Sunday, September 12, 2004

Birdfest at Ferry Meadows CP

Juvenile Sedge Warbler with a terrific 'growth bar' in its rather stunted tail. This is where the tail (and presumably the whole bird) stopped growing for a time, perhaps due to the food supply from its parents being interrupted. Posted by Hello

I attended the Peterborough Bird Club's annual Birdfest at Ferry Meadows yesterday. It wasn't terrifically productive in numerical ringing terms - it was rather windy and that and the strong sun (in the morning at least) helped keep birds out of the nets.

We had a total of 50 birds, but it was more satisfying to be able to show visitors to the park what's on their doorstep. We met lots of beginner birdwatchers who were fascinated by what we had in our bags... Long-tailed Tits went down well, as did the Great Tit that pecked Chris ferociously and the male Great Spotted Woodpecker in the photo below (a retrap).

The ringing demo at the Birdfest attracted a steady stream of visitors all morning. Posted by Hello

Bird of the day would have been the One That Got Away. I was minding my own business, concentrating on extracting a Wren when the other end of the net suddenly started bouncing up and down violently. What the...?

I put the Wren down and went to see what on earth was causing the disturbance, and it was a bloody Tawny Owl! Shit! What do I do with this? I could see it was lying on its back in the net, talons in the air, giving me an angry glare, but before I had to decide what on earth to grab, it saved me having to make a decision by fighting its way out and flying off...

Next time I will not worry about those big talons, or the scary, flesh-tearing bill, but instead think of the mickey-taking I may experience. To be honest, tiny, spindly birds like Willow Warblers are probably more frightening because of their fragility anyway, aren't they...?

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