Today’s picture comes from my younger son. He knows that I like wildlife and has kindly sent me a picture of a beaver. I think that he should perhaps get out a bit more. He tells me that he can also make an eagle. I wait for a shot of that with impatience.
We were beavering away here again today. I had to get up at quarter past six which is far too early for an old person because Cat was coming to have a second go at the ringing before the wind got up too much. She was amazingly cheery….
….as she always is and got stuck in straight away.
She unfurled the nets and within moments birds arrived. Sandy arrived too and I have no doubt that you will be able to find his photos of the event on his blog soon.
On the left, a siskin hangs quietly in one of the folds of the net. The birds hit the net and drop into the folds. On the right you can see Cat patiently untangling the catch. Siskins, redpolls, goldfinches and chaffinches are well behaved and don’t get themselves more twisted up in the net by struggling which blue tits do. Then when you try to get them out, blue tits peck you fingers so Cat was very pleased to find no blue tits in the nets over her two mornings in the garden. There were plenty of other birds.
The vast majority of the catch today were siskins and chaffinches came second.
We also had birds watching us. We watched them back.
The wing of each bird is measured and inspected carefully. The state of the feathers gives many clues to the age of the bird and this is recorded with all the other details.
After the bird has been ringed, weighed and measured, it is released carefully back into the wild. Here is the final bird of the day on its way.
Cat is a model of patience and deft speed combined and over the two days she ringed 105 birds. None of the ringed birds hit the nets again. This means that there is a minimum of 100 individual birds using our feeders at the moment. I told you that they are busy. In fact there are many more than a hundred because we caught no greenfinches, bramblings or dunnocks, all of which are about at the moment. On top of that, when the birds started visiting the feeder in force after the net was taken down….
…I didn’t see more than one or two with rings on.
In one place at least, it would be fair to say that garden birds are thriving.
Mrs Tootlepedal had a very busy day in the garden while all this was going on and when she went off to get more manure from the manure mountain, I went along too. I had seen what I thought was a fieldfare when I cycled past yesterday and sure enough, when we arrived, there it was again. I took a quick shot of it through the car window before it flew off.
It is noticeable that things are beginning to green up at last and here is composite picture of some much needed colour which I encountered today either in the garden or round about.
I was pretty tired after my adventures yesterday combined with a short night’s sleep (it took me ages to process yesterday’s pictures) but it seemed a pity to waste another beautiful day by staying indoors and moaning so I got the slow bike out and had a very short, very gentle pedal for 5 miles round Potholm in a very brisk wind.
As I passed the Castleholm near the end of my trip, there was another welcome sign of the changing seasons.
When I got home, I had time for a slice of bread (or two) and a cup of tea before Sandy and I set off up to the Moorland bird feeders. we chose them because we wanted an outing but we didn’t want another walk and there is a handy bench at the Moorland feeders. While we went off to the birds, Mrs Tootlepedal was getting ready to go off to a work colleague’s wedding in Dumfries. I don’t know how much she will enjoy herself but we had a good time watching the birds.
We even saw a pair of goosanders standing on separate rocks in the river on our way to the feeders.
We wondered whether they had had words as they didn’t seem to be speaking to each other.
At the feeders there were woodpeckers of course. (Cat says that she has ringed more then fourteen up there.)
I shot these two from behind the screen but after a while we put our cameras out on tripods and used the remote to get closer shots. A woodpecker obligingly returned to where I had pointed the camera.
I also took several shots of great tits and coal tits which are frequent up at the moorland feeders but which have very rarely appeared in our garden this year.
Blue tits are very scarce even at the Moorland feeders. I don’t know what has happened to them.
It was a lovely evening with the usual splendid views.
During the day, I have been preparing a sourdough loaf and I cooked it while writing this post. I think I am getting the hang of cooking a tin loaf.
Not perfect but getting a lot better.
The flying bird of the day is a greenfinch. It is not a great picture but it celebrates the good sense of the greenfinch clan in not being caught in the net over the two days it was up.