Sunday, August 15th 2021
At 0841 there was a surprise in the mist nets. A juvenile female Sparrowhawk had been caught. Usually the females are too big and heavy and so bounce out of the nets. Males, being smaller can get caught. These birds can been seen sweeping through the back garden.
The Green Woodpecker has been annoyingly loud and annoying well hidden. People have searched for it here, there and everywhere to no avail. Not even a suggestion of a sighting. It was caught out and was found in a mist net. Absoutely amazing, only the 10th time one has been caught since 1992.
The red malar stripe, the red stripe on its cheek, is just starting to appear, this makes it a juvenile male bird. Their ideal habitat is mixed deciduous woodland edges. They feed mainly on the ground, as they hunt for ants nests.
Other juvenile birds made an appearance in the ringing room, many going through their moult from juvenile plumage to that of an adult. Robins change from a speckled breast to a red one. They look like they have come into contact with a powder puff of red paint!
Other animals are also looking to change. This large caterpillar of the Elephant Hawk-moth is large enough to be ready to find a suitable place to spin its cocoon. Usually they are darker in colour but the eye spots help with ID. They overwinter as pupae in fragile cocoons at the base of plants, in loose plant debris/litter, or just below the surface of the ground. May through to July is when it can be seen, often feeding from Honeysuckle and other tubular flowers. It has been recorded in the moth traps, this year, on several occasions. Thanks to Hayley for spotting this and photographing it.
Many thanks to the Swaledale Ringing Group, who started their day at 0500 and finished at 1700. An excellent day. All the data they collect goes to the BTO, who collate it to give an understanding of what is happening to our bird populations. Thanks also go to the volunteers who ensured that the net rides and paths between them are kept in pristine condition.
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