There was no time for ringing on Saturday, the visit to Cockerham was to drop a little extra seed in the ringing area only. It was a pity then that views of both a juvenile Marsh Harrier and a male Hen Harrier had been brief but decisive. The Marsh Harrier circled over fields and a maize crop before drifting south while the Hen Harrier followed a line of ditches from which flew a dozen Mallards and 20 or more Teal at the arrival of the predator.
Sunday dawned at 7° degrees with a fine mist and a definite autumnal nip to the air. This morning I swopped the baseball cap for a woolly bobble hat when winter felt too close for comfort.
As I drove into the ringing site a Buzzard flew out of the trees where it had probably spent the night out of harm’s way. That Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk that unsuccessfully broke up a flock of Linnets were the only raptors seen today during three hours of watching in between tending nets and ringing a few birds. The migrant harriers of Saturday had clearly been the customary “one day wonders” but hopefully a sign of successful breeding from whence they came.
I keep picking up new Reed Warblers here, with another two today, both birds of the year, lately fledged but already showing signs of moulting body feathers; the one below replacing head feathers. That makes 18 Reed Warblers captured here since July.
A Whitethroat came as a nice surprise while the main target of Linnets produced 9 more new ones to make 38 Linnets ringed here in August. Thirty two of the Linnets have been juveniles and just 6 adults.
A number of the juvenile Linnets show signs of their partial post-juvenile moult in replacing their median coverts while other individuals showed no signs of yet doing so.
Linnet - juvenile/first summer
Eyes peeled for harriers meant that not much was missed on the birding side - I hope.
So other birds seen equalled 125 Linnet, 30+ Goldfinch, 2 Reed Warbler, 2 Blue Tit, 1 Robin 2 House Sparrow, 14 Curlew, 40 Greylag, 15 Swallow.
Back soon. Don't go away.