Friday 31 December 2010

Garden 23 - 31 Dec 2010

Whilst I still suffered in true male style with the flu, Denise had a few brief sessions in the garden, either with a potter trap or a 20ft net which due to the cold weather was more or less watched constantly and birds removed straight away, though the snow went quite quickly and today was a balmy 9c. Siskins have come in small numbers, and whilst one capture on 30/12 was one of our previous years birds, X380147, a 4 male, previously rung on 7/3/2009 as a 5 male. The foreign ringed male did not put in an appearance.

Siskin - X380147
Totals were:

23th - Blackbird (1)

26th - Dunnock (1), Blackbird (1), Song Thrush (1), Great Tit (1), Goldfinch (5) and 2 re-traps.

27th - Dunnock (1), Robin (1), Song Thrush (1), Blue Tit (4), Great Tit (2), Coal Tit (1), Goldfinch (2), Siskin (2) and 3 re-traps, one a Blue Tit V461478 originally ringed on 23/6/2007 as a 3J.

29th - Goldfinch (1)

30th - Woodpigeon (1), Blue Tit (4), Long-tailed Tit (2), Goldfinch (4) and 3 re-traps, including the Siskin mentioned above.

31st - Blackbird (1), Blue Tit (2), Great Tit (1), Goldfinch (5), Greenfinch (1), Siskin (3) and 1 re-trap.

A wander around Thorney CP on the 26th produced a good sighting of a Bittern in thin reeds on the ice, a fly over Little Egret, a Buzzard moved around the trees by the lake and a drake Red-crested Pochard on one of two small open areas of water.


 Afterwards Denise took a wander around Hardings Row Nature reserve.

Monday 20 December 2010

Garden - 19 Dec 2010

Denise did a little in the garden for a short while, whilst I continue to suffer with the flu. She did not leave the net up for long as it usually inhibits visits to the garden, especially by the Finch species, which tend to avoid coming in once they notice it is up.

In her short session she caught:

Robin x 5
Blue Tit x3
Long-tailed Tit x 3
Greenfinch x 1

All birds despite the cold were of good am weights, Lotties being in the range 7.5 - 8.3.

Despite having rung 5 Robins we are still finding unrung birds coming in, so the weather has clearly pushed them into the garden but oddly apart from a slight increase in Blackbirds we are not getting any Redwing/Fieldfares, though two Reed Buntings on the neighbours fence was notable.

We are currently getting a solo male Siskin coming, which is rung, but the ring is a notable by it's rather shiny appearance and slightly larger size, suggesting it is not a BTO ring!

Saturday 18 December 2010

Garden - 18 Dec 2010

A few brief catches in the garden in between snow flurries mainly using a potter trap, feeding trap and a very short period using a mist net produced:

Blackbird x 2
Starling x 4
Pied Wagtail x 1
Blue Tit x 3
Great Tit x 1

Pied Wagtail - 3

There is a second, male Pied Wagtail coming into the garden which is ringed. We have only ever done two others, 1 and 2 years ago. Is it one of these? Which brings home the really value of re-traps or controls, and whilst it was good that we caught our second in the feeder trap, the rung bird would have been the real catch.

Having the flu, I have got out of keeping the feeders full and the ground well supplied of food.

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Stanwell Moor ringing site - 12 Dec 2010

Another day with the aim of targeting Meadow Pipits with a hope of possibly another Water Pipit, saw us at the site with Sam and Gavin from the RRG. The day was ideal, little or no window and a flock of 150 + Meadow Pipits on the mound, but alas they did not respond and we only had a catch of 10 birds, all Meadow Pipits, with 8 new birds and 2 re-traps, one of them interestingly a bird from September which we had assumed potentially at that time was a passage migrant as opposed to a bird having arrived for the winter, which through re-trapping has shown that it was not a migrant but a bird moving into a wintering area. The value of re-traps and controls, which provide the real data apparent from the breeding and population numbers that ringing new birds provides.

Other birds seen included 2 fly over Little Egrets, a fly over Water Pipit and a Jack Snipe which some how had avoided being flushed for a few hours in front of the nets, but as always manged to jink at the last minute over the net!

Meadow Pipit - 3, a grey cast individual

Monday 13 December 2010

Rainham Tip - 11 Dec 2010

A trip out with the North Thames Gull Group, this time to Rainham tip to target Lesser Black-backed Gulls. There was quite a large group ringers present, including three colleagues from the Runnymede RG, together with Malcolm Wilson from Africa, with Jez Blackbird being master of ceremonies for the day. A more compact refuse tip brought two quite successful catches, with a good number gulls being caught, including a number of the sought after Lessers, along with a single adult Yellow-legged Gull. Three Starlings were also caught feeding amongst the pile of left overs from the many black bin bags. Thankfully re-cycling is not as yet 100% successful! Totals for the day were:

Black-headed Gull                          210 plus 2 controls
Common Gull                          
Herring Gull                                  188 plus 2 controls and 1 re-trap
Lesser Black-backed Gull               54 plus 2 controls
Greater Black-backed Gull               5
Yellow-legged Gull                           1
Starling                                             3

Tip face and setting up

Catch taken

Common Gull - sub-adult

 Herring Gull - adult

Lesser Black-backed Gull - adult (above and below)

Yellow-legged Gull - adult (above & below)


Whilst some of us were at the tip, the Wraysbury team from the RRG had a session at Chobham Common and using a slightly different location managed an improved catch of around 40 Lesser Redpoll, with no Commons being caught this time. They did catch this leucistic individual.

Lesser Redpoll (Andrew Kingston)

Sunday 5 December 2010

Chobham Common - 5 Dec 2010

Back again for more punishment with Barnaby, Gavin and Sam from the ringing group. No easier to set up the second day running, just as wet and tiring trying to set nets up in a bog. Catch low again. Put on a Reed Bunting tape as there was a group of 10-20, and they flew off ??

Catch was:
Lesser Redpoll - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Coal Tit - 2
Reed Bunting - 1

Reed Buntuing - 3f

After packing up earlish at 12 we headed back home via Bracknell, just simply so we could miss seeing the Waxwings.

I dropped Denise off at home and headed off to the West London reservoirs to pick up some of this weekends birds. First stop was Wrasybury Res that produced 3 Great Northern Divers, single Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes, 5 Goosander and a Peregrine and then off to Queen Mary Res for the Black-throated Diver, returning home even more knackered.

Saturday 4 December 2010

Chobham Common - 4 Dec 2010

A visit with Denise on our own. The aim was Redpolls, the group on two previous visits has done 100+ on each visit and a total of 11 Common Redpolls. It was thawing quickly and the ringing area being on the edge of a bog, was boggier than ever and really knackering to work in. Got totally soaked through. Unfortunately birds were slow - 4, but there was on group of 60 Redpolls that came in, odd groups of 10 or so and small groups of 3-5. A group of 20 or so Reed Buntings feeding in the area and also possibly heard a Dartford - sound like one, though it was over the other side of the valley so may have been hallucinating. Of the 4 birds caught 3 were Redpolls and the first extract was a Common, which bearing in mind the number caught was quite impressive.

Common Redpoll - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 2
Blue Tit - 1

Common Redpoll - 3 (and two below)

Lesser Redpoll - 3 (and below for comparison)