Sunday, 29 May 2011

2nd brood of Swallows

On Saturday 28th May, I ringed my second brood of Swallows for the year. There were 6 chicks in the nest, but I only ringed 5 as one was much smaller than the rest.

The nest was in an outbuilding behind a house on one of the farms in Cople.

Three other Swallow nests checked today all still contain eggs.

The brood of Swallows can be seen in the photograph. I carefully removed them from their nest and placed them in this cotton bag while I ringed them. Afterwards I popped them back in their nest and the parents resumed feeding. They are sharing the outbuilding with a Wood Pigeon that is building a nest.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

CES Visit 3 - 22/05/11

Sunday morning started with a bit of rain, not much & once the showers had passed it was calm... for a very brief period.

Despite the increasing wind, we caught 26 birds of 9 species (retraps in brackets)

Blackcap 5 (1) - the retrap being first ringed in 2004 and known to have been born in 2003. This is a new Ivel Ringing Group longevity record with nearly 7 years passing between first being ringed (by Errol Newman) and its most recent (5th) retrapping (me). Still, this is somewhat short of the national record at 10+ years.

Dunnock 2 (3) - including 1 juvenile
Wren 0 (1)
Robin 2 (0) - both juveniles
Garden Warbler 3 (0)
Reed Warbler 1 (0)
Great Tit 1 (2)
Bullfinch 1 (1)
Blue Tit 3 (0) - all 3 juveniles

A good and enjoyable session. Thanks to David, Sue and Roger for their help and I hope the people on the guided walk enjoyed their ringing demo!

Monday, 23 May 2011

First Swallows make a summer for me

Having just written that it was 'on to Swallows', I ringed my first brood of Swallows for the year tonight in Cardington. 5 well grown young. The primaries were emerging from pin (just about in 'FM' stage - one to two thirds emerged).

The Swallows had apparently returned on about 23rd March and have re-used an old nest. It is well lined with horse-hair - but is going to be tight squeeze as they get bigger!

The other pair nesting in the shed and a pair just across the road were still on eggs.

P.S. We had the first 'significant' rain in Bedford today for many weeks (possibly since March). But when I say 'significant' it did nothing more than wet the ground during the afternoon; by the evening it had mostly dried up. This has been the driest spring that I can recall since moving here in 1980.

Tits finished - now for the Swallows

Over the past couple of weeks I've ringed broods of Blue Tits and Great Tits at Parkwood Local Nature Reserve in Brickhill, Bedfordshire Golf Club at Stagsden and at Bromham Mill - totalling 42 pulli Great Tits and 45 pulli Blue Tits.

The photo on the left is of two Blue Tits from a brood of 9. I ringed 8 of them - the one on the left was typical of these; on the right is a much smaller individual, commonly called a 'runt' it is unlikely to survive as it is likely to lose out when competing for attention from its parents.

That is the last of the pullus Tits for this year, so now it is on to Swallows. Some of the first broods have hatched recently and will be ready for ringing within the week.

I've also ringed a pullus Jackdaw - the pair had filled up the bottom of a Kestrel nest box with large sticks, leaving a deep depression at the back for the young bird to sit in.

[Sorry for the poor quality of the photographs here - my new phone seems to have a much worse camera than the previous one]

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Last Weekend's CES visit 2

Priory Country Park session 2: 21 birds of 14 species (retraps in brackets)

Blackbird 0 (2)
Wren 0 (1)
Whitethroat 1 (0)
Great Tit 0 (2)
Dunnock 0 (2)
Sedge Warbler 1 (0)
Blue Tit 0 (1)
Robin 1 (0) - our first juvenile of the year
Blackcap 3 (0)
Bullfinch 1 (0)
Chiff Chaff 1 (0)
Garden Warbler 3 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Cetti's Warbler 0 (1)

The Thorns CES session 2:

A respectable 34 birds caught on saturday at Waterloo Thorns.

Totals (new/retrap):
Dunnock 3/4
Blackbird 1/0
Robin 1/1
Wren 1/0
Chiffchaff 2/0
Willow Warbler 1/1
Blackcap 2/0
Whitethroat 1/2
Lesser Whitethroat 2/1
Garden Warbler 1/1
Blue Tit 1/1
Great Tit 2/1
Bullfinch 3/0
Goldfinch 0/1

In addition, 2 broods of great tits were ringed in next boxes, with another 4 to come over the next two weeks.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

CES 1 Chalton STW

Our first CES visit to Chalton Managed to produce 21 birds of 9 species. These were ringed/retraped
Bullfinch 0/2
Chiffchaff 1/2
Dunnock 0/3
Magpie 0/1
Reed Bunting 0/1
Sedge Warbler 1/0
Whitethroat 4/4
Willow Warbler 1/0
Wren 1/0

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

The Thorns CES Visit 1

From Guy Anderson:

Our first CES session of year was met with cloudless skies and a freshening easterly breeze on monday. A respectable total of 31 captures to the very welcome soundtrack of two singing nightingales, a purring turtle dove and a free jazz ensemble of warblers.

Species totals (new/retraps)
Dunnock 0/1
Robin 1/2
Blackbird 0/1
Lesser Whitethroat 4/0
Whitethroat 4/0
Garden Warbler 3/0
Blackcap 5/1
Chiffchaff 0/1
Great Tit 0/2
Chaffinch 3/1
Goldfinch 1/0
Bullfinch 1/0

The pick of the retraps was the Dunnock - ringed as a juvenile at the Thorns in august 2007.

In addition, we checked most of the nextboxes on site, a task made more interesting by me forgetting the ladder. But some human pyramids and gibbon impersonations later, we found at least 4 incubating Great Tits. Hopefully we'll be ringing their chicks late in the month.

CES session 2 planned for the 14/15 May weekend.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Priory Country Park CES 1

The Constant Effort Season is upon us once again and now Errol has moved away, I am left to run the CES at Priory Country Park. The weather forecast said there would be little difference between Sunday (the first day of the CES season) and Monday. Sunday came first so I chose Sunday!

It was sunny all morning. Chilly first thing with the wind picking up intensity throughout the morning probably resulting in a reduced catch in the second half.

18 birds of 12 species: New (retrap)

Bullfinch 3 (0)
Cetti's Warbler 0 (1)
Dunnock 2 (0)
Wren 0 (1)
Whitethroat 1 (0)
Reed Warbler 1 (0)
Blackbird 0 (2)
Garden Warbler 1 (1)
Goldfinch 1 (0)
Blue Tit 0 (1)
Chiff Chaff 2 (0)
Blackcap 1 (0)

Interesting info on some of these birds:

1 female Blackbird was born in 2008.
1 male Blackbird was born 2007 (first caught in 2008)
1 returning male Garden Warbler was ringed as an adult in 2010
The female Bullfinch's have well developed brood patch's
A male Blackcap with a false brood patch.

Above: A male Blackcap

Above: A Chiff Chaff

Above: Cetti's Warbler

A ringing demonstration was held for the 'Dawn Chorus' Walkers who were treated to close up views of the Cetti's Warbler (first ringed in April in the park). They learnt how we catch, age and sex the birds and what measurements we take. A donation of £5 to Ivel Ringing Group was gratefully received.

Future walks at Priory could coincide with ringing sessions more frequently from now on!