Saturday, 26 December 2009

Boxing clever

I changed, slightly, where I put the net today in an attempt to make the net less visible. The problem being, my Dad's house (in the Cotswolds) is the only house in the village that is brick (all the others are cotswold stone). When it was built they must have sneaked it past the planners (or at least got in before they tightened the rules!). It is also painted white (sorry, I've been corrected, magnolia). It is easy for the birds to see a net against a magnolia background!

I don't have much room for feeders and a net so, to catch the birds, I have to box clever!

Boxing day brought 27 birds of 7 species into the net. 14 Blue Tits, 2 Goldfinch, 3 Dunnocks (one being a retrap from Christmas eve - it didn't take long!), 1 Starling, 1 Robin, 3 Coal Tits and 3 Blackbirds (a second net caught these and nearly caught a 4th).

Above: With my brother behind the camera, he had me posing with this Blue Tit. 11 of the Blue Tits were born this year, with 3 adults. On Christmas eve, 2 of 3 Blue Tits caught were adults.

I noticed a complete absence of Great Tits at the feeders today. My Dad says they visit occasionally, but are outnumbered by the blues. Perhaps the nesting sites nearby are dominated by the blues?

Above & Below: Coal Tits are my favourite of the tit family. They sneak in, grab some food, and sneak back out to eat. Again, I've been corrected again, apparently here, they stick around on the feeders for quite a while. They must feel safer.

Below: A blackbird. I put a net up elsewhere in the garden especially to catch these. They feed near the other net, but fly in and out low. I'm after a blackbird with somebody else's ring on it (I'm informed there is one in the area. Perhaps just a matter of time and perserverance).

One blackbird was a possible continental. All were born this year.

Below: The patio is where birds feed on my dad's scraps. I had to move the feeders from being all against the fence (most birds would have come in over the fence, into the bushes, fed, and popped back over the fence had I not moved them!

All in all, I am pleased with the total. A starling was a bonus. The Goldfinch are a target species (my dad is particulary interested in these and he did give me some money to buy the rings!). After the two I caught early on, the rest seemed to see the net at the last second & avoid it.

The Dunnocks all seem to fly into the net at the same place from the same direction. I think it must be the way they follow the bushes around and circle the house! My first and only retrap so far was with a Dunnock caught on Christmas eve.

A house sparrow made a brief visit. I'm still waiting for a pied wagtail & jackdaw to come feeding (they do on my dad's patio). Then we'll see whether they make it into the net!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

A festive first

My first ringing session on my own.

In order of appearance, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Robin. I had a bet (no money passed hands) with my dad as to how long it would take to catch a bird (I had already predicted a blue tit would be the first bird!). I had less than 5 mins and my dad had more than 5 minutes. As it turned out it was around 5 minutes. I didn't count the seconds.

Above: The better photo of the two is the Dunnock (no birds were harmed - the hob under the cooking pot was not on!!).

Below: The camera is a bit tempremental, therefore I released the bird before getting a better shot of it (well, it is only a blue tit!).

A collared dove and several blue tits flirted with the nets! Also seen nearby 2 coal tits, several more blue tits, goldfinch, greenfinch, blackbirds, more dunnocks and robins. This time I only put one 30ft net up for an hour. Next time I shall have a longer session (I'm going to try for a all day one on boxing day (I'll let them feed on christmas day!). I'm also going to put a net up elsewhere to catch the blackbirds. My dad says he's seen a blackbird with a ring on it recently so there's a possible control (that's what's call a bird that we catch, but somebody else e.g. not me - has put a ring on) lurking about somewhere!!

Merry Xmas everybody!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Rest in Peace

31st October 2009, a nice autumn day. My family met at the church in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire to inter the ashes of my Gran, Margaret Doggett (nee Roberts).

My Grandad (Frank Doggett) had already been laid to rest there nearly 2 decades previously. It was important to my Gran that she was laid to rest next to her husband (she had reserved that space at the time of Franks funeral).

My Gran and Grandad moved to Bourton-on-the-Water not long before I was born (I was born 06/01/1979 - so probably in 1977/78) when they retired. They regularly visited the church (see below) and were active members of the local Horticultural Society.

