's fat. This bird below individually had a fat score of 5, so whilst migrating it should do well. I know the picture below doesn't really look like a bird but we blow gently on the birds underside to look at its fat score. We occasionally see feather mites also on the birds.

 Other warbler species we caught were juvenile Common White Throats, we know this bird is a juvenile because the two outermost tail feathers were a buffish colour (with an adult these would be white), the eye on the bird was quite dark as well. Peter was hoping to catch more of what we did catch, but I was happy.

Again we caught a Willow Tit in a single mist net. This bird was a re-trap, I think it might have been one I had ringed previously.

We weren't just catching birds in mist nets, we also got to ring these fantastic juvenile Barn Owls. There were four in the nest; the biggest Barn Owl brood of the year which is fantastic, as this year is turning out to be a very bad year for barn owls.

A juvenile barn Owl is quite a handful so Peter helped me to ring this one.

The two barn owls below are of course from the same brood but show the massive difference in size as the female lays her eggs at different times.

A great way to end the weekend and the Summer holidays before I start at high school on Tuesday!!! 


  1. wow, i'd have never thought those 2 owls were from the same brood! what great experiences for you, again!

    the stinging nettles sound awful, though!

  2. Hope your dad is alright? But I'm pretty jealous of your recent ringing session, those Barnies...gorgeous.

  3. I count myself lucky if I see a Barn Owl, and there you are with two! Fantastic Findlay.
    Hope your Dad's OK after his trip.

    And good luck with the new school when you go back. I'm sure you'll do great.

  4. Barn Owls...very jealous young man.... good luck with High School!!

  5. Hi Findlay. What a splendid day you had today. I'd love to have seen those Barn Owl chicks! I've only one complaint about your post and that is that I'm disappointed that you didn't post the photos of your dad's trip ;-}

    Seriously though, I hope that your dad is OK. Stinging nettles alway sound as if they're nothing to worry about, but falling into them can result in problems that last for days, and this year the nettles seem to be particularly vicious.

    Good luck with the new school. Schools in these parts went back last week!

  6. Love the Owls, but Garden Warbler & Willow Tit are excellent :)

  7. A great series of photos. The barn owls are especially interesting.

  8. Great series, and good luck at high school. Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  9. You are an impressive young man, with quite a future ahead of you. Your pictures and knowledge are amazing. Good luck in high school ... these are some of the best years of your life, enjoy!

    Andrea @ From The Sol

  10. I really enjoyed seeing the Garden Warbler and those fabulous owls!
    Very nice work!

  11. Hi Findlay.. What a awesome weekend before heading back to school!!
    Those Owls are so adorable lucky you to get to hold them!!
    I had a Kestrel nesting in a large hollow in a tree on my land
    and they also lay there eggs over a period of time!! I would think that the babies had fledged and up popped more! : )))

    Hope all is going well with the new school year!!


  12. Hey looks like you had a really wonderful experience ringing these beauties. The Barn Owls are having a hard struggle in the USA and so it is important to try and help manage them, so that their numbers can increase, both here and where you reside. I am so pleased with what you are learning, observing and sharing along the way. Happy weekend~

  13. Great set of pictures - hope you had a great summer holiday - the "now thats a good question" stumped me!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    PS: welcome back to WBW!

  14. Looks like you had a great, ringing, day! Always love seeing your birds - so different than ours over in the States :-)