Rainy day = no birds flying; but somewhere in my freezer the vomit awaits . . . "To the laboratory!"
Pellet analysis, I have learnt, is a very time-consuming task (and, in all honesty, can be a bit whiffy). At least 2-3 hours per pellet, up to 5 hours if it's a biggie. I have also learnt that you can bruise your eye sockets from getting too up close and personal with a microscope for long periods of time.
Painstakingly pulling apart masticated fur and feather barbs, tiny treasures (we're talking small amounts of millimetres here) such as claws, teeth, vertebrae and leg bones have been discovered. It's kinda like delving into your santa stocking on Christmas morning (kinda), you don't know what you're gonna get.
I've spent quite a few sessions in the lab now; each time I come away with little specimen jars containing an assortment of bird and rodent bones, fur and feathers, all bagged and labelled before return to my freezer (my flatmates are very understanding).
Here's a small selection of photos to share my lab-time fun with you (NB: the rat skull was not found in a pellet - it is there for comparison purposes only!).