Saturday, 22 October 2011

Bedfordshire Clangers, Blue Tits and more at Apple Day

Sunday 16th October was the annual Apple Day event at Bromham Mill. The sky was blue and the weather mild, so not surprisingly the crowds turned out in big numbers.

The East of England Apple and Orchards Project had a great display of many of the varities of apples to be found in Bedfordshire and many people brought along apples to find out what varieties they were. Apples, apple juice and cider was on sale, with the Harrold Calvados society demonstrating the art of cider making.

Amongst the many other attractions on offer was some great food, including one of Bedfordshire's contributions to British cuisine: the Bedfordshire Clanger. Demand was so great that Gunn's Bakery had to rush additional supplies of Clangers to Bromham Mill.

The RSPB and Friends of Marston Vale had stalls.

Ivel Ringing Group gave a demonstration of bird ringing, giving passers-by both young and old the chance to see some birds very close up. Totals ringed were as follows (plus retraps in brackets):

  • Blackbird 2

  • Blue Tit 29 (7)

  • Chaffinch 3

  • Coal Tit 3

  • Dunnock 2 (2)

  • Goldcrest 2

  • Goldfinch 3

  • Greenfinch 1

  • Great Tit 8 (4)

  • Long-tailed Tit 9

  • Marsh Tit 1

  • Robin 1

  • Total 64 (13)

Photos below are: Goldfinch, Long-tailed Tit, 'Scoreboard' of birds ringed and seen, Ringing base (ringers may have been busy eating Bedfordshire Clangers), Goldcrest.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Cardington & Marston - Tawny Owl, Redwing & Reed Buntings

A short session on Friday evening at Cardington resulted in a Tawny Owl ringed and 2 Bullfinches caught (one new bird and one retrap).

There was a slight ground frost in some places on Saturday 15th October. A Redwing was an unexpected catch - the first I've ever ringed at Cardington. Other birds ringed were 2 Long-tailed Tits and 2 Wrens. 2 Buzzard flew over mewing, 1 Yellowhammer was back in the winter roosting area, a few Skylarks flew over, while a small group of Linnets were in the fields.

On Saturday afternoon, a session at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park was both successful and really pleasant - initially warm, as the evening wore on it became cold but the rising moon looked fantastic. Birds caught were:

  • 1 Blue Tit

  • 2 Wren

  • 8 Reed Buntings

  • 1 Blackcap

The Reed Buntings are roosting in the reed beds. Numbers of them seem to be building up slowly.

Friday, 7 October 2011

The end of a great summer

The warm weather at the beginning of October seemed to put a final 'full stop' to a really interesting summer. All the local Swallows have left and now the focus is on the arrival of autumn and winter visitors.

A big 'thank you' to all the farmers and other land-owners who let me ring Swallow pulli on their properties. A total of 133 chicks were ringed this year.

In addition 145 fledged birds were ringed at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park. Thanks to the other ringers who have taken part in this. The total Swallows I've been involved with ringing this year in Bedfordshire is therefore 278.

[The above photo shows the sun setting over Bedford after a beautiful warm evening on 7th October, with the airship hangers at Cardington visible in the distance.]