Friday, 22 February 2013

Beaconsfield Motorway Services – 19 February 2013

We were joined by PD, MRB, MB and LH to give it another try, if only to confirm that the birds have now changed where they roost and monitoring is becoming less productive. We were met with a huge lorry parked along the catching line so were only able to put a 60’ in, along with two three panels on the opposite side of the coach park. The numbers on the roof were building up nicely when a sizable group, as seen previously, headed off in the direction of some quite substantial conifers close to the services entrance. Those birds left milled about on the tarmac, but were very aware of the net and only 2 (both 5F) were caught. The bonus to ringing here is that Starbucks is so convenient and we all enjoyed a hot beverage before heading home.

Black Park – 16 February 2013

We arranged to make a visit after dark to look for Woodcock in the heather covered areas of the park where birds have been flushed. As it turned out we caught nothing except deer in the flash lights, but this was understandable as the park had recently undergone more maintenance to encourage renewal, regrowth and expansion of heathland plant species.

Stanwell Moor - 16 February 2013

On arriving at the site we found that there had been much heavy plant activity on the rear access road. Parts of the road had been in-filled with bricks and although suitable for heavy vehicles, the track was now more difficult to negotiate. Note to selves – next car needs to be a 4x4!  There was a great deal of surface water all over the site and the River Colne was running at the highest we had ever seen it.

The Colne - close to spilling over its banks.

We were excited to hear the familiar trilling of Waxwing just across the river, but the 9 birds were busy feeding and did not stray in our direction during the session having departed on our eventual return to the vehicle. Rather than risk serious damage to the car we transported the kit to the fallow field with the aid of the golf trolley in two trips.

The pool, newly replete from yet more recent rain was spilling onto previously dry areas, spreading yet further across the grasses. We decided to try for Water Pipit since a maximum count on the adjacent Staines Moor had totalled 8. There were also several Skylark. Initially the Linnet flock was nowhere in evidence, but they eventually appeared, again feeding along the weedy bank. We set up a single in addition to a double 60 at the closest end of the access track.

The seemingly ever expanding pool.

Double along the muddly track and weedy bank
where all the birds were caught.

For all our efforts we only managed to catch 5 birds.

After taking down we checked out some of the other areas where we ring, to find the reed bed even deeper under water which will make maintenance (particularly bring the height of the willows down) very awkward. The Spit bordered by bramble (always so promising in autumn) looks as though trimming back need only be minimal but the rest of the access track looks rougher than before and it may not be advisable to take the car all the way round. During the reconnaissance we were treated to another view of a Bittern.

Total: 3 (2)

Dunnock - 0 (1)
Goldcrest – 1
Long-tailed – 2 (1)

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Beaconsfield Motorway Services - 15 February 2013

We decidied to give the Wagtail roost another try and were pleased to see that the coach park was relatively clear close to the roost trees. Initially, there was some wandering around the parking area but the Pied Wagtails soon disappeared towards the petrol station and things were looking pretty bleak as they congregated on the roof. We managed only 4 birds of which 50% were a bi-catch of Robins. There seemed to be fewer wagtails and we believe the roost has shifted to some conifers close to the services entrance.

Broadwater GP - 15 February 2013

We were joined by ESA and RMA for an outing to Broadwater. The site hasn't been worked since last May so weren't sure whether there would be anything around. We are certainly finding a dearth of birds at most of our regular sites.

We started with a flurry of Long-tailed Tits,including retraps EBN019 & EBN020 that were first caught together on 22/09/2011. A total of 34birds were processed but nothing that we couldn't have got in our garden, if the birds were visiting the feeding station that is. It was good to have Red Kite and Buzzard over.

Wren - 2
Dunnock - 2
Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest - 4
Blue Tit - 4 (1)
Great Tit - 4
Long-tailed Tit- 13 (3)

Saturday, 9 February 2013

Wraysbury - 9 February 2013

A few weeks ago CL noticed that many of the dogrose bushes at Wraysbury had a decent crop of rosehips so we've waited for some harsh weather but that doesn't seem to be happening now so we decided to give the area a try for winter thrushes today, and at the same time try out our new ringing trolley.

Our newly acquired and adapted all terrain vehicle.

For starters there was drizzle, right from the very start, but unperturbed we continued and hauled the kit over to the identified area. We had thought that Waxwing might be an outside possibility but there was no evidence of such exotic visitors and even the Redwings and Fieldfare were elsewhere, probably ground feeding on open grassy areas nearby as the earth was so soft and waterlogged.

The site of a favoured 40/60/60 dog-leg, never normally damp.
Although the rosehips had clearly taken a hammering over the passed few weeks the birds had alternative options today and we only caught 3 birds.

Chris and the trolley, coping well with the mud.

 Too much surface water for our liking.

Open areas created by resident ponies.
 Negotiating the mire. 

Itinerate ponies

Totals: 2 (1)

Dunnock - 1(1)
Blue Tit - 1

Beaconsfield Motorway Services - 8 February 2013

We decided to try the services again, as the wind wasn't too strong, and were joined by LH who hoped to gain her first experience of Pied Wagtails. As we pulled into the car park it didn't look good as there was an awful lot of  activity, added to the arctic, in the coach park, across 50% of the area where we needed to site the double 60'. We set up knowing that conditions were not ideal and even 'though we managed to keep vehicles away from the nets (including the two nice Muslim gentlemen who agreed to move for prayers) we were only able to catch nine birds although two were our first retraps.


Pied Wagtail - 7(2)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Black Park Country Park - 8 February 2013

We went along for our monthly visit, expecting to have an extremely quiet session after so few birds seen and caught (3) on our January outing to the site. As it turned out we were absolutely right with a catch of just two retrapped Robins and a new Treecreeper. There were few finches about and other sightings comprised of a Pheasant, GreenWoodpecker and a few tits.

We were surprised to find that some birches lining the ditch had been taken out. Hopefully this will not be detrimental to the Willow Warblers that breed in the immediate vicinity.

This used to be a tree lined ditch. It'll be a while before we site a 60' along here again.

Treecreeper - Aged 4 (of course)

Clear skies bring frost and ice but very few birds.

Totals 1 (2) :
Robin - 0 (2)
Treecreeper - 1

Friday, 1 February 2013

Beaconsfield Motorway Services - 1 February 2013

A swift look at the weather forecast forced us to change our plans as the calm conditions expected on Saturday evening appeared to be arriving early. With only 4 hours notice, there wasn't time to assemble a large team but MRB, being of a like mind, was just about to text and ask if we intended to go to the services when he got our call.

We were rather early for dusk - it was the first clear evening for a while, but the nets were up in good time and just as well as the number of birds present had definitely increased. There was a lot of loafing about in the coach park and many birds skimmed over or did an about turn on approaching the nets. We had a reasonable catch but still no retraps. Today's session brings the grand total for the
site to 77 birds.

5F showing OGCs

Bird with deformed upper mandible

Processing the birds in the car park

The roost trees ( Holme oaks)


Pied Wagtail - 31