Sunday 21 October 2012

Apple Day at Home Cottage Farm - 20 October 2012

Apple day is a national event to promote apple varieties and orchards all over the country and for the third time we had been invited to do a ringing demonstration for the public.
Chris and I were due to meet Roger and Margaret at 7am but it wasn't long before they were on their way home again after Roger slipped and hurt his back before getting out of the car park.

We erected nets in orchard and woodland habitats and had ringed 10 Goldcrests before our second wave, Peter, Kenny and Sarah arrived at 9am. The final nets were put up around some garden feeders and our stand was decked out with posters, pamphlets, a display of local ringing information  and some examples of rings. Liz joined us later after helping to make Roger comfortable at home.The official opening time was 11am but we were visited by stall holders from the time that they started to arrive.

The morning started well considering the numbers of people around, and the considerable noise created by the talloy system. We had a stream of Goldcrests and Blue Tits for people to watch being ringed. There were also some larger species that really wowed the public.

Many thanks to those who volunteered and helped to make the day a very enjoyable success.


 Jay (aged 4)

Adult Blue Tit showing plumage damage to primary and secondary feathers of left wing

Totals: 64 (8)

Green Woodpecker -  0 (1) re-trap
Robin - 3
Blackbird - 2
Goldcrest - 30
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (2) re-traps
Coal Tit - 3
Blue Tit - 16 (5)
Great Tit - 4
Nuthatch - 2
Jay -3
Lesser Redpoll - 1

Blue Tit X762240 was 1st rung on 12/7/2009.
Green Woodpecker DD34382 was ringed on 19/12/2009. This is the fourth time it has been processed.

Black Park - 19 October 2012

The morning was cold, dark and damp as we met Margaret and Mike at the gate. It was a 7am meet so by the time we'd driven to the site and erected nets (430ft), the first birds were being moving about and being caught just after 8am. Goldcrests responded to the audiolures well and we also tried for small finches.
We caught Goldcrest throughout the session, with groups of Lesser Redpoll dropping in from time to time. There was also a smattering of other species.

 Lesser Redpoll

 Continental Blackbird - female

Total: 90 (7)
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest - 34 (3)
Blue Tit - 5 (1)
Great Tit -5
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (2)
Treecreeper - 0 (1)
 Lesser Redpoll - 44

Monday 15 October 2012

Harty, Isle of Sheppey - 13 October 2012

We were to join the Swale Wader Group for a night-time catch, so travelled down early to spend the last hour or so of daylight at Capel Fleet. The raptor roost was disappointing with only 8 Marsh Harriers coming in, but it was a real treat to watch Starlings and Pied Wagtails at their pre-roost activities. There were also some 30 Swallows that flew low all around the viewing area, darting between the vehicles and bushes as a sharp shower of rain was swiftly followed by a rainbow, the birds providing what seemed to be one last echo of summer as autumn advanced. Chris found a Reed Warbler skulking among the reeds and there was also a solitary Bearded Tit hidden among the reeds growing within a ditch.

After dinner at the Harty Ferry Inn, we met up at the potato barn. The night could not have been better. It was a clear night with little wind as we set up. Everything went smoothly, except the part where Chris got stuck in the gloop and unfortunately fell over.

Birds had been trying to come in as we put up the last nets and they continued to be very vocal from the air and the pools, and once extracting started it was great to have birds going into the nets as we were extracting. For a time it seemed as though the bags might run out but there were just enough. The catch of Black-tailed Godwit was particularly impressive, considering the maximum catch for any previous year was just 10, a third of the night's catch. These birds were colour-ringed, until the combinations ran out. We finished just before 3am and after a swift drive back got in at around 5am.

 Bar and Black-tailed Godwits post processing, waiting to go of their own accord
Total: 111 (5)

Shelduck -1, Juvenile
Avocet - 1, Adult
Grey Plover - 5, 2 juveniles, plus a retrap from September 2010
Knot - 5, 4 juveniles
Dunlin - 50,  plus two retraps one of which was 10 years old
Ruff - 1, juvenile female
Black-tailed Godwit - 30, only 1 juvenile
Bar-tailed Godwit - 10, plus 2 retraps one from 2002 and 1 from 1995
Curlew - 4, 3 of which were adults
Redshank  - 4, all adults

Sunday 7 October 2012

Black Park - 7 October 2012

It was chilly at 6.00am to the point that the windshield was frozen over. So we drove on site, not knowing how the birds would be using the site and wondering whether many small finches were yet at the park. It was wet under foot and quite cold but the first double went up quickly and with the aid of some audio players we were soon catching Goldcrests. Being an inland site, it was bizarre that the first of the little birds seemed to be dropping in from above, rather than working along the trees lining the stream. We put up another double and a single 30ft net crossing the stream.

As the morning went on it became increasingly mistly. The cold weather seemed to be keeping a lot of dog walkers away, but the birds kept coming and kept us ticking over until 11am or so.
A low point was the loss of our breakfast rolls to a rotund black labrador, that should have been on a lead in the area grazed by cattle - not the dog's fault, just the poorly behaved owner's. 

Top species of the day was Goldcrest with Lesser Redpoll rolling in a distant second.

 Goldcrest - one of 42 captures.

 Our first Siskin of the autumn, adult female.

 Lesser Redpoll.

Totals: 57 (1)

Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Robin - 1
Goldcrest - 41 (1)
Blue Tit -2
Great Tit - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 10
Siskin - 1

Stanwell Moor - 6 October 2012

Today, just as the torrential rain ended, we headed for Stanwell to net in the water meadow and reed bed. We were joined by TA and MRB so Chris and Tim took kit out to the flashes while Mike and I set nets in the reeds. The lake level had risen somewhat and the ride was no longer dry.

On joining Chris and Tim, we were told that they’d flushed some 20 Teal on approaching the area and we’d missed a Short-eared Owl and Barn Owl that had been seen while they set up. The pool was now deeper than ever before and rivulets were still spilling down from the banked up field. Four nets were arranged in series through the pool, with a box for Meadow Pipits and another single to intercept birds whizzing around the end of the bank.

There was a good catch of Mipits on the first round but the reed bed ride was rather disappointing and only one Reed Bunting and a Blackcap came out of the nets. The interception net should have been fantastic but it was too obvious and caught nothing. The Meadow Pipits continued to be caught in the box but nothing came out of the pool nets although the reed-bed did produce a Snipe.

Adult Snipe 

 Meadow Pipit with growth bars on tail and wings.

Totals 38 (1):
Snipe – 1
Meadow Pipit - 24  (1)
Robin – 1
Blackcap – 2
Chiffchaff – 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Goldfinch – 1
Linnet – 3
Reed Bunting - 3