Wednesday 29 February 2012

Iver Heath Garden - 29 February 2012

The Siskin run seems to be over or in a distinct lull at present, but I fancied lowering the net before work anyway and got no more than a retrapped Blue Tit X905064 (first done on 15th January in 2010 as a 5).

The monthly totals for the garden are as follows:

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 0 (1)
Dunnock - 0 (2)
Robin - 4 (3)
Blackbird - 2
Blackcap - 3
Goldcrest - 0 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 2 (4)
Blue Tit - 6 (16)
Great Tit - 0 (3)
Starling - 2
Greenfinch - 4
Goldfinch - 23 (8)
Siskin - 103 (21)
Lesser Redpoll - 12

Tuesday 28 February 2012

Queen Mother Res - 28 February 2012

An end of day visit to watch the gulls come in, trying for any white-winged Gulls, was again unsuccessful, at least from the point of finding any, which does not mean there were not any. Nothing else much to be seen apart from the two Great Northern Divers that have been around for a few days.

Stanwell Moor - 26 February 2012

Clear skies overnight and a forecast drop in temperatures tempted us in to the field for a second ocassion this weekend. We were joined by GDB and targetted the linnets feeding in the field by the access road.The long term future of this particular part of the site is unknown as marker posts have now appeared in preparation for the planned crushing plant. It is not yet clear whether any part of what is currently a mixture of self seeded oilseed rape and decaying cabbages will escape the bricks and concrete.
We tried a combination of full height and double panel nets, having no whoosh net ( or appropriate licence endorsement) that would have been our method of choice. A couple of doubles and an odd single were also strategically placed but the bright sunlight made nets very obvious, a fact evident from the low total catch.

Linnets - 5 male and 6 female (and below)

Blackbird - 6 male

Total - 8(1)

Dunnock - 0 (1)
Blackbird - 3
Long Tailed Tit - 1
Linnet - 3

Black Park Country Park - 25 February 2012

After our last session at this location, when our efforts were impeded by the presence of so many dogs and their owners on their Monday morning walkies, we decided to go back to the heathland area and try our luck there. Reports of possible Dartford Warbler being heard influenced our decision to set up double panels in the middle of the open area, and with assistance from EP we also erected our usual nets adjacent to ditches favoured as drinking areas.

We had begun to catch Lesser Redpoll in the 40 foot net closest to the pool before all nets were up. This was most pleasing since the roving finch flocks had not been particularly noticeable as we set up. As the morning drew on we continued to catch Redpoll which was just as well since other species can few and far between. Retrapped LESRE Y334797, a 5F, had been ringed on 12/02/12 at our garden site approximately 3Km away.

In the late morning a pair of Red Kite were seen displaying overhead as were four Buzzards.

Lesser Redpoll trio

Siskin - 6 male

 Goldcrest - 6 male

 Heathland after Silver Birch clearance

Totals - 38 (1)

Goldcrest - 1
Great Tit - 2
Long Tailed Tit - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 33 (1)
Siskin - 1

Sunday 19 February 2012

Broadwater GP - 19 February 2012

Today we joined our colleagues from Maple Cross RG at Broadwater GP, with eight, plus D and myself being present for what could be described as a quiet day, which apart from two pairs of Bullfinches at the start, it did not pick up, ending with only16 new birds and 14 re-traps.

Bullfinch - 5 male

Totals: 16 (14)

Wren -1
Dunnock - 2
Robin -2 (1)
Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest -1 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 3 (9)
Blue Tit - 2 (1)
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Bullfinch - 3 (1)

Retuning home later we had a brief session at home again, adding more Siskin to this late winter's total of 93 new birds, 15 re-traps and one control. We also managed a control adult Goldfinch, Y509643.

Totals: 4 (5)

Long-tailed Tit - 0 (1)
Blue Tit - 0 (2)
Siskin - 2 (1)
Goldfinch - 2 (1)

Tring area - 18 February 2012

As I had an OSME trustee meeting at Tring I decided afterwards to go Bittern hunting again and retrace some steps taken on the 13th, with a revisit to Marsworth reservoir, which about 4.50pm produced a Bittern, with one coming out in full view in the SE corner, which then flew the whole length of the reservoir landing at the northern end. Afterwards I tried Weston Turville reservoir again to see if I could pick any up roosting here, but only managed this time two Little Egrets coming in late.

Whilst I was up at Tring D did some casual ringing at home and managed to retrap a four year old Great Spotted Woodpecker, with her total being fifteen, of which seven were re-traps.

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 6 female

inflicting pain

Totals: 9 (7)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 0 (1)
Goldcrest -1
Blue Tit - 2 (2)
Lesser Redpoll -1
Siskin - 4 (1)
Goldfinch - 1 (3)

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Tring area - 13 February 2012

In the afternoon we did a quick trip up to Tring visiting Startops End and Marsworth reservoirs and nearby Weston Turville reservoir, picking up Smew, Water Pipit and Snow Bunting at Startops but missing Bittern at the other two sites.

