A round up of our bird ringing activities (all birds ringed under licence from the British Trust for Ornithology with schedule one authority where appropriate), birding trips and other wildlife sorties within the UK and whenever we get chance, elsewhere.
As it was such a nice evening we decided to go back to Stanwell Moor. There were fewer Starlings on the fields and the Hirundines were feeding really high up. It wasn't really surprising that we only managed a total of 3 birds as reedbed birds were very vocal but sitting tight and Starlings did not seem to fancy our newly cut ride for their post breeding roost.The evening did produce a first for Chris - never before has he extracted a rabbit from a mist net. He was not particularly impressed..........and neither was the young rabbit.
out tonight at Stanwell Moor produced only 8 birds, but 2 controls a Reed Warbler V967422 and the other, a Chiff-chaff DTJ 277 was from only from 6km away, Hersham RG at Queen Mary Res. A Song
Thursh re-traped that had been missing for 5 years. So depite low catch -
not bad. The willow/carr area is aways low catching area during the
breeding season, though the post fledging Starling roost is already in
use, though not easy to catch as they usual roost in willows over water
that has a very unsafe mud substrate.
After the morning ringing session, I disappeared, as it was for once a
relatively warm afternoon with occasional sunny periods, to see what
butterflies were on the wing at Ivinghoe Beacon. I managed to find five
Duke of Burgundy's on the lower slopes together with an old warn
Grizzled Skipper, four Dingy Skippers and a Holly Blue. A Tree Pipit was
on territory in the usual bush on the higher slope.
Duke of Burgundy
the way back I quickly called in at Pitstone to see if I could find any
Green Hairstreak which I was unable to find at Invingoe. None again,
but a newly emerged Small Blue was found together with single Small
Cooper and Small Heath, and a couple of Dingy Skippers.
We decided we would do a session at our winter Finch site in the
local country park to at least do some monitoring on the breeding birds
on the remaining heathland area. The catch was quite moderate with only
fourteen birds, but apart from those on territory, not much was moving
around. Unfortunately the Wood Lark that had been there the previous
week was absent and no Crossbills were heard. I had thought they may
have stayed in the park to breed this year, though it is possible they
did, and have already moved on.
Odd morning for ducks,
we had a pair of Mallard flying around for most of the morning, coming
down in the main damp areas, then a flight of four Tufted went through
twice, and coming back from a round we have a wet ditch 10 feet from
ringing table, we flushed a pair of Mandarin that had landed in it
whilst away going around the nets!
Unlike most evening sessions where we tend to base ourselves in the Willow carr area, as there were a number of juvenile Starlings on the wing we returned to an area near one of the grassy fields. A number of Starlings were around, but seemed less active than our morning visit on Sunday. The catch was moderate with only 11 birds caught, two being retraps, one a Whitethroat having been rung last spring.
This was our first real ringing outing since Cyprus, making a moderately early start and covering a varied area within the site. The catch was moderate, but consisted of a re-trap Starling that was originally rung at the site in 2009 at the post breeding season Starling roost, plus our first Long-tailed Tit and Staling juveniles of the year. We got 37 birds of 11 species, which included two controls, L271161 a Reed Warbler and X569772 a Garden Warbler, which considering the size of the catch was fairly good going.
We made an afternoon visit hoping for Duke of Burgundy, but despite being warm when the sun was out, it was still fairly chilly when cloud covered the sun, and it therefore did not get warm enough to get too much active. We did manage to come across four Dingy and two Grizzled Skippers, a Holly Blue and Comma, a couple of Peacocks and Orange Tips, and a few Brimstone being the most prominent species seen. Eleven Wheatears were in the valley leading up to the top of the down.
A weekend visit to family was supposed to give us a chance of some nice spring birding in Norfolk, but alas it was more like winter, with a brisk cold NE wind, with occasional heavy showers to contend with. On the Saturday we headed for Cley, which turned out to be relatively birdless, especially on the wader front, which apart from the resident breeders there was not a migrant wader to be seen. Well not quite true, we failed to see the Timminck's Stint on Pats Pool as we did not view it from both hides, and I had not set my Birdguides text messaging to the right setting to have found out it was visible from the other hide. There were a couple of Little Gulls which was about it really, apart from some nice views of Bearded Tits, there was not too much else to get excited about.
Black-headed Gull on the beach
After Cley we headed towards Holkham, the same direction the Pallid Harrier that had been seen on Blakeney Point, as it turned out, was also heading towards. We sat in the Holkham Hall tea shop not keen to head off out in it again, after the relatively birdless visit to Cley, as the various heavy showers were still coming down. Again, due to the erroneous phone settings we did not get to hear of the Purple Heron on the fresh marsh near Jordan hide that might have just motivated us out into the showers. We then may have just being the right spot as the Harrier went through. But, we headed off back to my parents place.
The next day we were due to get along to Holme early for some ringing, but unfortunately Sophie had to cancel as she was not feeling 100%, so the next day, again watching the rain coming down on and off as we had breakfast, we decided to head back home early.
We had an end of work outing to Langley Park with Mike Beatley with the aim of trying to catch a few of the resident breeding Jackdaws. Not the easiest of birds to catch, hence the zero catch apart from a single Jay that was daft enough to stray into the net and show Mike it's total disdain, leaving him bleeding. I had half thought of doing a RAS on them, but suspected getting 50 adults might be difficult, and going on today's catch we'd be there every day for a month and probably still struggle to get anywhere near 50! I suspect it would only be viable using nest boxes to maintain a decent quantity of adults. May try a couple of more times, but need a little better results than tonight to do it too often, not even a Blue Tit to keep you busy.