Bird ringing at Bedfont Lakes was canceled Sunday due to the weather, but luckily we managed to rescheduled for yesterday morning which turned out to be a beautiful one! The highlight was this lovely Cetti’s warbler which we heard calling shortly upon arrival and didn’t have to wait long before it turned up in one of our nets. Interestingly this species only has 10 tail feathers, as opposed to the usual 12. I wonder why that is?
I’ve never got a chance to see this species so up close before, in fact my usual encounter is nothing more than a fleeting glimpse! It has a very distinctive shape, rather like an over-sized wren and the thin, long eye stripe is subtle but pretty.
We got a good number of birds including quite a few blackbirds, greenfinches, chiffchaffs, a couple of wren and this BEAST of a jay which left one of the ringers with a very large bruise on their wrist and a bloody finger…… Check out that hooked bill!!I love the the markings on it’s head and slight purple tinge I’ve never really noticed before.A couple of very vocal and curious fox cubs also made an appearance, they looked quite young and a bit bedraggled, hope their mum was near by! Afterwards I went to Adrian Hall garden centre in Feltham for lunch with a couple of the ringers and we were treated to a pair of peregrines, one with food in it’s talons, calling to each other overhead whilst we ate our lunch in the outside area of the cafe! What an unexpected treat.
In other news, I found a couple of caterpillars whilst weeding the front garden the other day and after searching the internet in vain I posted a photo on twitter and was kindly given an ID – they are the larva of the Lesser Yellow Underwing moth!
I’ve never reared caterpillars before so I decided this was a good opportunity and these guys are currently in a old tupperware box (with added air holes) in a high up place (where the cats can’t get at them!) in my front room. As far as I can figure they eat quite a broad range of plants so feeding them shouldn’t be a problem, but I might add a centimeter of soil and some twigs to make them feel more at home.
Lastly, I’ve done a couple of garden moth trapping sessions recently and just wanted to share this beauty with you.