Startops End reservoir

Snow Bunting


Weston Turville reservoir at dusk

Black Park Country Park - 13 February 2012

We were on site at 7am and found that much of the snow from the previous weekend was still around. TA and GN had joined us and an area of leaf litter with lots of beechmast, and favoured by Chaffinches was targetted. The nets were soon up and we began to catch birds, but the vast majority were Tits. There were a few Coal Tits and a couple of Nuthatches but as the morning drew on the Blutis and Gretis kept coming but so did the dogs and their owners so we packed up at around 11am after doing over 70 birds.

Morning mist

Coal Tit - 4

Nuthatch - 4 male

 Nuthatch - 4 with arrested moult

Totals (new - 72, re-trap - 1)

Dunnock - 1
Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Blue Tit - 33 (1)
Great Tit - 29
Coal Tit - 4
Nuthatch - 2
Chaffinch - 1

Iver Heath Garden - 12 February 2012

After the morning out at Stanwell we returned to find that the feeders had been well used so we decided to drop the net for the last few hours of daylight. We also put a net up  at the front of the house where some Redwings had been feeding on  pyracantha. Of course,they disappeared as soon as we started to erect the net but we did take a small catch including a control Siskin L064775.

Totals:  (7 new & 7 retrapped/controlled)

Blue Tit -   (4)
Long Tailed-Tit - 0 (1)
Goldfinch - 1
Greenfinch - 1
Siskin - 2 (2)
Lesser Redpoll - 3

Stanwell Moor - 12 February 2012

It took a bit of persuading to get Chris out after a tiring Gull ringing session on Saturday, but with a few days booked off and the week apparently likely to deteriorate from Tuesday onwards he soon gave in. So, where should we go? The orchard was still pretty much under snow so it was decided to check out Stanwell. We hadn't been for months so we didn't know what was about, but there were lots of thrushes along the access road and little moving around the frozen lake so, against our better judgement, because in our experience they always depart as soon as the nets go up, decided to plump for thrushes. While setting up, a sizable flock of some 300+ Linnets   in an adjacent field also  caught our attention and we had a second focus of attention.
 As it turned out we only got one Linnet and two Fieldfare, but overall the morning was still worthwhile in terms of the catch. Chris got a ringing tick in the form of a Stockdove and we shall be giving the Linnets another try as soon as we get the chance.

Fieldfare - age 6

Blackbird - 5 female

Stock Dove - age 5

Greenfinch - 5 male

Linnet - 5 female

Frozen pit

Totals - 34 (2)

Stockdove - 1
Dunnock - 9
Robin - 2
Blackbird - 1
Fieldfare - 2
Song Thrush - 4 (1)
Chaffinch - 7
Goldfinch - 1
Greenfinch - 6 (1)
Linnet - 1

Iver Heath Garden - 11 February 2012

At last the Siskins are beginning to arrive in numbers and today was a good opportunity to try and catch a few. I also put out some apples, hoping to entice some Redwing down into the vicinity of the nets. The apples did not bring in thrushes although two Blackcaps coming to a somewhat stunted apple tree in the corner of the garden did mange to find the net, and thankfully the Siskins came and brought along a few of Redpolls too.

Blackcap - 5 female

Lesser Redpoll - 5 male

Totals: 33 (4)

Robin - 1 (1 )
Dunnock - 0  (1)
Goldfinch -1
Siskin - 25 (1)
Lesser Redpoll - 3
Blackcap - 2
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 0 (1)

Rainham tip - 11 February 2012

I made a trip over to a North Thames Gull Group session along with a couple of other Runnymede RG members at Rainham on this occasion. The temperature was around minus 5 but with no wind to speak of and sunshine it made the day quite pleasant and bearable. The tip was fairly busy with Gulls, with a good number of Common Gulls present, probably having been pushed off their usual feeding haunts, with the fields frozen hard. A couple of catches were made, with two fairly quick fires, resulting in 437 Gulls being caught.

Common Gull - age 7i

Tipping area

2nd catch

Yellow-legged Herring Gull - 3

Yellow-legged Gull - adult (10)

Totals (new - 423 , re-trap - 5, controls - 9)

Black-headed Gull - 182 (7)
Common Gull - 44
Herring Gull - 158 (6|)
Yellow-legged Gull - 2
Greater Black-backed Gull - 2
Lesser Black-backed Gull  - 35 (1)

West London run around - 8 February 2012

With the effects of the current weather making a bit of local birding potentially worth while I had a run around some of the West London reservoirs and adjacent areas. I started off at Queen Mother Res where the Great Northern Diver was still present, followed by 15 Smew at Wraysbury GP, then Staines Res where there were three Black-necked Grebes, two Smew, two male Scaups and the Shag still present. Another attempt was then made for Whiet-winged Gulls with visits to hedgerley and Knowl Hill lnadfill sites, both failing to produce any of the target Gulls, but two Caspians at Hedgerley and a single at Knowl Hill. A couple of colour rings were picked up at Hedgerley, one from the North Thames Gull Group and another from the Severn Gull Group. A retunr visit to the Gull roost at Queen Mother Res, again also failed to produce any white-winged Gulls.

