Thursday 26 January 2017

River Thames, Windsor - 19th January 2017

We spent a couple of hours reading Darvic rings and, with only four or five birds now fitted with plastic markers, more often trying to read the entire metal ring on swans hauled out of the river, harassing passersby for food. Some birds are so precocious that recording rings is nigh impossible as the birds insist on getting close enough to tug at sleeves and other clothing - just in case they had not been noticed.

We recorded one Canada Goose ring, 24 swans and more gratifying than that got the missing digit on a Black-headed Gull with an Arnhem ring. That's three attempts in total and a number of images from different angles - Darvic rings are so much easier!

The 24 swans including W10100 that seemed completely out of sequence to all the other birds - at least it was photographed so no possibility of it being a reading error.

 W10100 - tab out, which is better turned over.

Wraysbury GP - 17th January 2017

Todays session was mainly focused around having a look at another trainer's trainee to see how they were getting along, which was good, as otherwise it may have not been worth the effort, but that meant they did not have much to process and were not under very much pressure either. We only had 13 birds in total, though 8 were re-traps which is always very useful.

Total: 5 (8)

Wren - 1
Robin - 0 (2)
Dunnock - 0 (1)
Redwing - 1
Song Thrush - 3
Blue Tit - 0 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (3)
Chaffinch - 0 (1)

Tuesday 10 January 2017

Bletchingley Garden - 8th January 2017

We made arrangements to spend the day 'chez Pat and Ralph', monitoring the birds that make use of their many feeders. We have been doing yearly winter visits here since 2012. This year we were accompanied by our two trainees as it is our only chance of high numbers during the winter period and extracting a lot of tits around feeders helps develop extracting skills,

 After some uncertainty as to whether there would be favourable weather conditions, the day dawned with light mist rather than rain and the planned ringing was able to go ahead. The standard five nets were put up, with additional ground and potter traps, although nothing was caught in either of these.

It wasn't long before there were birds to extract and both trainees had plenty of extraction practice, mostly with Great and Blue Tits. As well as the glut of tits, and opportunities to compare multiple individuals of the same species, there were other species that we rarely catch at our usual sites and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Ring-necked Parakeet and House Sparrow provided some really useful experience.

We had recaptures from each of the four previous sessions held here and these are shown in the table below.

Blue Tit
Ringed as adult on 16/02/2014
Blue Tit
Ringed as adult on 16/02/2014
Great Tit
Ringed as 2Y on 14/03/2015
Great Tit
Ringed as 2Y on 14/03/2015
Great Tit
Ringed as 2Y on 14/03/2015
Blue Tit
Ringed as 2Y on 14/03/2015
Great Tit
Ringed as 2Y on 14/03/2015
Great Spotted Woodpecker (female)
Ringed as 2Y on 14/03/2015
Nuthatch (male)
Ringed on 9/12/2012 and recaptured 16/02/2014
Nuthatch (female)
Ringed 16/02/2014
Great Tit
Ringed as adult 30/11/2013
Blue Tit
Ringed as juvenile 30/11/2013
Ringed as juvenile 30/11/2013

TJ77616 Nuthatch female

Male Great Spotted Woodpecker LC56821

Male House Sparrow VB90911

First time handling Ring-necked Parakeet (with an audience too)

6F Ring-necked Parakeet

Many thanks to Ralph and Pat for their wonderful hospitality, all the tea, coffee, biscuits and rolls and especially that fantastic vegetable soup!

Totals: 116 (13)

Ring-necked Parakeet - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1 (1)
Wren - 1
Robin - 3
Dunnock - 7
Blackbird - 4
Coal Tit - 3
Blue Tit - 43 (4)
Great Tit - 36 (5)
Nuthatch - 0 (2)
House Sparrow - 1
Chaffinch - 5
Goldfinch - 11 (1)

Saturday 7 January 2017

Broadwater GP - 7th January 2017

It was one of those mornings when we were on site well before it was light, the nets went up without a hitch, the food was going (perhaps it's squirrels with hindsight) but there was still some there to keep birds coming........and yet catching started slow and continued in the same fashion.

The Redwings began calling after the nets were ready - and yet we caught none, the feeders were replenished - but the only bird from that net was a Chaffinch responding to tape, there were no large flocks of birds and much of what we did see didn't respond to audio-lures.

5F Chaffinch

EPV864, ringed 29/12/2014 and retrapped 25/11/2015 and 07/01/2017.

Of the 14 birds we had 8 retraps including a Chiffchaff recorded on site for 3 successive winters.

Total: 6 (8)

Dunnock - 1
Robin - 0 (1)
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 2
Blue Tit - 1 (4)
Great Tit -  0 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (2)
Chaffinch - 1

Frensham Ponds - 6th January 2017

A birding trip to a location less than an hour away, and yet we had never been there before. There had been a sharp frost and the surface of the ponds were frozen, all but a few narrow margins near the reeds, but we still saw the Long-tailed Duck, which at one stage flew off, but later had returned to the same small area of unfrozen water.

We then walked towards Vampire flats, so named for an aircraft that crashed there in 1948, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Great Grey Shrike. We did, but it was a distant view. There were a few other birds to see, though we managed to see four Dartford Warblers and a couple of Stonechat.

Great Grey Shrike


 Frensham Ponds

One of several Robins in the cafe garden

 Grey Squirrel

Wraysbury GP - 5th January 2017

We planned a morning out with Scott, one of the Bedfont regulars today but it was not to be as he was laid low with flu. We still went out and managed some 20 or so birds. There were a good number of re-traps including a Green Woodpecker first ringed in September.

 Green Woodpecker DE40577

6M Chaffinch

We were also pleased to get a Chaffinch with undiseased legs.

Total:   12 (9)

Green Woodpecker - 0 (1)
Wren - 1
Robin - 2 (3)
Dunnock - 0 (4)
Blackbird - 4
Redwing - 1
Song Thrush - 1 (1)
Blue Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 1
Chaffinch - 1

Richmond Park - 4th January 2017

We visited the park hoping to see the very pale Stonechat that has been seen here. We were successful, seeing the bird after locating the deer in an area of extensive bracken coverage.

 Red deer in Richmond park

It was only possible to get a record shot, but it looks similar to the Dungeness bird - and we also noted that it is a singleton unlike most Stonechats, and bore little resemblance to the other Stonechats in the park.

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Wraysbury GP - 3rd January 2017

The forecast was for a sharp overnight frost so we made this the first ringing outing of 2017. We hoped to find a lot of thrushes as the ground would be too hard for them to forage for invertebrates, however there were far few birds than when we last ringed there. At some point over the winter break a great deal of thrushes had moved on, though the berries on the Hawthorns had been depleted somewhat, perhaps in the few hard frost days mid Christmas break.

We still catch some Redwings, along with quite a few winter residents.

Total: 10 (10)

Wren - 0 (1)
Robin - 1 (5)
Blackbird - 1
Redwing - 8
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (4)