Friday, 12 March 2010

The Last Bucket and The Horned Lark

I called at Rawcliffe Moss this afternoon to put a bucket of seed down and if there were no birds at the feeding station it would be the last bucket of seed for the winter. First stop was the barn to pick up the seed and nine Corn Buntings were feeding on the pile of tailing's next to the barn.

As I drove down towards the track I put two Red-legged Partridges up and I would put another two up later on as I walked round. As I headed off down the track I had a flock of 35 Lapwings fly over and two Buzzards thermalled close to the L Wood. I had another two Buzzards further off towards Rough Holme Farm and a handful more of displaying Lapwings dotted around the farm.

At the feeding station there were no birds at all, which was good, as it meant my reduction programme had worked and the birds had moved on. As I had carried a bucket of seed so far I put it down and at least the resident Dunnocks and Robins in the hedge would make use of it.

Walking around I noticed that there were good numbers of Brown Hare and I had seven in total on my walk. Three Roe Deer in the top fields allowed a close approach and I could see that there was a single stag and two doe's. On the way to the top fields I flushed four Grey Partridges (two pairs) in the 'big field' and two Curlews had dropped in to feed. I noticed a flock of 60 Curlews later on feeding on a farm to the west of where I was.

It was very quiet as I walked up to, through and round the plantation with only small numbers of Chaffinch and Goldfinch. I had a Long-tailed Tit in the plantation and two more towards Curlew Wood as well as four Wrens, demonstrating that at least some small birds had survived the hard winter.

In 1989 I spent nearly a year volunteering at Long Point Bird Observatory on Lake Erie in southern Ontario, Canada. I mention this because some pictures that my good friend Nigel sent me recently reminded me of this. We used to put ground traps down baited with seed to catch Sparrows and Grackles and they worked to great effect and the picture below is of a ground trap Nigel used recently to catch Shore (horned) Lark and Snow Bunting.

The pictures below show Horned Lark and Snow Buntings being ringed followed by some cracking shots of the Horned Lark in the hand. Awesome!

Thanks Nigel for some stunning shots of some stunning birds!

It looks too windy to get to the 'obs' tomorrow morning so it will be a mornings birding at Rossall Point for me. As always I'll let you know how I get on.

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