Saturday 12 March 2016

Chobham Common - 12 March 2016

A forecast for low wind today encouraged us to give Chobham Common a try for Dartford Warbler. It was a real struggle as the common was enveloped in thick fog and the dull, cold conditions were not condusive to tempting birds to show themselves or even call much. Despite the difficult conditions we managed to capture a young female with BP1.

Dartford Warbler 5F

 The fog persisted well into the morning.

Permission to monitor Dartford Warblers has been granted by the Surrey Wildlife Trust and the appropriate endorsements to use tape lures is held.

Total: 1

Dartford Warbler - 1

Wednesday 9 March 2016

River Thames, Windsor - 8 March 2016

We went out looking for Swan ring numbers today. There were around eight birds with darvics, all of which we had seen before, but there were also so new birds with BTO metal rings including a bird with a ring prefixed Z. Most birds on this stretch of river bear rings starting W or ZZ if they were ringed locally.

There no ringed or colour-ringed gulls today.

Monday 7 March 2016

Belgian control - 7 March 2016

Whenever we get decent numbers of Siskin through the garden at this time of year, we are always hopeful that we may get a foreign control. Today, I got just that, but it wasn't a Siskin.

The Coal tit ringed under the Belgian scheme was hatched last year and features look good for a continental bird.

Key Features of Continental Coal Tits

  • The obvious one, the cold steely blue grey uppers (mantle,back,scapulars) lacking warm olive colour of British birds (only fully applies in autumn not spring).   
  • Other features include the more extensive black bib that extends onto upper breast and splays out at the bottom to join the shoulder
  • White cheek patches look slightly bigger too, which may enhance the bigger headed look.
  • More peaked crown, which when raised, produces tiny crest.The above two features give a bigger headed appearance.
  •  Along with the subtly less sullied underparts, they overall look more contrasty/cleaner.  
  • Wider nape patch?
  • Tad larger size.
Calls. Subtle differences mooted. More exploring to be done.

 The head and body dimensions seem wrong for a UK Coal tit - in photo it's more reminiscent of a 'greyscale' Great tit (without belly stripe).
No descernible crest. Wing 62mm which is inconclusive individually. Lesser covert pattern intermediate so possible male or female. 

 Cold tones on upper back - steely grey blue.

 Extensive bib contrasting with very pale upper breast.

 MUSSCNAT1000BRUSSELS - the clincher

Thursday 3 March 2016

Garden ringing - February 2016

We don't usually do too much ringing in the garden, because the back garden is very small with little opportunity to change net location and as a result of this the locals soon learn which areas to avoid. Some years however, we have Siskins coming to the feeding station, in February and March. It's been a few years since we had really good numbers in, but this year seems to be shaping up quite nicely - when you consider that most birds prefer the neighbour's feeders that can be accessed from an overhanging laurel hedge just a matter of feet from the feeders. We don't ring every possible day so this month's total is quite pleasing. There have been no retraps from previous years and two UK controls.

Two Ring-necked Parakeets rounded off the February catch on the 29th.

February - 111 (15)

Woodpigeon - 1
Ring-necked Parakeet - 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 0 (2)
Wren - 1
Blackbird - 3 (2)
Blue Tit - 10 (5)
Great Tit - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Starling - 4 (1) 
Goldfinch - 20
Siskin - 68 (4)