Monday, June 6, 2011

June, a time of stunning rares. Last year the first two weeks here saw a White-throated Sparrow and a Greenish Warbler, elsewhere in the country in the last couple of days a Blyth's Reed Warbler and a White-throated Robin have rocked up, today the morning census yielded a new Chiffchaff, yesterday it was three Lesser Whitethroats. But at least we've had a nice pair of hooters to keep our spirits up...

Little Owls were introduced in the late 1800s in Kent and Northampton from where they spread rapidly over most of England, Wales and later into Scotland. They have taken readily to living on the Welsh islands where they seem to do well on the large supply of invertebrates and migrant birds. There are at least three pairs on Bardsey, although they are surprisingly unobtrusive. These two chicks were seen outside of the nest burrow as we approached, the cramped conditions of the burrow meaning that they need to venture outside to stretch their wings and develop their pectoral muscles. (c) Richard Brown

The boys continue to grow at an impressive rate. They are beginning to get their distinctive flat faces and a small bit of pink colouration is now evident. The lower photo shows just how big they have grown in just 21 days (the eggs from which they hatched are on the piece of Rush). (c) Richard Brown

 A couple of impressive behavioural and morphological features are well in evidence at the moment. Rather than just depositing their droppings behind them as they eat, they forcibly shoot them some 20cm or more from their back ends. This is presumably to remove something that may attract predators to them, or perhaps they just don't want to poo on what they eat. The modified hind legs at the back now extend a considerable distance when the boys are disturbed, an amazing anti-predator response. (c) Richard Brown

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