Tuesday, 30 November 2021

Finch House garden - November 2021

 As we began to learn how birds use the garden we moved one of the 6m nets to a location next to the pergola where birds often travelled from the Bancroft garden into the feeding site. There was a clear influx of migratory Blackbirds at the start of the month and this new location caught well. Brambling and Siskin were heard over at that time, however none were seen to feed in the garden. November has been quite windy and wet in parts, limiting the ringing opportunities, with the last weekend of the month adversely affected by Storm Arwen and completely lost for ringing. Much foliage cover has now turned and dropped, however birds continue to visit the garden.

There were some new species added as more birds discovered the feeders and our first ringed bird that wasn't one of our own. It was, of course, one of the numerous Blue Tits.

Total: 84 (22)

Woodpigeon - 1
Great-spotted Woodpecker - 1
Wren - 1
Robin - 3 (6)
Dunnock - 3 (1)
Blackbird - 7 (4)
Goldcrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 6 (1)
Blue Tit - 35 (4 + 1 control)
Great Tit - 9 (3)
Coal Tit - 4 (2)
Chaffinch - 1
Greenfinch - 2
Goldfinch - 5
Starling - 2
House Sparrow - 2

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

Wild Ken Hill Fresh Marsh - 24th November 2021

 Having had news of 3 Water Pipits on the fresh marsh, Chris and I decided to give it a go in advance of the cold and windy weather due to affect us by the weekend. This was a first attempt at this location and there were cows still there grazing so we were very happy when they decided to move out of the area where we wanted to set nets, knowing how curious cows can be. Along with a combination of three double panels, we also put a double full height net between a ditch and small reedbed with a single, close to our base where a ditch passes under the track. 

It turned out to be a small but rather varied catch. Two Water Pipits trapped and colour marked from 6 present, was more than we could have hoped for. Added to that , there was also a Kestrel from the two panel net, a Cetti's Warbler from the single, a hand captured Mute Swan (also colour ringed) and a solitary Lesser Redpoll.

Water Pipit adult

Juvenile Water Pipit

Adult Kestrel female

Total: 10

Mute Swan - 1 
Kestrel - 1
Water Pipit - 2
Wren - 2
Robin - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Blue Tit - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1

Sunday, 21 November 2021

Wild Ken Hill - 20 November 2021

We were on site before 7am but suffered a slight delay when we became bogged down while parking up. We continued to put up the six 18m nets at that immediate location, then Chris turned his attention to freeing the 4x4 while I checked the nets. We made 23 captures in all.

The morning was fairly quiet, once the car was out of the mire and the sound of the revving engine ceased.

We met two of the free ranging residents and can now add pigs to the list of animals that are about and need to be looked out for and kept out of the nets.

Our session was heavily dominated by tits with our highlight being a Marsh Tit, a species that was not present on any of our ringing sites under Colne Valley RG and in notable decline in several areas across the UK.

Marsh Tit, age 3

Totals: 17 (6)

Blackbird - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Coal Tit - 3
Marsh Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 7 (2)
Great Tit - 4 (4) 

One of two Tamworth (I think) sows that range freely on the Wild Ken Hill estate. These omnivorous animals are an excellent indicator of soil health. They forage quite discernibly on the margins of fields and currently avoid the areas that have been cultivated over many years, as there is much less food there for them to find. With time, those areas too, should hold increasing invertebrate numbers, fungi, roots and grass for them to eat in addition to fruits and seeds.

These two ladies are very well behaved, but I fully suspect that they are responsible for the state of the ground and our becoming stuck while manoeuvring the vehicle.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Salthouse Duck Pond - 18 November 2021


Black-headed Gull 6J 4976 from Denmark

Ringed obtained whilst assessing the potential for a small scale Gull colour ringing project this winter and ringing the Swans, with the focus on the known age cygnet initially.

The Gull was originally ringed 23/5/2013 as a pullus at Holm Sø, Brøndby, Sjælland, Denmark (55 37N, 12 26E), and seen previously at Salthouse on 24/12/14-21/3/15, 3/11/15-12/3/16, 5/11/16-25/1/17, 2/12/17-8/2/18, 16/10/18-4/3/19,12/11/19-29/1/20 and 4/11/20-29/12/20. Details c/o Cley Bird Club.

Thursday, 18 November 2021

Wild Ken Hill - 15 November 2021

 After a couple of visits to reconnoiter the expansive site, today was the first independent session. We are so pleased to have found a project with so much potential to support. 

The nets, two runs of three 18ms, were set along the site of the old railway line on a private area of the wild side of Ken Hill. Lining where the tracks used to run, are hedgerows of a variety of plants including Hawthorn, Wild rose, Blackberry and Blackthorn. On arrival, there didn't seem to be a great deal of activity as seen on our last non-ringing visit, when mist had forced migrant thrushes down and they were feeding up on hawthorn berries and rosehips.

Redwing, age 3

Cetti's Warbler, age 3

We only managed a couple of Blackbirds and two Redwings, but the Long-tailed tits helped push the total to just over 30. Other birds seen included Barn Owl, Curlew, Pink-footed Geese, Marsh Harrier.

The total ended up as follows.

Totals: 29 (3)

Wren - 2 (1)
Robin - 2
Dunnock - 2 (1)
Blackbird - 2
Redwing - 2
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 10 (1)
Blue Tit - 7
Great Tit - 1

Thursday, 4 November 2021

Finch House garden - October 2021

 Our first birds were caught on 17th October, some three weeks after our move to North Norfolk. The garden is very close to open farmland and the garden has been planted with a variety of plants good for providing natural food. We have seen quite a few species in and over the garden so hope catching will prove interesting.

One of two Hazels that have been tempting Jays in to feed.

A variety of shrubs and fruit trees provide some thick areas of cover.
 A water feature could also provide water at drier times of year.

Several plants provide berries for winter thrushes

We expected a few tits as there is an established feeding station next door. 

Our small feeding station had been running for a few days before the three 6m nets were put up. First results from 2 weeks when rain and wind prevented netting on several days are as follows:

Total: 28 (5)

Woodpigeon - 1
Robin - 1 (1)
Dunnock - 2
Blackbird - 4 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 3
Blue Tit - 12 (1)
Great Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 4