Sunday, 25 July 2010

Three quarters of the way

CES Number 9 completed; fortunately there was alot of cloud cover and a light breeze. Later in the day it turned very humid and the wind picked up. So what did we catch today?

A peculiar blend to say the least. Early doors, we had a fly-past as 2 Little Egberts left the roost.

First up - a 3JP Chiffie.

During the morning we extracted 26 birds from the standard nets and 13 from a single 60' we set in an adjoining compartment. Combined, I make that 33 new birds with just 4 re-traps of 15 species. A good training day with this spread.

Male (rt) and female 3J Chaffinch.

2CY male Bullfinch.

It was to be an AA day - on one third of the birds. Just eight birds were adults; the 5 new ones were a male Dunnock (where did he spring from?), male Blackcap, nesting female Song Thrush, female Chiffie and a 6M Bullfinch and 3 of the 4 retraps were moulting Blackbirds.

3JP Chiffchaff showing GC moult

RARE - Our third Willie of the season!

Mrs Song Thrush

So here is the full listing:
Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 3 (1)
Chiffchaff 5
Willow Warbler 1
Blackcap 3
Garden Warbler 1
Whitethroat 2
Reed Warbler 5
Wren 5
Blackbird (3)
Song Thrush 1
Robin 2
Dunnock 3
Chaffinch 2
Bullfinch 1

We don't normally catch as many young Reed Warblers here in this patch so that means they are dispersing and we'll have to visit our tinzie-winzie reed bed in the week for some more.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Sandy Smith NR Ringing Demo 21/07/10

First of all, a big thanks to all who attended the ringing demo put on by Errol and myself at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve. A special thanks to the Greensand Trust, Liz Millbank for helping organise and Steve Squire for mowing the path & the photographs.I hope you all enjoyed it - I certainly did.

Total for the evening:

Whitethroat 2 (1 adult and one juvenile) - a site speciality. The juvenile was one I had caught earlier (just out of the nest) & it's primary feathers had grown a further 9mm in 10 days!

Kingfisher 1 (juvenile) - this more than made up for the lack of other birds!

Song Thrush (juvenile) - this was as we were taking nets down in the fading light. Sorry if you missed it!

All photographs are courtesy of Steve Squire.

Above: This was a surprise since we caught it in the net furthest away from the river and not in the net we put up specifically to catch one! Having bagged it, I took it over to the unsuspecting visitors. Without giving anything away, I slowly brought it out of the bag to everybody's delight.

Above: I'm taking a wing length measurement.

Above: The flash of blue that people normally see out in the field.

Above: Here you can see the ring, but you can also see the colour of the top of the legs. An adult would have a crayon red colour to the top of their legs. This juvenile shows a dark colour.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Barnacle Goose round-up

Now have the final figures for the round-up on 11th July at Roxton.

Barnacle Geese - 298 ringed (146 retraps, 152 new); 40 birds left the scene unringed.
Of the 152 new birds, 72 had darvics added.
Greylag - 2 new, both had darvics added.
Canada Goose - 14 new birds ringed.

In 2010, at least 19 birds carrying darvics were seen elsewhere but not retrapped here, making the number of known birds at least 357 from a total of 403 marked since the 2003 moult. In total, 270 birds have had darvic colour rings added.

CES 8 - Sunday 18 July

CES 8 at Waterloo Thorns completed this morning. Perfect conditions first thing spawned hope of a bumper session, but it was incredibly quiet - literally - very little bird activity of any kind. By 10am we only had 7 birds and were heading for a record low catch....until the inevitable tit flock hit. Happily this Paridae parade included a few hangers-on: treecreepers, willow warbler and goldcrest.

Final scores (new/retrap):
Wren 1/2
Treecreeper 1/2
Chiffchaff 2/0
Long-tailed Tit 4/2
Goldcrest 1/0
Willow Warbler 1/0
Great Tit 5/1
Robin 0/2
Blackcap 0/2
Bullfinch 0/2
Blue Tit 0/2

Guy Anderson

Saturday, 17 July 2010

CES 8 at Priory

A good day - despite the weather. Sunny intervals but increasing cloud and gusty winds.
A total of 38 birds of 11 species and just 8 retraps.

1J Wren with bright gape and dull eye

Blue Tit 1 juv
Long-tailed Tit (1) - this individual was ringed as a 3 in August 2007
Chiffchaff 3 (1) - all juvs
Garden Warbler 2 (1) - the male retrap is from early 2008
Blackcap 10 (1) - today's surprise package!
Whitethroat (3) - all moulting adults
Sedge Warbler 1 - another juv (2 days running!)
Reed Warbler 2 juvs
Wren 3 (1) - includes a 1J
Blackbird 7 - 6 juvs and a 2cy, all males
Dunnock 1 juv - no adults today, our staple diet here

We were chatting to Dave Kramer about records sent in by birders and how different things (especially colours) can be perceived and described by different people. As an example, see the Chiffchaff below ....
The same Chiffchaff photographed from two different angles.
One 'brown' while the other is 'green'

There were plenty of butties on the wing today, including quite a few newly emerged Gatekeepers ...
several Commas ...
... and Red Admirals, too. The Creeping Thistles also had several species of bumblebee feeding on them, together with a soldier bettle sp.

