Sunday 27 March 2022

Deepdale Farm - 26th March 2022

 A rather quiet morning, but not surprising as we've reached that point in the year when winter migrants are no longer gathering into large flocks and birds have already started to drift back to the continent. The vanguard of the summer contingent are just starting to put in an appearance with sightings of arriving warblers, wheatears and hirundines few and far between.

In this context, we were quite pleased to capture and ring our second Chiffchaff (first arrival processed 18/03 has moved on) at this site. We also marked our first Yellowhammer.

Male Yellowhammer

Also of interest was a retrapped Wren. Thanks to the immediacy of DemOn, the data recording programme used by the BTO, we know this bird was ringed in 2018 and has not been encountered since. The precise location will be known in due course although we suspect it has only travelled from a neighbouring site.

Total: 5 (4)

Wren - 1 (2)
Dunnock - 1 (1)
Blackbird - 1
Chiffchaff - 1
Chaffinch - 0 (1)
Yellowhammer - 1

Saturday 19 March 2022

Deepdale Farm - 18th March 2022

 A first ringing session at a new site so you can never know for sure just how things will go. There were a few finches about still but as soon as the nets were put up they decided to use an alternative farmland feeder and we only got one of those, a single Chiffchaff, presumably newly returned for the summer and pairs of both Goldcrest and Long-tailed tit. In truth, we hadn't anticipated quite so many Dunnocks and we did wonder whether, like the Blackbirds we'd seen in another farm lane if they may be heading back to the continent. However, fat scores indicated probably not.

A single Redwing sat singing in the tree above our heads but  attracted no others of its kind. Best sighting was a stoat seen for at least a minute as it ran towards us before darting into the hedgerow.

Many thanks to the farm management for permitting access for bird monitoring.

Chiffchaff, first returning summer migrant of the year.

Totals: 20 (1)

Wren - 4
Dunnock - 9
Song Thrush - 1
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (1)
Blue Tit - 1
Chaffinch - 1

Thursday 17 March 2022

Wild Ken Hill - 15th March 2022

 The fields are startling to dry out a little now and we made a final try for Water Pipits before they return to the summering grounds. Our efforts were to no avail. Although there were 5 birds present, the only catch was a Reed Bunting.

5M Reed Bunting

In such an open site, two panel nets are usually more effective than full height. 
A definite case of 'less is more'.

Total: 1
Reed Bunting - 1

Later we saw a couple of wing tagged Marsh Harriers, but neither were close enough to be read.

No visit to Ken Hill is complete without a view
 of one of the many Hares present.

Monday 14 March 2022

Brewery Farm - 13th February 2022

 A breezy, chilly morning spent with JC, JD, BW and two inquisitive but very well behaved dogs.
We had the benefit of a covered trailer (very well ventilated) and steadily worked our way through the catch of 106 birds throughout the morning, closing the nets just prior to the first rain of the afternoon coming in.

5M Yellowhammer

It was great to get reacquainted with the Yellowhammers, a species that we last ringed in 2010 or so.
An excellent morning and thanks to Barry and Graham for the invite.

6F and 5M Yellowhammer

Total: 65 (41)

Wren - 0 (1)
Dunnock 4 (3)
Robin - 2 (2)
Blackbird - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (3)
Blue Tit - 1 (15)
Great Tit - 0 (1)
Coal Tit - 1
Brambling - 7
Chaffinch - 14
Goldfinch - 3 (6)
Reed Bunting - 2 (1)
Yellowhammer - 29 (7)

Easton College Ringing Demonstration - 9th March 2022

 As the result of an invite to support ERB and Jen to do a demonstration for UEA, we travelled to Easton College, set up four nets around some feeders and prepared for  the demonstration. We had concerns about the conditions being windier than ideal but as it happened the nets were quite sheltered and it was only towards the end of the morning that the wind really got up.

The group were very interested, so interested in fact, that the demonstration over-ran and they missed part of their next scheduled lesson.

Jen took the lead for most of the demonstration.

Students learned about recent academic studies and their findings from Jen, while Chris and I were able to provide the rationale behind some of our current projects, the Water Pipit project and East Anglia Swan project in particular and what we can learn from ringing in general.

There was a steady trickle of birds to show the group with most learners feeling sufficiently confident to hold and release a bird following processing. Species captured included Goldcrest, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Chaffinch and Blackbird.

It was a successful morning all round, translating into some students wanting to learn to ring and requesting details of trainers.

Totals: 23

Wren - 1
Dunnock - 2
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 2
Blue Tit - 9
Great Tit - 4
Chaffinch - 1
Goldfinch - 1

Wednesday 2 March 2022

Swan ringing Hoveton and surrounding area - 1st March 2022

 The weather was a bit of a concern as we drove to Hoveton as rain had not been expected and the rain around Little Snoring was rather too heavy to be catching up and marking swans. Thankfully the rain had reduced considerably by the time we arrived and we met up with MHE, JM, ERB and after a bit of traffic trouble MR. There were fewer swans than the month before, but still quite a few birds without any leg rings. We also took the opportunity to record the codes for the previously processed birds.

While there, two swans were observed to have fishing line around there necks, one or both potentially having an embedded hook. We were unable to catch up either of the birds and the swan rescue person was phoned and notified. The code from the single marked bird was provided so the bird can be identified and captured, then assessed when he checks in on the Hoveton swans in the next day or two. He will of course also look for the unmarked bird.

A cygnet from 2021 receives a darvic, and will now be monitored without 
the necessity for recapture.

Next we visited Wroxham broad where we had received a request to mark the resident pen and single cygnet from last year. The Cob 4FYI had been ringed at Hoveton when we visited on 8th February. There was a great deal of activity on the lake as pairs have recently moved in with a view to establishing breeding territories. On several occasions adult swans, with wings held high came steaming across the water to assert dominance over others, ultimately resulting in us being unable to catch the cygnet. Most of these birds will probably move on with only one or two birds taking up residence to breed on Wroxham broad. 

There were also a few captures at Potter Heigham and a single cygnet from Rollesby broad.

Throughout the day a couple of Mallard and a Woodpigeon were also hand captured.

Age 6 Mallard

Total: 24 (22)

Mute Swan - 21 (22 re-sighted)
Mallard - 2
Woodpigeon - 1

Finch House Garden - February 2022

 In a month when lengthy periods of extremely windy weather included three names storms in quite quick succession a total of 88 birds were processed. It is interesting to note that the number of retraps almost equalled new birds. Blue Tits were by far the most frequent visitors. The Jay was a resighting of D4 that was ringed in the garden a couple of months before and the retrapped Starling and House Sparrow appear to be birds that will breed locally as we are starting to see these birds about the garden quite frequently. 

Totals: 46 (42)

Dunnock - 2 (6)
Robin - 0 (5)
Blackbird - 3 (4)
Long tailed Tit - 1 
Blue Tit - 24 (21)
Great Tit - 5 (2)
House Sparrow - 0 (1)
Chaffinch - 1
Greenfinch - 7 (1)
Goldfinch - 3 
Starling - 0 (1)
Jay - 0 (1)