Monday, 23 November 2009

More Copper Heads

You know the score by now; every other day I am going to post something about feeding Tree Sparrows on Rawcliffe Moss and today was that 'other day'! Driving down the track towards the feeding station I could see that the flood water had reduced even more and was no longer attractive to Gulls and Lapwings, but of course it's good news for Phillip as he can get his sheep back on there soon.

As soon as I got out of the car I could see a flock of 300 Lapwing in the air with a number of Starlings. Most probably a raptor, and very likely to be the Peregrine that is hanging around at the moment, but I couldn't see anything. At the feeding station it was pleasing to note that the Tree Sparrow numbers had increased again to 237 with at least 12 Chaffinches as supporting cast.

As I flushed the Tree Sparrows whilst putting the seed down I could hear a Corn Bunting calling and sure enough a single bird was flying away from the hedge. All we need now is some decent weather so we can have an attempt at ringing here. Walking back along the hedge towards my car I pushed two Yellowhammers from the hedge. They had probably been hanging round the Pheasant feeder as usual.

If you remember I showed a couple of pictures in the hand of an adult female Coopers Hawk that my good mate Nigel sent me. He has now sent me a picture of an adult male Sharp-shinned Hawk in the hand (see below) and it is amazing how small it is. And we think a male Sparrowhawk is small!

I read a recent article in the 'Latest News' from Bird Studies Canada about some new world species having a second breeding season on their way south in Mexico! "Researchers studying migratory songbirds on stopover in the lowland thorn forests of coastal western Mexico in three consecutive summers (2005-2007) have documented a second breeding season during these birds’ annual cycle. This discovery – a first for New World migrants on southward migration – was observed in five species: the Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Orchard Oriole, Hooded Oriole, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Cassin’s Vireo. There was evidence that the birds had already bred earlier in the year at their known breeding territories farther north in Canada and the U.S., before breeding again in Mexico on their way to their southern wintering grounds in Central and South America.

The paper “Migratory Double Breeding in Neotropical Migrant Birds” was co-authored by the University of Washington’s Sievert Rohwer and Vanya Rohwer, and Keith Hobson of Environment Canada (and Chair of Bird Studies Canada’s National Science Advisory Council). The article provides evidence of dual breeding ranges for these birds, and considers implications for the conservation of these species". Interesting!

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