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Little Owl

Learning from yesterday's mistake where it'd have been better to stay at home than go to Tyttenhanger, this morning I went to Tyttenhanger! A far more successful day than yesterday started off with the two pictured Little Owls, I then heard extended woodpecker drumming - sounded to me like a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, but I couldn't locate it even though it was coming from one of three trees directly in front of me.

Later on I met Steve who'd just filled up the feeding station and he gave me some pointers as to where (and how) I might find Woodcock (which I've never seen). I then headed to the feeding station where I couldn't find any Tree Sparrows or Yellowhammers, but a female Reed Bunting was posing nicely.

Another birder arrived who turned out to be Ken who had come to collect the data recorder for the ringed Tree Sparrows. Basically the local Tree Sparrow population has been ringed with chipped rings and when they land on the bird table their presence is recorded - clever stuff. The data is then used to monitor the movements of the population and how much use they are making use of the feeding station. From this it can be worked out how long into summer the feeding station should be kept stocked and how well the population is doing. These Tree Sparrows have been monitored for the last ten years and strangely although breeding success has been good there seems to be just the same number of birds around as there was ten years ago and they don't seem to have gone off and started other populations.

Continuing on I soon came across a couple of Yellowhammers and then as I was walking into Garden Wood there was a flutter to my left and a brown bird flew up and off. Not the absolute certain identification that a pedant like me likes, but given where I was, given it was brown with a rufous rump, then it had to be a Woodcock - a "lifer". Although I continued around the wood for maybe another hour it was my only sighting. So with the addition of Little Owl, Yellowhammer & Woodcock that's the year list up to 88.

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