Friday, 3 November 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 3rd November 2017

The weather forecast for Saturday looked pretty dire, with persistent rain, so WA took a few hours out from work to join us at Stanwell, after all, the lab is open at the weekend and hours can be made up while it's pouring with rain.

As it turned out that was a good decision on his part since not only did we catch a few Redwings, but there was also not one but two Firecrest from the track net. These were the third and fourth of the species to be caught at the site, and in the case of today's birds audio-lures were not being played. Both were juveniles.



There were also a few Goldcrest including retrapped bird KKH010. This ring was not used at Stanwell Moor so we checked those used at Wraysbury as there has been some exchange between the two sites, but no not Wraysbury. That only left Black Park, some 10Km north as the Goldcrest flies, where the bird had been ringed on 23rd October.

Totals: 34 (10)

Meadow Pipit - 8
Robin - 0 (3)
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 5
Chiffchaff - 1 (1)
Goldcrest - 7 (2)
Firecrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 2 (2)
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 1 (2)
Goldfinch - 5

Black Park Country Park - 2nd November 2017

We were on site at 6:15am in a heavy mist and put the usual four nets up in a relatively confined area. We only caught 24 birds, but that wasn't too bad since the birds all but stopped moving through at around 9:30am. We caught a few Redwing, Lesser Redpoll and Goldcrest so there can be no complaints. Nets were down by 10:45am and we were off site by 11am.




Totals: 24

Wren - 1
Redwing - 8
Goldcrest - 8
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 5

Truss's Island, Staines - 1st November 2017

The morning was spent at the usual location, helping MR to hand catch Mute Swans. MEH came along for the experience, fitting metal and darvic marks.


We started off quite well, but had a set back when someone arrived with a couple of bin liners full of bread. The swans and geese devoured it all, then were less keen to come to the bread for a while.


We stayed for around three hours, before leaving MR and MEH to continue without us.

In the time that we were there MR collected information on sixty or so individuals.

Totals: 21 (40)

Mute Swans ringed and marked with darvics - 21
Mute Swans darvic added to existing ring - 10
Mute Swan darvic read in the field - 30

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 30th October 2017

For the first time this autumn we were scraping ice off the windscreen before making our way to the site, but that did at least mean that the sky was clear and there was no mist or dampness. We concentrated on the mounds, hoping for mainly Redwing, Goldcrest and Meadow Pipits.

We caught some of each of the target species but the session was most notable for the total range of species. We caught the first Stonechats, not one but two, ever ringed at the site.

 3M Stonechat

4F Stonechat

 There were singles of Reed Bunting, Song Thrush, Chaffinch and Chiffchaff. Two Magpie became the second and third ringed at the site.

3F Reed Bunting

3F Chaffinch

Adult Magpie

The 17 Meadow Pipits ringed were only a small proportion of the numbers of birds seen, and small groups of Redwing were seen overhead through much of the morning with just four caught.


Amongst the Goldcrests was control JHX264.

Totals: 43 (4)

Meadow Pipit - 17
Dunnock - 2
Stonechat - 2
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 4
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 7 (3)
Long-tailed Tit - 4
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Magpie - 2
Chaffinch - 1
Reed Bunting - 1

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Wraysbury - 27th October 2017

Out with MEH this morning, we'd just got the last of the nets up when a very distinctive call was heard from a single bird in the lakeside trees, Before the bird was seen flying off low after leaving its roost. We were very pleased to have glimpsed a Hawfinch, and saw a further two overhead, then three more singles, all moving south westwards, in the first hour or so.

We caught a reasonable number of Goldcrest, one being control KKD760, three Chiffchaff, one Cetti's Warbler and a mix of common garden birds. A juvenile Jay was a first for MEH.

Juvenile Jay

Totals: 28 (3)

Wren - 1 (1)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - 10 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 6
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 2
Jay - 1

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 26th October 2017

The wind forecast was low and we took the chance to take MEH, a trainee that usually trains at the Bedfont site, to Stanwell. It was very misty and rather colder than we have become used to. Nets were deployed in the reedbed ride, on the track and on the mound.


We got a few Redwing, from groups that were flying over in the murk. There were also a few Goldcrests and tits. Interestingly, three Cetti's Warblers were caught, two on the track net, where they do not usually frequent. This may indicate that birds are moving away from their natal grounds and they may not have been youngsters bred in the immediate area. All were females.We also had a couple of Chiffchaff that are known to winter at Stanwell. However three were carrying quantities of fat scoring either two or three suggesting they still had a distance to travel.

Redwing - of the birds caught so far this autumn there seems to 
be a higher percentage of adult than young birds.

The Meadow Pipit nets didn't do well at all. Only one Meadow Pipit was captured.

At around 11:30am it started to drizzle and we took down. The last bird was a female Blackcap with a fat score of three, more likely to be a late departer than a wintering bird.


Blackcap aged 3, fat 3 muscle 2

So, no controls today ( BPCP has been spoiling us) and not a fantastic number of birds and that would have been very different had the Meadow Pipit nets caught, but MEH gained her first experience of handling Redwing and Meadow Pipit so a good morning nonetheless.

Totals: 35 (4)

Meadow Pipit - 1
Wren - 1
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 0 (1)
Redwing - 5
Cetti's Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - 8 (2)
Long-tailed Tit - 7
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Chaffinch - 1


Thursday, 26 October 2017

Black Park Country Park - 25th October 2017

It was drizzling  when we arrived on site, and a bit windier than we would have liked. We had to decide whether to stick to our usual place or try another area where gorse has grown up and paths were cut through in spring as part of the park management. Not knowing this new area so well, we stuck with what we know.

While four nets went up without a hitch, we became aware of a stream of vehicles passing by as there was filming going on somewhere in the park and as it turned out not very far from where we were. The birds were a bit slow to start moving, but it soon became clear that Goldcrests numbers would be lower than last time, whereas Lesser Redpoll numbers would probably be up.

We tried the tape for Redwing, attracting a few birds and catching just one of them. Lesser Redpolls were frequently dropping into the alders and fifty were caught over the course of the morning, 49 new and a control. As we thought, Goldcrests were down to 15 with one retrap from Monday.

Control S101959, aged 3

Adult Redwing

A shuttle bus service was running back and forth from the filming all morning - we though it must be something historical when we'd seen props going by on an open backed truck. The rustic wagon had us thinking it may be a western, then we began to hear whooping sounds from the direction of the filming, then the sound of the Redcoat drums. It seemed to be about the American Indian wars.

Now, we always notice those TV programmes with the wrong natural sounds in the background, Poldark with Bee-eater calls springs to mind, but if at some stage in the future, you are watching something set in North America history and can hear the Redwing Latvian love song or persistent Redpoll song in the background, then it's our fault!

It was just as well we didn't go for the other location because the track was completely blocked by their vehicles, we would have struggled to get out and may even have been in shot.

Totals: 76 (2)

Wren - 2
Robin - 1
Redwing - 1
Goldcrest - 15 (1)
Blue Tit - 5
Coal Tit - 3
Lesser Redpoll - 49 (and 1 control)