Sunday, 18 April 2021

Wraysbury GP - 18th April 2021

A very low wind day, perfect for netting at Wraysbury where the Whitethroats are starting to arrive. We caught 24 birds in all and were most pleased with an early Garden Warbler and a returning Blackcap.

Garden Warbler

Blackcap  APA1614 was ringed in 2019

Totals:   20 (4)

Wren - 1
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 0 (3)
Song Thrush - 1
Whitethroat - 1
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 13 (1)
Chiffchaff - 2

Stanwell Moor - 17th April 2021

Managed an early start for the first visit to Stanwell in a while. We put six nets up and progressed really rather slowly. We later discovered that this was in part due to a trespassing plane spotter that had tucked himself away in the main fly line through the monitoring area (despite the nets having been there when he arrived). Needless to say our catch was affected as nothing at all turned up in the hedge double from the time he said he'd arrived.

We had to be content with an unexpected capture from one of the other singles and a smattering of the usual species.

Pied Wagtail

We at least had a chance to try out the Magkoo, a project of mine from the 3rd lockdown designed to increase our chances of capturing Cuckoo once they arrive at Wraysbury. 

A plastic life sized Magpie painted into Cuckoo livery -
will Magkoo do the trick when Cuckoos arrive?

Total: 13 (5)

Pied Wagtail - 1
Wren - 1
Robin - 2
Dunnock - 1
Blackbird - 2
Blackcap - 3
Chiffchaff - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (2)
Blue Tit - 0 (2)
Great Tit - 0 (1)

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Hazeley Heath, Hampshire - 13th April 2021

Today we were invited to help TOA and NT at their Hazeley Heath feeder site where it was quite busy when they last worked the site. We ran a completely socially distanced session with separate ringing tables and although it wasn't quite as busy as their last session we had plenty to do.

Lesser Redpoll male

Siskin male

Thanks to Tim and Nancy for the chance for a near normal morning away from home ringing and to meet friends we've not seen for over a year now.

Totals: 92 (51)

Wren - 1
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Siskin - 11 (4)
Lesser Redpoll - 75 (46)
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Great Tit - 1 (1)

As we had never been to this place before we took a walk around to see what it's like.

We were spotted about the same time they saw us.

Fallow Deer stag with adornment on antlers

Friday, 2 April 2021

Broadwater GP - 31st March 2021

 After the first step towards returning to normal, non-distanced living on March 29th, we met with MRB and Margaret for ringing. We have all now had one dose of the vaccine, but we still followed the guidance to maintain distance and ran two separate ringing tables extracting from separate nets and using separate equipment.

We caught a few migrants as well as the predictable resident species. All in all not too bad a session.

Pair of peckers

Combined totals: 27 (13)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 0 (2)
Wren - 2
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 7 (1) 
Blackbird - 2 (1) 
Blackcap - 5
Chiffchaff - 3 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 3 (2)
Blue Tit - 1 (4)
Great Tit - 2 (1)
Treecreeper - 0 (1)
Jay - 1

Tuesday, 30 March 2021

Stanwell Moor - 30th March 2021

 It was great to do a regular ringing session at one of our core sites today. The warm weather felt extremely spring like and it was wonderful to see our first Swallow of the season also an Oystercatcher was another fly over.

We put up 6 nets to the sound of Chiffchaff singing all around. We also heard two Willow Warbler.

The morning was quite cold with a light frost so started early with a Blackbird and Song Thrush. Some migrants made their way into the nets, but the most frequently caught birds were Blackcap.

An early Willow Warbler

One of six male Blackcap captured 

We also observed that the Mute Swan 4ERB that had been on Staines Moor was on the River Colne that runs along the boundary of this site today.

Total: 16 (2)

Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Wren - 1 (1)
Robin - 1
Dunnock- 0 (1)
Blackcap - 6
Chiffchaff - 4
Willow Warbler - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 1

Water Pipit sightings - late March 2021

We were disappointed that none of the darvic marked birds from previous winters on Staines Moor do not appear to have returned, but there have been some other interesting reports of our birds.

The first resighting of any of this year's birds was on Staines Moor on the 8th of the month when 6A was seen on the same flash where we had caught and marked it on the 3rd.

Another ringed bird was reported from Staines Reservoir on the 27th. A partial ring number '132' was visible from the photo taken by Dave Carlssen. Chris and I ringed two Water Pipits in November 2016 that had these three digits at the centre of the ring number. We are unable to identify which bird, if indeed it is one of the two so no firm resighting can be recorded.

Then another image was taken on March 29th by Paul Lewis. This time the bird has a darvic and it is easily identifiable as 4A ringed 6th December 2020.

It's no surprise that the Water Pipits are leaving the moor to feed at the reservoir. It is usual for millions of flies to hatch out in the spring where ducks and gulls can be seen gorging on the insects as they emerge. Those that manage to take to the air will provide food for Swifts, Swallows and Martins later in the month.

Clouds of insects congregate along the causeway at Staines Reservoir

Fortunately these insects do not bite

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Staines Moor - 6th & 8th March 2021

Good weather conditions tempted us out twice in the space of three days. On the evening of the 6th we met up with the Diversity Officer of the site who is a trainee ringer (IS) who had come to observe. It was forecast to be cold too so we intended to put a few nets to a) potentially catch Water Pipits coming to roost, b) catch Snipe and Jack Snipe and c) catch Ducks and limit the session to 3 or 4 hours.

As usual the 'dark' was actually quite light illuminated by the close by airport lights. We confirmed that the Water Pipits were roosting in the area that we'd identified as probable but caught none. We had a little more luck with the Snipe taking three on the first round. The ducks came in from too high and apart from a Lapwing that came in at the wrong end of the flash it then became extremely quiet. Still, we hadn't tried this before and knew that we might have drawn a complete blank.

On the morning of the 8th we set for Water Pipits in a similar area. The Water Pipits seemed to have formed up into small groups and came into our target pool on four or five separate occasions. We managed to catch one new WATPI and a Reed Bunting. For the first time one of our previously marked birds was resighted, 6A was feeding around the drying edge of the pool expertly evading the nets as we so often see these birds do.

6A ring read in the field


06/03/21 Totals: 3
Snipe - 3

08/03/21 Totals: 2
Water Pipit - 1 (+ 1 resighting)
Reed Bunting - 1