Falsterbo 2015 - pt.2

Allmänt / 2015-10-27 / 15:47:03
The season is drawing closer and closer to it's end and I have less than two weeks left in Falsterbo before it's time to return home. Fortunately I have enough pictures to last me 10 blogposts!
So far this season we have caught more than 20 Sparrowhawks (Accipiter nisus). The big migration of small songbirds is a feast for them and they are a pest to have around the nets - except for when they get caught!
The Sparrowhawks vary a bit in color and I think this rufous young male is unusually good-looking. Notice the heart-shaped pattern on the breast and undersides of the wings.
Firecrest (Regulus ignicapilla), a species that is becoming a more and more common sight in Sweden. This season we've caught a record-breaking 19 birds so far, but it's got a long way to go to beat it's cousin the Goldcrest (Regulus regulus) though, which is closing up on 2000 birds ringed.
Something nice brought by easterly winds - a Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus), another species thas is becoming increasingly common here in Sweden.
I guess everyone has already heard the falcon-story, but here it is again.
Me and Marc were walking around in Falsterbo Park when a Peregrine Falcon (Falco Peregrinus) (next picture) caught a Hobby (Falco subbuteo) and the two, fighting, fell out of the sky and tumbled to the ground only 30 meters ahead of us on the path. They were locked in each others claws and therefore unable to lift from the ground as we ran up and grabbed them. In a shocked/delirious state, continuously laughing/swearing (I mean, what are the odds!?), we brought the two birds back to the house where they got ringed before regaining their freedom. I guess it was the Hobby's lucky day!
A gorgeous young male. I'm so curious as to where he's from, I almost wish he would have been ringed already, though this individual became the first Peregrine ever for Falsterbo Bird Observatory, and the 200th species ringed!
A few weeks earlier, another falcon was caught in Flommen (and I'm suddenly sensing an accidental theme for this post - I hope you all like birds of prey). This Merlin (Falco columbarius) was the 5th one for the station.
And so, finally, came the time for my favorite kind of extra ringing - owlnights! Here Timmy and Sophie are discussing the age of a Tengmalm's Owl (Aegolius funereus).
Long-eared Owl (Asio otus). We catch the owls by luring them towards the nets with a speaker playing a mix of calls from owls and skylarks (prey), it's very effective and the first night we caught 8 birds.
This Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) on the other hand, was caught with a lamp and a hand-net. Since the owls are nocturnal (even though this particular species is actually partly diurnal..) they are extremely sensitive to bright lights. It is possible to get very close to them by dazzling them with for example a head-torch, sometimes you can even get close enough to grab them by hand!
To be continued...

Falsterbo 2015 - pt. 1

Allmänt / 2015-10-08 / 15:44:55
This autumn I'm having the privilege of working as a ringer at Falsterbo Bird Observatory, located on the south-western point of Sweden. The observatory began it's operations the 1950s and since 1980 the catching and ringing of birds in the Lighthouse garden and Flommen reedbeds has been standardized. I'm spending most of my time in the garden, but I got to enjoy a few mornings in the reeds as well before that season ended.
For the standardized ringing in the Lighthouse Garden we only catch birds using mistnets. They are put up before sunrise and checked every 30 minutes. The birds are extracted from the nets and brought to the ringing lab where they get processed. During the ringing the bird's age and sex is determined by looking at feather characters and iris colour, they are also weighed and measured before regaining their freedom.
Many beautiful mornings in late summer.
The Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus), supposedly the most numerous bird in Sweden, is one of several species of small passerines that seem to have taken a big hit from this springs cold and wet conditions. The lack of insects made for a poor breeding season for many of our small birds who weren't able to find enough food for their young. This season we've only caught  half of the average for this species, but the strong winds in late August probably helped to keep the numbers down.
The Icterine Warbler (Hippolais icterina) is similar to the Willow Warbler in appearences, but noticably bigger. And with a very different attitude!
A young Red-backed Shrike (Lanius collurio).
Spotted Crake (Porzana porzana) in Flommen.
An adult female Bearded Tit (Panurus biarmicus) with extremely worn plumage after the breeding season.
A young Bearded Tit in the middle of the post-juvenil molt. Nice that the ageing of at least some species is simple!
A male Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta). I've had some real exposure therapy with these awesome but frightening guys since they have a talent of getting tangled in the nets. Good thing I started out with the crickets at Nordens Ark...
When I came to Falsterbo in the middle of August, the season's second brood of House Martins (Delichon urbicum) had recently hatched in the artificial nests put up on the main house in the Lighthouse Garden. Here Caroline and Raul are checking which nests are occupied.
When they got old enough, they too got ringed. Now when I'm writing this, all the swallows and martins have long since left for warmer places. Still, for me, this only feels like yesterday!
Since the standardized ringing in August was so calm, we had a lot of energy to make extra efforts to catch birds at night. Here a Common Redshank (Tringa totanus) has been caught in a net put up on the beach at Nabben and is getting ringed by Timmy.
An adult male Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra) caught by hand, with the help of a dazzling lamp. We managed to catch almost the whole family and got a nice surprise when the female turned out to be a re-capture. She got her ring two years ago, by the same person who now caught her a second time. As icing on the cake she was actually the first coot Marc ever ringed.
Flommen a late summer evening.
One afternoon me, Marc and Timmy went to Copenhagen Zoological Museum to look at their extensive collection of bird skins. At the end of our visit I stumbled upon the cabinets with parrots and suddenly time flew!
Harbour Seal (Phoca vitulina) at Skanörs revlar.
To be continued...

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