Sunday, 31 October 2010

From Mark Fitzpatrick

Saturday 29th October - Cardington
Really nice day. Gentle westerly breeze, warm in the sun. Not many clouds. 3 Buzzards over together. Peregrine flew over. Mixed flock of finches (100+) on the field. Highlight of the ringing were 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers - first I've ever ringed at the site. In total I ringed 37 new birds, plus 15 retraps: Blue Tit 16 new (+ 5 retraps), Chaffinch 2, Dunnock 1, (2), Goldcrest (1), Goldfinch 7, Greenfinch 2, Great Tit 1, (3), Great Spotted Woodpecker 3, LT Tit 3, (4), Robin 1, Wren (1).

- Stagsden
Been out ringing again - lots of tits coming to feeders. Mostly Blue Tits, some Great Tits. At Stagsden also ringed 2 Coal Tits and 2 Marsh Tits. Marsh Tits are fairly uncommon in Bedfordshire. The attached photo is a very typical example of what happens when one tries to ring any of the tit species!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

A nice day for ringing

The weather was good, the wind was down and I didn't have to get up at rediculous o'clock. All that was needed were some birds.

A visit to 'the rough' at Priory Country Park today (7.30am to 1pm) brought the following totals: 35 birds of 10 species - new (retrap):

Redwing 4 (0)
Blue Tit 2 (1)
Great Tit 2 (5)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (4)
Bullfinch 2 (1)
Robin 0 (3)
Dunnock 1 (4)
Blackbird 3 (0)
Greenfinch 1 (0)
Wren 2 (0)

The total catch was reasonable and the first of the autumn redwing arrivals were caught and ringed (juveniles and adults). It was a bit slow mid-morning but picked up later on.

The feeding station didn't attract many birds but perhaps it isn't cold enough yet to make them desperate enough to be lured in to the feeders.

The retrap Bullfinch had mange and one robin had a weird growth at the base of the upper mandible (bill) which it didn't have when it was first ringed.

Other things of note, a flock of 18 lapwing flew over heading towards the main lake and a weasel made 2 brief appearances (I've never seen one so close).

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Haar, haar.

Got out early in anticipation of maybe a bit of 'grounded scarce'. The heavens were obscured by a layer of cloud as I put some nets up. The wind was also a lot stronger than the 5mph forecast. The next hour was busy with 19 birds to extract and process. First up was a Song Thrush that was being 'got at' by a juvvy male Sparr - but my intervention saved it and it got away with a few ruffled, and bloodied, back feathers.
Some minor damage to the rear end of today's Song Thrush

The bird was a Euring code 4 and much bigger than our known locals, so was probably a continental arrival.

With a little more light in the sky a couple of female Blackbirds popped by, both birds of the year and like chalk and cheese. The smaller one (123mm wing) had just 1ogc and the larger (133mm) had 4ogc. Here is the larger one that also had a fat score of 2.5
The 'continental' female Blackbird in a hurry to get away.

Then, with the MP3 lure on, it was the turn of 2 male Blackcaps to 'weigh in'. The smaller of the two was the heavier.
Shy 'teenage' Blackcap (3M) with 2 ogc; the lighter one .

By now the light was about as good as it was going to get all morning. The tits started to visit the feeders for a while starting about half an hour after (theoretical) sunrise. However, after a bit of a flurry, interest in the easy come by source of food failed to attract much enthusiasm. Four Bushtits did the honours, three of them newbies and most likely young of the year with their red eye rings.

So, after three hours of boredom, when I processed 3 more tits and a Dunnock and was thinking of taking down as the wind had backed to a worse direction, what should pop by but a young Treecreeper that I ringed a couple of weeks ago. So that was it. 24 birds of 10 species, of which one third were re-traps.
Last bird of the day - Treecreeper, aged 3, male on bill & hind claw.
Young Treecreeper with 2 ogc's and unmoulted, large white tip to alula.

Blue Tit 4 (3)
Great Tit 1 (2)
Long-tailed Bushtit 3 (1)
Blackcap 2
Treecreeper (1)
Wren 1
Blackbird 2
Song Thrush 1
Dunnock 2
Chaffinch (1)

No Chiffs, no 'crests, no Redwings, no King Harry's. The day started as it had begun - gloomy!

Observations made up for it some what, with the Sparr, 8 Lesser Redpolls, a Green Sand, 5 Swallows, 1 House Martin, several small parties of Chaffinch, 8 Wigeon, 6 Gadwall, a Grey Wag, a Pied Wag, 4 Mipits, 3 Sky Larks, a count of 180-200 Starlings west, just 1 Redwing ... and about 2 thousand Jackdaws as I was unlocking the gate on arrival.
Pie in the sky today! Next time? I've put a request in for light winds, as well.

Thursday, 7 October 2010

To sweee or to sweeooo

Up early and out. Brrr - a mere 5 degrees C. 3 nets up around the 'crescent' reedbed in the gloaming before sunrise. A little bit of mist over the lake and a pair of Gadwall feeding on the weed; would have made a cracking photo. Kingfisher(s) zipping about and perching in the willows overhanging the water. Not coming through my way, though.

Today was migrants' day. Visibility is restricted at this sub-site because it is set in a hollow and because of the height of the surrounding willows. This precludes 'vis-migging' as you can't see much of the sky! However, it was to be good for Chiff, Robin, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Goldfinch and Siskin. To take it one step at a time ...
A brightly coloured (and lit!) Chiffchaff; excuse the shadow.

Early doors, at sunrise, it was just 1 Robin and 1 Dunnock. The tape was playing Chiff but no signs except for a bird singing back at base. Then a couple of Chaffinches; these were joined by 3 Chiffs shortly after. Having taken them out, another Chiff flew in, making 4. A lone female and a mixed bag of males. Three different plumages and leg colours. The biggest was brightest and the smallest was greyest, the other one being 'normal' for south central England. The 'grey one' gave the abietinus type 'seeeooo' call. Then that avenue dried up, only to be replaced by Wrens and Blue Tits, as, by now, the place was warming up quickly in the bright sunshine.

More Robins - and going by the wing length, all of todays were females, in the David Lack tradition. [Males tend to stay put]. Moved the tape to be nearer the Alders and switched to Goldcrest. Three arrived, two were caught - females again. Finger trouble with the MP3 and Goldfinch played, luring in a large-winged, juvenile male. As I took the nets down (prior to a previous engagement), I noticed half a dozen silent Goldfinch feeding in the Alders. As I packed the car, A Siskin also flew in. ~#**%*##! could have had that!

In all, 10 species and 26 birds. As usual, these is them:
Goldcrest 2
Blue Tit 4 (1)
Great Tit (1)
Long-tailed Bush Tit 1
Chiffchaff 4
Wren 1 (2)
Robin 3 (1)
Dunnock 2 (1)
Chaffinch 1 (1)
Goldfinch 1

Back to the feeders on Saturday. My No.1 helper and 'C' ringer will not be there as he intends to make for East Yorkshire. More ringing ticks for him, no doubt. But ... it'll only be 3 days to the glorious 12th!
Match that! [P.schwarzi. 1991. Beds.]