Hedgerley Landfill - 7 February 2012

A quick visit on route to work aiming to catch up with either the Glaucous or Iceland Gulls proved fruitless, but there was an adult Caspian and Mediterranean Gulls present.

Monday 6 February 2012

Weston Shore - 5 February 2012

We were planing to joint Pete Potts and others for a catch on the Solent water today, but with the falling of snow overnight it looked unlikely we would get out. But, the thought of ringing Ringed Plover or Dunlin for the first time, had me at least messing about checking motorways cameras to make sure I could get there. Cameras checked, motorway clear, Denise deciding she having stiffened up too much from the previous day at the orchard remained behind. The journey was surprising easy and quick. After a short wait, the required flock of mainly Dunlin arrived in the right spot, a quick fire and the flock mainly seemed to be flying away - the middle cannon did not fire and we only had three birds. Well, four, one was under the net somewhere and made good an escape, so we had two Ringed Plovers and a Turnstone to ring and colour mark. Having so few birds, with trainees present, I felt trying to claim one of the Ringed Plovers was not the right thing to do, and there will always be another day. Managed to get some colour rings off waders on the beach before we left.

 Ringed Plover


Totals (3 new):

Ringed Plover - 2
Turnstone - 1

At home Denise had a disappointing day in the garden, despite the cold few birds coming in, perhaps influenced by the fact the neighbour feeds next door and the net might be quite obvious in the white snow.

Garden total (5 new, 3 re-traps):

Robin - 0 (1)
Blackbird - 1
Blue Tit - 0 (1)
Starling - 2
Siskin -  2 (1)

Saturday 4 February 2012

Home Cottage Farm - 4 February 2011

With conditions ideally right to bring in the Thrushes to the remaining apples with the hard frozen ground conditions we had the first net up by 7am. Whilst we were fortunate to catch five Fieldfares, numbers in and around the orchard were relatively low, therefore not helping our chances of a big catch. The first round was quite productive, but after that things slowed down, but a nice mix of birds were caught, making the morning fairly worth while, with our first new Green Woodpecker in a few visits.

Green Woodpecker, adult female - with old secondaries 
on the right wing and new one on the left

Fieldfare - 5 male

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 5 male

Totals (29 new, 4 re-trap):

Green Woodpecker - 1
Great Spotted woodpecker - 1
Dunnock - 1 
Robin - 2 (1)
Fieldfare - 5
Blue Tit - 1 (2)
Long-tailed Tit - 4
Starling - 1
Chaffinch - 2 (1)
Goldfinch - 10
Greenfinch - 1

We closed up by 12.30 and upon returning home Denise continued ringing in the garden, whilst I head off to Hedgerley landfill in search of the Glaucous and Iceland Gull that have been seen there recently without any success, but 35 Red Kites were seen around the tip area during the visit in one go.

Denise's totals were (9 new, 1 re-trap)

Long-tailed Tit - 1
Siskin - 2
Goldfinch - 5 (1)
Greenfinch - 1

Queen Mother Res - 3 February 2011

Spent an hour watching the Gulls come in, but a slight ripple and the light conditions did not make viewing optimum, but no large white-winged Gulls were seen to come in, despite one Iceland Gull and probably two Glaucous Gulls being in the area. There was a 1st winter Little Gull though, plus one of the wintering Great Northern Divers and one of the Peregrines.

Wednesday 1 February 2012

New Forest - 1 February 2012

A minor RG outing, well two of us, with some free time off, we decided to have some bad birding time, so we both headed off to the New Forest. With a day of brisk wind, taking the temperature below freezing it was not an ideal day to be out with birds keeping low and any slight chances of Dartford Warbler being much reduced, as expected we failed to locate any and time out causally wandering around birding was much reduced by conditions.

First call was to Calshot, yes to see the Spanish Sparrow which duly put in an appearance in appropriate hedge. Afterwards we took a look, at the sea and marsh areas, debating how good some of the area looked for ringing sites. The marsh only held a few waders, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Grey  and Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and Turnstone, plus a single Brent Goose, with alas a very obvious broken wing. The sea proved very quite.

We headed next to Hawkhill Inclosure, but stopping as we head through Fawley at the local cafe, thanks to a well paced sing on a car roof, to ave breakfast served on silver platter usually used for the large Sunday roost they turn out. A pair of Crossbuill showed well at Hawkhill and after a moderate rate the dark-eyed Junco appeared on the fallen conifer tree in the clear area to fed on the seed that had been put out, that was mostly being consumed by a number of Reed Buntings.

Afterwards we headed to Blackwater Arboretum, but there was no sign of any Hawfinch, or much else early afternoon, which was followed by a couple of attempts for Dartford, but with birds not showing to well in the conditions we decided to head back.