With the weatherman giving warnings of high winds and heavy rain it was time to set off ringing again! These are just the conditions in which you can get a very good catch. Last night produced a couple of unexpected surprises though.
Firstly this Short-billed Woodcock. We have shown pictures of "shorties" on this blog before but this is the first one I've encountered and had a bill just over half the normal length. Like Paddy's recent "Snowcock "http://pembsringinggroup.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/great-white-snipe-or-snowcock.html this bird was also an adult so has managed to cope with its impediment for some time.
Secondly, whilst walking one rushy field I noticed what I initially thought was another "Shortie" hunting in the beam of the torch. I tried "squeaking" it in but it took no notice and eventually flew off. Later, on my way back, it was hunting the same patch of ground but this time it eventually perched on a fence post and I was able to walk up quietly and net it off the top! With the weather so mild on the continent at the moment it is likely this bird is probably one of our small local breeding population but there is also the chance that it has come in from Scandinavia to winter in our milder winter climate.
Long-eared Owl - absolutely stunning! A juv I think but the diagrams in Baker are a bit confusing to say the least!!
As our Barn and Little Owl man, Chris Griffiths, lives just a few miles down the road I gave him a call to see if he wanted to broaden his ringing experience, don't think he could have made it any faster if he had flown!
4 more Woodcock, 2 Golden Plover and a Fieldfare made it well worth going out for and the weather wasn't half as bad as it was forecast anyway!