Tuesday 31 May 2011

Gwenffrwd - 30 May 2011

Unfortunately another wet damp start to the day, that fortunately later followed Saturdays pattern and cleared early afternoon allowing us another chance to get out today on some of the higher boxes in the Gwenffrwd Valley. It was rather damp under foot and with all the rain unsteady underfoot as the earth was prone to giving away and Denise returned slightly worse for wear having slipped over a few times. The total for the afternoon was:

Pied Flycatcher: adult 4: pulli - 59, re-traps - 5.
Great Tit: pulli - 8.

We also managed to find a Wood Warbler nest, but unknown to us the project team had been there already and had ringed/colour ringed them, plus we also found a Willow Warbler nest, but the young were too small to ring.

Nuthatch - pulli

Monday 30 May 2011

Mid Wales - 29 May 2011

Another wet morning and looking as if it is in for the day and therefore there would be no nest box visits today. We decided to head over the hill past Llyn Brianne down to the next valley in the hope the rain would lift slightly, enough to go for a walk in some of the woodland area offering some form of cover.

A walk along Pwll Bo (Cwm Ifron) following the Ifron produced Common Sandpiper, three Dippers (one juvenile), Redstart and four singing Wood Warblers.

Ifron river


We then had a look at Abergwesyn Common on the route back with a couple of Common Sandpiper on the Ifron, Red Kite, Buzzard and Raven over the hills, with Tree Pipit and Redstart, and in the open areas a lot of Meadow Pipit, along with Wheatear and a single Whinchat (seen only by Denise).

Abergwesyn Common

Sunday 29 May 2011

Gwenffrwd - 28 May 2011

A few days in mid Wales with Mike Reed assisting with his hard efforts ringing numerous Pied Flycatcher pulli from the many long term nest box project was met with rain - oddly enough exactly as it had been the year before.


We therefore decided to have a run up to the goldmines at Dolaucothi hoping that the weather would clear later. In the area adjacent to the mine entrance was a singing Wood Warbler, a family part of newly fledged Marsh Tits and a pair of Spotted Flycatchers.

By mid afternoon things had improved and we did get out around two with Mike for a few hours in the Gwenffrwd Valley.

Road up to Dinas

Pied Flycatcher nest in a box

pulli being ringed

adult male

Totals for the afternoon were:

Pied Flycatcher: adult - 3, pulli - 55, re-traps (adult) - 13.
Blue Tit: pulli - 6.

During our walk around the nest boxes we also saw Red Kite, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Wood Warbler and Raven.

Thursday 26 May 2011

Pitstone, Little Linford Wood and Wicken Wood - 25 May 2011

Another butterfly trip - on the only potentially decent day this week, especially with the forecast for Thursday and Friday.

On route another stop at the old quarry at Pitstone to see Small Blues again, with a single Green Hairstreak and a few Common Blues.

Common Blue - female

Green Hairstreak

Small Blue

Small Blue

Then off to BBOWNT Little Linford Wood reserve - a charming wood, but sadly on the wrong side of Milton Keynes, being reached after an irritating drove through the town where it seemed that they had taken a war time approached and removed half of the major road signs leaving you frequently unclear which road off the many roundabouts you needed to take! Sadly the wood was also Wood White less, either due to the fact they had not come out there as yet or possible due to the fact they are now absent? A Buzzard was flushed off the floor in a newly coppiced area. A few Speckled Wood, Green-veined White and a single Orange Tip was it for the visit.

Then a visit across to Wicken Wood on the Bucks/Northants boarder and from the car park Wood Whites were in evidence, and after walking along the track at least 20, possibly 30 were seen, at what is clearly a good site, potentially privately owned but being maintained in a Wood White friendly manner. A few Common Blues and Green-veined Whites on show.

Wood Whites

Stanwell Moor ringing site - 24 May 2011

Another visit with Sam on a windy evening put any chances of any Hirundine catches low and also it kept them away from the site, so there were few about in any event. Fairly slow evening, with the following totals:

Reed Warbler - 3 (1)
Sedge warbler - 1
Blue Tit - 2

The retrap Reed was the fifth this spring that was first rung in 2009, all of which were not re-trapped during 2010.

