Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Chobham Common - 23 March 2015

Yet another day when there wasn't quite enough sun, there was too strong a wind and unwelcome cloud. Our roving session resulted in no more than a single Wren, just like our last visit on  the 17th and this was in spite of seeing at least seven Dartford Warblers that , in the main, would not react to our tape. During our wanders today we saw a good few Stonechat, at least three Buzzards and some Red Kite. There was no sign of Woodlark.

We met briefly with the static net team, who with considerably more than a single net could still manage no more than a single Reed Bunting.

Total: 1

Wren - 1

Broadwater - 19 March 2015

A rather inderwhelming morning that saw CL, MRB and Margaret packing up before 11.00am. Nothing too exciting although five Chiff-chaffs brought some hope that catching was finally beginning to improve.


Totals: 7 (4)

Song Thrush - 1
Chiff-chaff - 5
Goldcrest - 0 (1)
Blue Tit - 1 (1)
Great Tit - 0 (2)

Chobham Common - 17 March 2015

A late morning start with EP, on a slightly dull chilly day, which did produced a few sightings of Dartford's, but unfrotunately they were not overly responsive as they tend not to be on dull chilly or breezy days. Our roving session resulted in just a single Wren.

Total: 1
Wren - 1

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Bletchingley - 14 March 2015

We can always rely on a decent catch when we visit our friends, Ralph and Pat, and net birds around their feeders.

Being a bit windier than we would have liked, we only put up three nets and they totalled 90 feet of coverage.  As usual, there was a steady stream of birds making a nice change to what we have come to expect from Winter mist netting locally, this year.

One of several Goldfinches caught

We always capture a lot of tits, but today was the first time that we got a Marsh Tit.

5F Marsh Tit

Among the Great Tits was this individual with discoloured plumage. The feathers showed more than usual wear and breakage

 Great Tit 

 5F Jay 

 Collared Dove

After six hours we left the birds to their feeding and retired to The Bletchingly Arms for a good feed ourselves. Thanks again to Pat and Ralph for free rein of their garden, bacon rolls, tea and coffee.

Totals: 76 (7)

Collared Dove - 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Wren - 1
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 3
Blackbird - 4 (1)
Blue Tit - 21 (4)
Great Tit - 29 (2)
Marsh Tit - 1
Jay - 1
Chaffinch - 3
Goldfinch - 7

Monday, 9 March 2015

Chobham Common - 9 March 2015

Having planned to do Broadwater today, it seemed that once again the weather forecast was wrong and there may be  a chance to get some ringing in, at a slightly more exposed site, before the wind got up. So we switched to Chobham, after all we weren't expecting much at Broadwater anyway with only seven captures last time.

We put in just over three hours in which time, in spite of the weather deteriorating very quickly, we saw several Stonechats, two Wood Lark and about 6 Dartford Warblers of which two were captured. We have all necessary endorsements.

The first Dartford Warbler of 2015

We continue to log GPS coordinates, for all species of interest, for the Surrey Wildlife Trust.

Totals: 2
Dartford Warbler - 2

Friday, 6 March 2015

West London Mute Swans - 6 March 2015

The plan for today was to join up with MR who runs a colour-ringing project on Mute Swans in the Colne Valley and also rings up through the Home Counties into East Anglia. We have known each other for some years now and have been in liaison over the recent months as we have been recording Swans, ringed under his scheme, at Rickmansworth and the River Thames.

 Cob, Little Britain Lake

Black Park, Langley Park and Little Britain Lake were all on the itinery but by the time all three sites had been visited we had only captured and colour-ringed the cob from Little Britain Lake.

 4BNK is fitted

The pen was too nervous to approach after her mate was captured, but there's a chance for another day.

  A beautiful day at Black Park

The water birds at Black Park are always very wary. They are used to dogs jumping in the lake and keep their distance. Today, they were having none of it.

We moved on to the Thames at Staines, unfortunately outside the colour-ringing project, but still within the area where MR rings swans.

Swan whisperer at work

We had plenty of bread, rings and time. A few hours later and we had processed quite a few!

 Processing a well grown cygnet

Totals: 39 (3) & 2 darvics read in the field
 1 metal and colour ring fitted at Little Britain Lake
38 metal rings fitted at Staines
3 re-trapped at Staines
2 colour rings read at Staines 4AJG & J3Y

Broadwater - 5 March 2015

This visit was first and foremost for the purpose of fixing ties, hammering in some pegs and shifting concrete blocks into convenient positions for erecting nets, with a view to running a trial CES this season.

This site is a disused gravel and cement workings. Getting pegs in is a nightmare and for one reason or another equipment left in situ tends to get tampered with. Sometimes things have been moved but we also suspect that rabbits nibble ties at the base of buddleia bushes.

We had a few nets up but failed to get much although a Chiffchaff was good.

Total: 4 (3)

Robin - 1
Dunnock 0 (2)
Blackbird - 2
Chiff-chaff - 1
Great Tit - 0 (1)

Monday, 2 March 2015

River Thames, Windsor - 2 March 2015

With this being the fourth day in a row with the wind just too stong for mist netting at our sites, we took ourselves down to the river for a spot of feeding the ducks. This being the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, the takers are a tad more regal than your everyday Mallard and as usual most of the birds attracted were Mute Swans. This allows us to read a few rings.

There weren't too many darvic-ringed birds, and most that we saw had been recorded on earlier visits this winter, so we were pleased to get a few extras by reading the metal rings.

Some rings have been put on with the number facing inwards. 
This ring was only viewable with the aid of the camera. 

Gathering for a feed

Unless a bird can be tempted out of the water there is no chance of getting a ring number.

Some birds were clearly paired up and although I didn't capture it, engaged in synchronised head dipping in between feeding on the bank.

So it's just as well that we know a few spots where they come out, although you have to be careful they don't snatch the bag of food from your hand!

So far all the Swans are ringed locally, apart from four from The Colne Valley area, and the one from the Winchester area, which are still present, although it is possible the birds were released here by the local Swan Rescue centre, rather than getting here 100% under their own steam.