Sunday, 20 May 2012

Absent Without Leave!

It's been a while, time to get back into the swing of blogging again. To start things off, a late report from the first CES session at Cissbury last weekend. Constant Effort Sites schemes are organised by the BTO to bring in national standardisation of ringing, across 120 sites; using the same nets, at the same time of year, at the same locations every year!

So the session proved to be a very successful one, including having a lovely view over the downs in glorious sunshine at the ringing table. Birds caught included Garden Warbler, Green Woodpecker, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff and Bullfinch. The Garden Warblers were my first of the year, and despite having been given the rather unfortunate Latin name Sylvia borin, they were lovely little birds to have in the hand!

Garden Warbler, Sylvia borin

Pair of Lesser Whitethroat, Sylvia curruca

Green Woodpecker, Picus viridis

This handsome female Green Woodpecker very kindly displayed its tongue for the photo. It is normally stored in a coil at the back of the skull, and is used to harvest ants and other small insects from and cracks or crevices in trees. The tongue itself is very sticky, and is also slightly barbed on the end, to aid the woodpecker in collecting its food.

A ringing session back at the Mumbles yesterday was very quiet, with a reduced amount of nets up to avoid too much disturbance. There was a nice selection though, with new Reed Warblers, Balckcaps, Blackbirds and Whitethroats. In between the net rounds, we had the company of this Grey Wagtail, which was feeding a fledged youngster, unfortunately too far away to photograph.

Grey Wagtail, Motacilla cinerea

And finally, just as a little extra something, I have some photos of Common Terns that I have been seeing a lot of these past few weeks around the coast. This first bird was one of a pair fishing of the east coast of Thorney Island on Friday, and the other pair were in Itchenor Harbour. I could sit all day and watch these stunning birds dive for fish, and at the moment they are in full courtship mode, as you can see with this male bringing the female (sat on the buoy) a fish.

Common Tern, Sterna hirundo

Pair of Common Tern, Sterna hirundo