Garden - 16 to 21 May 2011

I continued with the 20 foot net, not that there are any other options as nothing else will fit other than the 16 foot one! Main aim was to continue to catch some of the family groups of Starlings. The food being put out started to bring the local Fox into the garden in the middle of the afternoon. Catches over these days were as follows:

16 - Starling 4 (2 juvs)
18 - Starling 3
19 - Single Robin and Goldfinch
20 - Single Great Tit, Starling 2 and Greenfinch 2
21 - Starling 3 (2 juvs)

Stanwell Moor ringing site - 20 May 2011

Another evening visit to Stanwell with Daniel in the hoping of catching a few House Martins. Unfortunately the site is very prone to be effected on any wind breezy days with the exception of the nets in the reed/willow carr area. There was also a big flock of adult and juveniles feeding in one of the fields when we arrived, but as always, setting up when the birds are already there tends to cause them to move where the net is no longer located, but fortunately for Daniel we managed to catch one adult and one juvenile, as it was a new bird for him and despite the breeze also managed a House Martin, another new bird for him. Evenings totals:

Green Woodpecker 1
House Martin 1
Dunnock (1)
Robin 1
Sedge Warbler (1)
Reed Warbler 1 (1)
Garden Warbler 1
Blue Tit 1
Starling 2

Green Woodpecker - adult male

Bentley Wood and Martin Down - 19 May 2011

A butterflying day at fine woodland site in Wilts and a quick visit to Martin Down on a warm sunny day.

Bentley Wood was it usual grand self with numerous Small Pearl-boarded Fritillaries on the wing, with a few remaining Pearl-boarded Fritillaries, some a little worn, along with a few Grizzled Skippers and a single fresh looking Duke of Burgandy. A few other common butterflies but species for the day were a little limited, and unfortunately despite the warm weather no early Marsh Fritillaries.

Small Pearl-boarded Fritillaries

Pearl-boarded Fritillary

 Duke of Burgandy

Martin Down again was Marsh Fritillary less despite someone indicating that they had seen half a dozen the previous day and then some suggesting they were no longer at the site anymore? In any event a good selection of species were seen, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Adonis, Small and Common Blues, Brown Argus, Green Hairstreak, Small Heath and quite a few Brimstone. Plus two Turtles Doves flow over. This was the first visit to the site as opposed to go past heading further west. A big area to get to grips with on a first visit. It is never easy working a big area not knowing the most productive area, leads to a lot of walking exploring.

Small Blue

Green Hairstreak
Grizzled Skipper

Adonis Blue

Brown Argus

Sunday 15 May 2011

Hilfield Park Res 15 May 2011

Denise and I joined the Maple Cross half of our RG today, mainly to catch up with a few people we had not seen for a while. The wind was blowing quite strongly, and cold from the NW, making the conditions less than ideal, leaving the ten people there with not much to do, with only three new birds and 14 re-traps for the CES session, despite 10 + nets rides in action. Swifts were feeding very low over the water and at times low over the adjacent land and attempts to flick them were made with eventually just one being caught, resulting in the first time Chris had experience of one in the hand.

In total the three new birds were Swift, Garden Warbler and Whitethroat.

Swift - 6

Garden - 13 to 15 May 2011

To fill in some spare time the usual short 20 has been set up in the garden, not there is much coming in at this time of year, a few Greenfinches using the sunflower hearts and the odd Starling, which is likely to increase once the young are out of the local nests. We have a pair of Blue Tits using the only nest box in the garden that usually avoid coming across the open area, usually sticking to the hegde line along the back of the garden, but on 14th both the male and female were caught, both already ringed, the female being one of our juveniles from last year, ringed on 17/7/10 as a 3J and the male first ringed on 21/9/08 as a 3J. A couple of Woodpigeons have been coming in and out of the garden bearing rings which probably are 100% gauranted to be ours, and on the 15th one was read through a scope having been rung on 20/7/09 as a 4 by us.

