3 June 2014

Dire CES and productive owls

At the weekend we managed to cover both our third CES visit at Gunwalloe and also a bunch of Barn Owl boxes across the south/west of the county, with varying success.

Conditions for CES were pretty perfect, but the catch of just 11 birds (inc five Reed Warblers) is the lowest yet for Visit 3: previous totals were 19 in 2013 (10 Reeds), 32 in 2012 (18 Reeds) and 54 in 2011 (16 Reeds, but the high total includes 16 Sand Martins). This is perhaps a bit worrying given that it seemed to be a good early start to the season, so it'll be interesting to see how the rest of the season develops. One interesting captures was L494918 caught whilst puting up nets the night before; a bird ringed as a young juvenile at Marazion Marsh in 2001 and not caught since!

We fared better on Sunday, visiting 14 Barn Owl boxes between St Austell, Newquay and Penzance. Of these, most were occupied, which is an improvement on last year, and we captured six adults, four of which had already been ringed in previous seasons. Surprisingly two boxes still had incubating birds which seems very late, and two more had chicks too small to ring. But we did find several boxes with good sized chicks and ringed 18 birds in total.

Some of the smallest chicks, less than a week old
This amorphous blob confused us for a moment, but is a
remarkably fluffy 2-3 week old chick, along with
three unhatched eggs
A bit more like the size we like to find birds to ring,
although we did leave one smaller (doomed?) sibling in the box
A couple of Stock Dove interlopers in the same box
they were in last year, near St Mawgan

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