Apologies for lack of recent postings but it has been a very busy time one way or another recently.
Over the past few weeks the Hawfinch guru, Dave Smith, has been scouring the woods around Dolgellau looking for Hawfinch nests to help with an RSPB research project on predation rates. He has located at least fifteen nests and I have been up and installed research cameras at 8 of these. Two of the nests were subsequently predated by Jays.
Caught in the act. A Jay renoves an egg from a Hawfinch nest on camera. It later returns for the rest of the clutch.
So far 23 young have been ringed at seven nests, with two more still to do.
Had no idea Hawfinches had fluorescent purple and yellow gapes. This must presumably help the adults to locate the right place to deposit food in the dense foliage where they frequently nest.
In the end we decided not to colour-ring the chicks because of the risk of them being removed by the adults. Hopefully we may catch some of them at the feeding site next season. At least five of the breeding adults were seen to be wearing colour-rings but reading them proved difficult as the cameras were largely at the wrong angle to see legs and the birds were in and out of the nests fairly quickly.
A12 incubating a nest in the main feeding site wood. Unfortunately this is the one shown being nobled by a Jay above.
It may prove easier to identify colour-ringed adults when they are feeding recently fledged young.
Dave Smith, the happy Hawfinch guru