Totals (new) for the three days are:
13 - Collared Dove
14 - Starling x 2 and 4 other species re-traps
15 - Starling x 2 (one being the first 3J of the year) and Greenfinch x 2

Starling - adult

Holly Blue - male

Friday 13 May 2011

Black and Langley Parks - 12 May 2011

A visit with Sam and Bill from RRG to Black Park in the hope of catching a few ducks, armed with three packs of Tesco value bread, sadly proved unsuccessful as they obviously have had net avoidance training. Despite the previous visit when they readily came out onto the bank around us whilst being fed, they would not come out anywhere near any of us standing there holding a net. Shame. So a move onto Langley Park in an effort to catch some of the Jackdaws that feed along the access road from the many breeding pairs in the vicinity. Despite being windy we were successful and unsuccessful in that we caught two, allowing Bill and Sam to ring their first, but we also lost five out of the nets before anyone could get to them, possibly due to the wind making the nets a little to tense and assisting escape. A quick try at the lake in Langley Park almost led to an Egyptian Goose being caught but it was quicker than the net swinger and the second attempt resulting in Sam getting a clout, so we gave up.

Jackdaw - female

Stanwell Moor ringing site - 10 May 2011

Another evening visit with Gavin was quite successful producing a control Reed Warbler X816098 and unusually four House Martins, one of which was a re-trap of a bird first rung in 2009. This is notable in that we have only done 21 at the site where 100+ are often present, so the chances of re-trap were pretty low.

The evening new bird total was:

Blackbird, House Martin (3), Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Sedge Warbler, Song Thrush (2), Reed Warbler (2) and Whitethroat (4).

3j - Pied Wagtail

Control - Reed Warbler

Linnet - female

House Martin

The Holies - 10 May 2011

Another butterfly visit, this time to the National Trust 'The Holies' site at Goring. Despite being slightly overcast, periods of bright sunshine brought the butterflies out and several Common Blue were on the wing, along with Brown Argus, Dingy Skipper and a few remaining Grizzled Skippers, but alas no Adonis Blue despite reports that they were on the wing a few days previously.

Common Blue

Grizzled and Dingy Skippers

A quick visit to Staines Reservoir on the way back only produced the still resident Great Northern Diver on what was otherwise a quiet reservoir migrant wise.

Ivinghoe Beacon and Pitstone - 9 May 2011

Warm and sunny(ish) -time for a pleasant walk around the Chilterns to look primarily for butterflies.

First, Ivinghoe Beacon, just as it began to get sunnier and warmer bringing out a good selection of butterflies with a reasonable number of Duke of Burgandys still present, some looking fairly fresh, including one ab.leucodes, a lot of Small Heaths, with quite a few Dingy Skippers and Green Hairstreaks, with a few Grizzled Skippers and newly emerged Brown Argus and Common Blues.

Duke of Burgandy

Duke of Burgandy  ab.leucodes

Dingy Skipper

 Brown Argus

A quick visit to Pitstone Hill revealed little except a lot of fresh Small Heaths and a single Brimstone and Green Hairstreak.

Green Hairstreak


A visit to the old chalk pit at Pitstone produced a large number of Small Blues, some coming down in a small patch of wet soil right next to the entrance gate and included one 50% smaller than all the other Small Blues present.

Small Blues

Small Blues - including small individual about 50% smaller than normal

Visits to College Lake and Wilstone reservoir afterwards, produced nothing out of the norm birdwise although there were three Hobbies hawking over College Lake giving some good close views.

College Lake

Wilstone Reservoir

Sunday 8 May 2011

Wraysbury GP ringing session - 7 May 2011

We joined the RRG for a session at Wraysbury. The day started under much hesitation. The person with the key to the gate was in bed when they got the call "Where are you?". Rain fell and cleared, but looked as if it would come back again heavier, the forecast was not good, but we persevered and though was a little slow setting up, got through the rest of the session and got CES done. Re-trap and new birds more or less kept level pegging and we had the following new birds Green Woodpecker, Dunnock, Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat (3), Whitethroat (5), Garden Warbler, Blackcap (2), Long-tailed Tit (2), and single Blue and Great Tits.

Site records were Little Egret (which suggest they probably are breeding in the nearby heronry), two Buzzards, three Hobbies and a Cuckoo.

Black and Langley Parks - 6 May 2011

A visit around the park mid week is always pleasant, so leapt on the bike and had a ride around. We had tried mid winter to catch duck through bank side feeding without any luck of even getting them near the bank, today a mum and her child not only got them to the bank but had them on the path - plan hatched, a re-visit planned with net and rings! Eight male Mandarin seen and at Langley Park there was a pair of Egyptian Geese with 3 goslings.

 Male Mandarin

Male Orange Tip