Wednesday, 17 February 2010

I don't believe it!

Yes, Victor, in and out three times!

I have a couple of Potter traps set in the garden. They catch the odd greedy Starling but not much else.

I watched open-mouthed this morning as the resident alpha male Blackbird calmly walked into the trap, hopped over the trigger plate, grabbed a square of bread and hopped straight out again. It didn't do this only the once, it had the cheek to repeat the manoevre twice more!

Seems as if I'll have to revert to the old favourite - the drop trap. The first bird I ever caught was a Robin in a drop-trap in a neighbour's (NJW) garden some 50+ years ago. Now off to find some wood for the frame/door.

Monday, 15 February 2010

Monday, Monday!

A day of mamas and papas?

Another catch was taken at the Blunham trap overnight, this time of 182 birds as follows:
Mallard 6 (11)
Gadwall 8 (43)
Tufted 47 (54)
Pochard 1 (1)
Wigeon 3 (7)
Greylag 1
I haven't had a chance to speak to Chris yet (I couldn't go, as you will see) but the last seven weeks have seen a goodly number of birds ringed and retrapped here.

My efforts remained within the garden. I couldn't "disappear" (even with a mobile) as I was expecting some important 'phone calls. So I erected a couple of nets early on this cold and damp day. Object - Goldfinches.

It started off with a 6 male Blackbird, one that I have not seen at all before. The resident pair and the neighbouring pair are keeping the garden clear of interlopers - but none of them were around today, probably too busy nest building and standing guard in other peoples' gardens. Or hiding somewhere warm and dry!

I did eventually catch 10 Goldies, two of which were retraps, both ringed as post juveniles in previous years. There were 4 females and 6 males, none of them carrying any fat worth talking about. The first bird of the day was the heaviest (a male at 17.3g), though the rest were not 'underweight', and only two birds scored 2 on breast muscle.

At lunch time, five Long-tailed Tits managed not to avoid the nets, and some others called anxiously from the neighbouring gardens as their companions were extracted. One female was beginning to get a decent brood patch and one of the males was real feisty; perhaps the alpha pair. Their cousins down at the park have already started splitting up into pairs, with or without helpers.

The only other birds to not dodge the nets were a new Dunnock and a new 6 female Blue Tit that was acquiring a brood patch. It looks as though we were just in time erecting the last 10 boxes (to make 30 in all) at the park last weekend. One box was even being investigated by a pair of Blue Tits within 24 hours. My garden tit box remains untenanted meanwhile.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Chalton bummer

The HV electricity pylons are sinking!
And the HV lines 'sag' even more in hot weather - up to six foot, apparently.
So, what are they going to do?
Dig a 2 metre deep trench under the power lines that pass across the site. Health and Safety.

Meantime, the locks have been changed, denying anyone access to the tertiary filtration area where we ring.
Boo hoo!

However, we should be back in in time for the start of the CES season.
Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Goldfinch results

Go to Phil Slade's blog here for a joint discourse on the annual variations within the British population.

A fuller version will appear in the next group's report (2008-09) due out in the spring.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Stockgrove 7/2/2010

Another very good turnout with Mike, Roy, Toni, Sue, Sabrina and myself in attendance. 36 birds of 7 species were caught. Ringed/retrapped as follows: Bluti 11/8, Dunno 2/1, Greti 8/2,
Nutha 0/1, Marti 1/0, Roboin 1/0, Coati 1/0.

We also now have power back in the ringing hut at Chalton but no lighting but, this is in hand.
Peregrine was seen over the site on Saturday along with 42 gadwall, 6 tufted and 3 teal.