Early start - got up at 4.45am. Didn't get home til about 9.30pm. Between these times I was at Castor Hanglands, one of my old stomping grounds near Peterborough.
|11 in the net!|
We caught about 120 birds...
- Lesser Redpoll
- Great Tit
- Blue Tit
- Coal Tit
- Long-tailed Tit
- Marsh Tit
- Song Thrush
- Tree Sparrow
|Juvenile male Sparrowhawk|
For me, this was the highlight: a juvenile male Sparrowhawk. I haven't handled many birds of prey so it was a really good opportunity to deal with a bird that actually could hurt me - if it wanted to, and if I wasn't careful enough.
We got it out of the net without too much trouble, and put it in a cotton bird bag until we were ready to ring it. Then, I had to put my hand into the bag containing the hawk, and get the bird out again without letting it escape.
I could see the sharp talons sticking out through the cotton, so at least I knew where they were...
|the eyes have it|
Normally you identify the bird, put the ring on, and then do the ageing, sexing and biometrics (weighing, fat and muscle scoring, and measuring wing length).
With Sparrowhawks there's such a size difference between males and females they take different ring sizes (males being smaller). The wing length confirmed it was a male, and the chestnut-brown edges to the back and wing feathers show it hatched earlier this year.
The Sparrowhawk was surprisingly docile while I handled it. It had a look of rage in its eyes, though. When we were finished, it was a pleasure to release it. What a bird...
|now for something smaller - a female Siskin|
|and Lottie, who kept us entertained between net rounds with her stick-chasing and chewing|
photos taken with Canon EOS 30D
I don't think I could have dared to get my hand that close to a Sparrowhawk. Fabulous photos.ReplyDelete