Sunday, 16 December 2012

Beaconsfield Motorway Services - 16 December 2012

We arranged a 3.30pm meet with ESA/RMA/MRB and Margaret to give the Pied Wagtail roost another go. The pre-roost tree that we noted on our last reccie was totally denuded of foliage so we knew that in all probability the behaviour would differ to that previously observed. We plumped for a 60' in front of two Holm Oaks where we had seen birds congregating before. A 40' was placed by the perimeter road, just in case the birds pre-roosted in the surrounding hedges. The birds appeared to be hanging around in the car park with much fewer birds up on the services roof. Shortly after both nets were up a very large, very black, raincloud loomed large on the horizon. Rain had not featured in the forecast or we would probably have stayed away. As it was we continued to monitor the nets closely, while an inconveniently parked yellow van discouraged the birds from taking a line intersected by the 60' net. The 40' was pretty much redundant where it had been placed, so was swiftly taken down. A few birds found the net by the Oaks and were quickly extracted.  The van departed and as the rain eased, CL noticed that many birds were walking about, a few metres beyond our net, in the coach park. On going to have a proper look, several flew towards the net and were caught. Not wanting to risk a bad mix of dropping temperatures and rain, the net was cleared and immediately taken down. We processed the modest catch, releasing the birds to join the other individuals that were still milling about in the light from the car park lamp posts and were done by 5.30pm.

Pied Wagtail - 14


Saturday, 15 December 2012

Garden - 14 & 15 December 2012

After a few days of sub-zero temperatures when work got in the way of ringing, we finally got the chance to drop the net  inbetween showers. There were fewer birds, than were being seen over the passed few days, that were mostly of the Parus variety. There were a couple of nice recaptures - two Blue Tits last seen two or three years ago - but the most interesting birds are shown below.

 Pied Wagtail Aged 3, caught on 14

Adult Jackdaw, caught on 15

Queen Mother Reservoir - 14 December 2012

With the Buff-bellied Pipit being found at Queen Mother reservoir the day before, being only five or so miles from home, a visit could not be avoided. After ensuring it was still there, which also ensured the forecast rain was by now coming down, I plodded around the the three and half miles around the reservoir. The Pipit was actually not that far from the car park, just past the pier, and was very confiding allowing views as fed on the reservoir bank just a few feet away. As usual I did not take a camera, as often happens and this has resulted in missing some good close photo opportunities. A wader around in cold heavy rain also produced a first year Red-necked Grebe and the Long-tailed Duck. Not an overly pleasant walk in those conditions but at least I did not do it in a T-shirt carrying a back pack weighted with 50kg - as my youngest did as part of his getting fit regime - and I thought I was mad walking around with a scope in those conditions!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Bletchingley - 9 December 2012

It's some time since our last trip to see our friends Ralph and Pat whose home is built on the site of Anne of Cleaves palace. The house is surrounded by trees that are linked, via hedgerows to areas of long established woodland. When we last visited on March 25th 2012, we were hoping to find out whether the bird that had been photographed at the feeders, was a Willow Tit, as the photo seemed to show, or a Marsh Tit. We did more than 100 birds that day but no Willow or Marsh Tits.
As we arrived, there were 20+ Collared Doves and several Ring-necked Parakeets, Jays and Magpie. We could hear Redpoll and Goldfinch too, but of course, by the time the three nets were erected, many larger birds had left, and the small finches were visiting the feeders by working their way down, then up the tree on which the feeders were hung.
We got a lot of these........

and even more of these..........

in our total of 85 new birds. There were also 4 birds from the previous session.

Totals: - 85 (4)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 2
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 2
Blue Tit - 50 (2)
Great Tit - 27 (2)
Nuthatch - 2
Greenfinch - 1

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Chobham Common - 8 December 2012

We joined our local ringing group for an outing to Chobham. There has been extensive clearance work to improve the habitat for heath species such as Dartford Warbler, Nightjar and Wood Lark so we headed for an area close to some mature silver birch, adjacent to a carpet of heather with coniferous trees, were less vegetation has been removed. Double panels were also set out in the hope of catching Dartford Warbler. The start was promising, with 10 Crossbills passing overhead and a flock of some 30 to 40 Redpolls arriving soon after audio players were put on. There was an initial rush but this was followed by a couple of rounds with no return for our efforts. There was a late flurry from the nets in the birches, but we'd all had enough by then so packed up early and were making out way back to the car park by 11.30am.

Totals: 17

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Goldcrest -   4 (1)
Coal Tit - 2
Great Tit - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 7 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Garden - 3 December 2012

We continue to do ad-hoc ringing in the garden, but it is predomently Blue or Great Tits that are caught. Recently we seem to be getting a fair number of re-traps, one being a Blue Tit V461478 on the 1st that was around 51/2 years old, having been ringed orginally on  23 June 2007. We are getting little in the way of Finches coming in, but have sighted at least one each single male and female Blackcap, but today we caught a 3 male with a weight of 21.6 with fat score of 3. At least if we see any unringed male now we'll know it is a different one.

Sunday, 2 December 2012

Stanwell Moor - 2 December 2012

We were joinedby MBR and we decided to try Stanwell since the wind was just about low enough. We started, hopeful as ever, that we'd get some Meadow Pipits and perhaps manage to connect with the Linnet flock. There was even the outside chance of Water Pipit.

There were some Meadow Pipits around in the first hour or so but these just sat on the nets, eyeing the audio boxes before leaving. The Linnets worked up and down the weedy bank edge but evaded the nets every time. The only Water Pipit seen was across the hedgerow, away from our area when C & M went to see the Short Eared Owls. Other species seen included Jack Snipe, Red Kite and Red-legged Partridge.
The catching was disappointing with only one Meadow Pipit caught, although a retrapped Sparrowhawk was interesting having been ringed over two years ago.

DE05142 6M ringed 18/09/2010

Totals: - 3
Sparrowhawk - 0 (1)
Green Woodpecker - 1
Meadow Pipit - 1

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Black Park Country Park - 1 December 2012

We arrived on site at 7am and it was only just becoming light. During set up we heard a few finches that appeared to have roosted in a large fir tree, but they left very quickly and it seemed that we had the park to ourselves. Even the dog walkers were absent until well after 8am. It was very misty, cold and beautiful but the birds just weren't about so I took some scenic shots, mainly to pass the time.

 The view across the heath

 Frozen, flooded ditch

Trees along the ditch 

Frosty leaf

Frosted bracken

Frost bordered holly

 We packed up by 11.30am, with only two birds to show for our efforts.

Totals: - 2

Goldcrest - 1
Lesser Redpoll -1