The Whitethroats were in heavy moult, a sign that they had finished breeding for this year.
Primaries 1 & 2 completing, primary 3 sprouting & primary 4 still pushing through. Moult score = 11 (4421000000)

Four more CES sessions left; they should produce many more young birds and maybe some "old friends".

Friday, 16 July 2010

An early tickle

An early start at the crescent before the winds got up. Not very many dog walkers around this morning. However, there has been a blue-green algal bloom in the main lake for a week or so. These winds will shift it by creating turbulence and chilling the water temperature.

First up was my first moulting Blackcap of the year, a male with two primaries dropped on both wings. The main thrust here is always the Reed Warblers. We can't get into this small reedbed as the sub-strate is very unstable (an old silt trap) if you continually walk on it. Therefore we suffice with ringing the perimeter paths. Today it was 15 birds in total, with 7 retrap adult Reed Warblers and 3 juveniles.

With the absence of dogs, some of the 100 or so swans came to the beach, (bottom right corner of main lake - see map), to haul out and do a bit of 'toiletry' and 'have a natter'.

"Here we come"
"Now for a good scratch"

Abraded plumage of an adult Reed Warbler
Fresh plumaged juvenile Reed Warbler.
Juvenile Blackcap showing soft body feathers.

The end tally was 15 birds including 8 recaptures:
Great Tit 1 juv
Garden Warbler 1 juv
Black cap 1 juv (1)
Sedge Warbler 1 juv
Reed Warbler 3 (7)
One of the male Reed Warblers was ringed as a 6M (hatched 2 years earlier or before) in 2006, making it at least 6 years old and another one was a 6Female when caught in 2007. This year to date, I have caught 17 males, 10 females, 5 unsexed (poss females as they were caught early on) and 3 juveniles at this tiny reed bed.

Today's surprise extraction ...
... only the second this year over the whole site.

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Bird Ringing Demonstration

WEDNESDAY 21st JULY 7.00-9.00pm

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve

Recent ringing activities (last couple of months) on this site have produced large numbers of Common Whitethroats, a few Sedge Warblers and a Grasshopper Warbler!So why not come to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve near Beadlow to get the chance see birds up close and learn about ringing from members of the Ivel Ringing Group.

The cost is £1.00 per person. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please contact Liz Millbank, Greensand Trust, for further information on 01234 743666.

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Number Seven

It has been a fortnight since the last CES visit and, since then, the weather has been on the "warm side". Still, if you can't sleep because of the heat, you might as well get up and go ringing!

"First up" - [3J(F)J "Prune"]

First bird up was a juvenile Dunnock and, on the next round, 2 adult female Blackbirds off the nest and out foraging before 6am. Just the one juvenile Garden Warbler this morning and we noticed a small cyst on the gape of this bird. Not something we see very often.

Juvenile Garden Warbler
The first of two juvenile (male) Blackcaps.

Things were looking good. Three early morning Blue Tits turned out to be from very different sites; one to the east, one to the south and the other from a natural hole or a bat box. Two hours in and it was time for a spot of breakfast and pill taking. Munching on a sandwich, I went through a moult sequence with Davy on an adult (6F) Robin.

Adult Robin moulting its primaries, tertials and tail (03/07/10)
Same bird - primary moult score = 12 (3332100000).

Blackcaps were dominannt with 2 juvenile male types (see photo above showing the darker crown colouration), 2 juvenile female types and a new 2CY male. This in fact doubled our juvenile numbers for the year, bringing them level with the adults. It should be noted that one in every nine birds that we catch throughout the broader site is a Blackcap.

A Green Woodpecker tantalised us, but with the bright sunshine that dominated the session, it could see the nets probably better than us!! We caught young Robin number 8 and as yet it has to start its post-juvenile moult.

Spotty, juvenile Robin.

Also in the bag were three adult Dunnocks. The first was a juvenile female last year, the second was one of our oldest birds, a male that was ringed as a juvenile in earlyAugust 2004 and the last was a bird caught in May 2007 as a 2CY male. Unfortunately, this year it has developed "bumble foot", similar to Sedge Warblers and Chaffinches. The ring is now tight on the leg but doesnt seem to be restricting circulation to the foot.

The final tally was 20 new and 9 re-traps. Every thing stopped at 10am and no more birds were caught in the fourth quarter of "our alloted time slot". C'est la vie!
Blue Tit 1 (2)
Great Tit 1
Chiffchaff 2 (1)
Blackcap 5
Garden Warbler 1
Whitethroat 2
Reed Warbler (1)
Wren 1 (1)
Blackbird 3 (1)
Robin 2
Dunnock 1 (3)
Chaffinch 1.

Additional highlights of the morning were a passing Sandwich Tern and two Little Egberts over. DK went to photograph the second "whitey" but all we heard after a shutter whirring were some mild expletives - as he had left his 2Gig card in the computer!

Instead - here's one I nicked off Phil Slade

Also spotted the first Common Gull of the autumn whilst looking up at a Sparrowhawk in with a party of 50+ Swifts. Soon after, we picked up a "Buzzorant" while scanning with binoculars, an extremely high Cormorant drifting eastwards, invisible to the naked eye, and pondered on where it had come from and where it would end up.