Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Swiftly does it!

The Emplins in Gamlingay is a 15th century house. It is a very charming building and this is where a certain species of bird decides to nest each year - in the loft. A couple of hours rooting around in the lofts avoiding gaps, squeezing around, trying not to put a foot through the ceiling and generally getting very hot. Oh, and I nearly forgot to mention the flies and a bees nest that sent us back the way we came (very quickly!). We had 17 young (including a few adults - 1 a retrap from last year) from the loft. Outside, the nets were up and 3 swifts were caught.

Above: A swift. Their claws really dig into you!

Above: That swift has a huge ugly wart attached to it. I wonder how that happened! About a minute after this photo, I got the ugly wart off and the bird flew away, unharmed. Oh, and it was a new species for me (number 45 I think).

Priory Country Park (12/07/08)

A visit to the park in the very early morning produced a good catch for us, including several bullfinch.

Above: Out of the kindness of my heart, I gave this male bullfinch a new ring.

Above: A male chaffinch with a new bit of bling ...err... sorry, I meant ring!

Broom Gravel Pits 080708

As I have done for the past few weeks, I set of after work and cycled to Broom (10 miles from my house). This was to help Mark Thomas of the RSPB with his anual Tern & Gull ringing at Broom Gravel Pits (this is where he does a lot of his ringing and bird watching in Bedfordshire).

Above: We stayed behind after the Terns and Gulls to catch the Sand Martin roost (completely unsucessfully!). Whilst waiting for them to roost, I took some photographs of the setting sun. Not bad!

Above: If anybody should see this Common Tern again (BTO ring above dark blue ring on right leg and white ring above black ring on left leg), I ringed it! Please inform BTO!!!!

Monday, 7 July 2008

The Award

Bill Oddie annouced the BTCV Bedfordshire Weekday Conservation Team (WCT) as winners of the Network Rail Environment Award for Biodiversity Protection 2008. The WCT volunteers is where most of my work is concentrated on - organising practical conservation projects for them to do twice a week 50 weeks of the year. One of our regular sites is owned by Network Rail - hence our involvement with the awards.

More information about (and photographs of) the BTCV Bedford WCT can be found at http://btcvbedfordshire.blogspot.com/ or by clicking on the BTCV Bedfordshire link (under useful links on the right hand side of this page).

Sunday, 6 July 2008

Tuesday 1st July 2008

This day was notable for two reasons. Firstly, I was given a present (the WLO RSPB badge in my earlier post) and for a new species to add to my ringed list.

I was at Broom Gravel Pits where we have been ringing common terns for the last few weeks (including black headed gulls). We were on the island & was looking carefully for tern chicks. Mark Thomas had already found a dead Redshank juvenile but there was an adult flying around swearing at us. It was particularly vocal around where I was standing - so I looked around very carefully - unsuccessfully. So, with common terns in hand, I went to put them in their basket when Mark suddenly asked for somebody to grab that Redshank chick that was about to start wading into the water. Half a step and a long reach later I had a redshank chick in my hands!

It was as cute as they come - very small still but with huge dangly legs! I had to be very careful when putting the ring on but with that done, I released it so that it could go on its merry little way! There is no photograph because I did not have the opportunity to take one (the birds welfare comes first).

RSPB Badge

Due to the large number of visitors I get to this site performing internet searches for RSPB Pin badges, I have added this information to this post for you! RSPB pin badges (including old and rare badges) can be obtained through the Collectors group. E-mail Mark on PinBadge.CollectorsGroup@rspb.org.uk for more information.

This badge was recently, and very kindly, given to me. It is made by the RSPB (and therefore collectable) and it is a limited edition (only a few hundred made). WLO stands for Wildlife Liaison Officer. I believe that these officers are now called Wildlife Conservation Officers. I did not know this badge existed until it was mentioned to me by the person who then gave it to me. It will form a prized part of my collection.