Sunday 30 January 2011

North Norfolk - 30 Jan 2011

Today was the ringing bit - a visit to Hempton Marsh with Gary Elton. The aim was hopefully to get some Marsh/Willow Tit experience, apart from seeing two in the field none were caught.

The catch was:

Blue Tit (22), Great Tit (15), Long-tailed Tit (1), Dunnock (1), Siskin (1), Chaffinch (4), Bullfinch (2) and 23 re-traps.

Bullfinch - 5

Great Tit - 5

Muntjac - no idea, cleaning up under the feeders

PM we took a walk around the nearby Sculthorpe Moor Hawk & Owl Trust reserve, with a good healthy population of Marsh Tits. the reserve has a number of feeding stations and provided one with a Water Rail and a couple of Brambling.

Sculthorpe Moor

North Norfolk - 29 Jan 2011

A weekend visit to North Norfolk, 50/50 birding and ringing, utilising the Premier Inn at Kings Lynn, found us on the Saturday initially visiting Holkham Bay. The first surprise was the new parking machines in Lady's Ann Drive and the fees. How sad even visiting the countryside has the commercial cost of visiting a High Street or station car park. But then the High Street would not have had the White-fronts and Pink-foots alongside the track.

Holkham bay

Just out there, within the dunes were 7 Shore Larks and 5 Snow Buntings. Then off to the Holkham tea shop for breakfast!

Next drop in was Burnham Overy which  provided the first sighting in some years of Rough-legged Buzzard with 2, eventually seen nicely over the nearby wood, with a bit of inter-action between the two birds. 4 Barn Owls were quartering the fields. By the end of the day 7 were seen out in the middle of the day.

Burnham Overy fields with Holkham Meals (west) behind

Injured Brent Goose - leg injury 

Next call - via the cafe in Brancaster was a short visit toThornham for the Northern Harrier, which was not in sight, so we tried Titchwell, and as we walked down the track, a Woodcock went over and once we were looking over the open fields towards Thornham the Harrier was quartering the fields and seen a couple of times during the two or so hours at Titchwell. The sea held what was probably nearly 2000 Scoter of which one Velvet was picked up in flight. Otherwise the sea was relatively quiet and the Twite were not evident during our visit.


Sunday 23 January 2011

Pitsea tip - 22 Jan 2011

The first real serious ringing attempt for 2011 and a trip out with the North Thames Gull Group to Pitsea tip. There was quite a decent number of ringers present with Jez Blackbird being master of ceremonies again for the day. The household refuse was already waiting for us and after a run over by the compactor we managed two good catches, the first mainly of small gulls, the second with more bigger gulls, with a good number of Greater Black-backed Gulls. Also on the second catch at various times two adult Mediterranean Gulls were in the catching area, but at firing only the adult with a virtually full hood was in the area, but it managed to move off too quickly and avoided capture.Totals for the day were:

Black-headed Gull                         490 plus 6 controls and t re-trap
Common Gull                          
Herring Gull                                 75
Greater-black Backed Gull 23 plus 1 control

Polish rung adult Black-headed Gull

Biometric taking - Greater Black-backed Gull

 2nd winter Norwegian rung Greater-black Backed Gull

Sunday 16 January 2011

Birding - 16 Jan 2011

After returning from a drop off at Gatwick we made a brief visit to Homebase in Brentford, West London in an attempt to see our firist 2011 Waxwings. After a while a single turned up and eventually made it's way onto the berries feeding with a few Redwings that were moving around in the bush. Something spooked it and it flew off, quickly followed by about another 20, that came right out of the middle of the bush in a tight flock and that must have been roosting up, very well hidden. They disappeared over the roofs of the adjacent houses so we left it at that and as is the norm at the moment returned home to hide from the wind, the later rain and usual dull day.

Iver Heath Garden - 9 Jan 2011

Due to the weather and the remnants of the flu refusing to clear no ringing has been done, but today the first Brambling, a male, seen this winter in the garden, put in a brief appearance and refused to come down onto the ground or on the feeders before moving on quickly.

Wednesday 5 January 2011

West London reservoirs - 3 Jan 2011

I took a run around some of the West London reservoirs to get a few extra birds for the start of the year, with Wraysbury Res holding at least one Great Northern Diver and a female Red-breasted Merganser. A tour around the Wraysbury GP complex produced 12 Smew (2 drakes). Staines Res the Velvet Scoter, another female Smew and 9 still surviving Ruddy Ducks.

Denise had a brief session in the garden whilst I was out and had:

Blackbird x 1
Goldfinch x 5
Siskin x 1
Great Tit x 1
Blue Tit x 1
plus 1 re-trap

Stanwell Moor ringing - 2 Jan 2011

A few hours only produced 3 new Reed Buntings (all colour ringed) and a Dunnock, plus a re-trap Wren. No Meadow Pipits apart from an odd two were present, again the cold weather presumably having moved the large flock on. We did, frustratingly have two Water Pipits immediately in front of the net, bathing, but by the time the ID was confirmed, before we could manage a small flush they flow off along the line of the net and away to the adjacent fields near the reservoir.

Birding - 1 Jan 2011

Just a brief ramble around, first of all to Chobham Common, which proved on the north side of the M3 to be particularly devoid of birds after the cold spell.

 Silver Birch stand - Chobham Common

Followed by a visit to Dorney Wetlands produced a female Goosander and immature drake Smew, a male and 2 female Red-crested Pochards, but no sign of any Bittern or Bearded Tits.

Immature drake Smew

Mute Swan