They lived at Stile End - the 'last house on the left' on the road out towards the Rissingtons.

Above: A 'record shot'. A view of the location (see yellow & white flowers) within the Graveyard should anybody wish to find it in the future.

Above: Standing in the same place as the 1st photograph, but facing a different direction, a view of the church. My Grandad was a photographer and took many photographs of churches. As a chartered accountant, during his retirement, he was a treasurer for this church.

Above: Frank George Doggett, Margaret Doggett, Christopher Kiri Doggett and Jane Doggett (born Hilary Jane). This family photo must have been taken in the mid to late 1950's.

Whilst I carried the ashes to the grave, Mark (my brother and youngest of four Grandchildren to Frank & Margaret) placed them in the ground. Other grandchildren: Lissa Olson (born Doggett) and Andrew children of Christopher Doggett. There are also 2 Great Granchildren: Kayla & Chloe, daughters of Lissa Olson.

Frank and Margaret are also missed by other members of close family and friends, including Shirley Doggett (wife of Christopher), Christine Dayman (nee Britton, Margaret's niece) & Martin Britton (Margaret's nephew) and Penny (Vera's adopted daughter). Sadly, Margaret's sisters Kath Britton (nee Roberts) and Vera have both passed away. Frank has surviving relatives including Peter Doggett who now lives near Bolton.

Most of their friends in Bourton-on-the-Water, and elsewhere, have since passed but Margaret and Frank are remebered by, in particular, the Spears family.

Above: Frank George Doggett (1914 to 1990) and Margaret Doggett (1922 to 2009). They are both remembered with a great deal of love.

Cork the claws of this Hawk!

Yesterday (07/11/09), a ringing visit to Priory Country Park brought a trickle of birds throughout the morning/early afternoon.

Early on, a Sparrowhawk was passing the feeding station in search of food (in this case Great or Blue Tits, not the nuts). It came away empty clawed! But Errol must have wished we had put a cork on this particular birds claws: he was telling me to keep my extremities away from the claws of this sharp toed hunter, but did not heed his own advice ... Ouch!

Above (thanks to Errol for this photo): A Sparrowhawk. This male was born this year (it had heart shaped markings on its front). This bird, already sporting a ring (thanks to Errol a few weeks back), did not add itself to my ringing list. The spectacle was enjoyed by regular birders at PCP Dave B, Dave K & John A.

For a list of other birds caught at Priory on 07/11/09, visit the IRG blog:

Were I to keep a list of birds handled and/or processed but not ringed it would be short. I'd like to keep it this way! Others include:

Marsh Tit (processed but not ringed)
Mute Swan (recoveries of colour ring numbers from the field)
Eider Duck (handled only)
Curlew Sandpiper (handled only)
Turnstone (extracted from a mist net only)

Other news:

This afternoon, at Cardington Tesco, I was approaching the car, only to look up at the sound of very agitated Long Tailed Tits. The reason for this was a Sparrowhawk passing over towards Longholme Way.

I am close to aquiring my 'C' license. I am organising and amassing equipment etc. in earnest!

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Down the hatch!

Call me a nut if you like for all the bad jokes, but I've got one hatchet job left to tell you about!

Last weekend, on Saturday 24th October 09, it was Feed The Birds day/weekend. The RSPB were holding many events across the country, one of which was at their HQ - The Lodge at Sandy. Being nearby and having been told about a ringing demonstration at this event, I decided to help out at a site I have never ringed at before. I was rewarded with another first:

Above: A Nutchatch. We don't know whether this bird hatched this year or before as there are no significant details in the plumage (i.e. differences in the moulting process of birds of different ages) to be able to tell the ages apart.

I have to thank somebody else for the above photograph (I don't know who) but I have a few photographs on my camera that I currently cannot get to work so I may post some of those when I can access them.

We also caught & ringed a number of blue tits, great tits, a long tailed tit, coal tits (my favourite of the tit family), chaffinches and a song thrush. A large number of people - old and young alike - took great pleasure in watching and being told about the birds & why we ring them. Some even got to release the birds, so hopefully there will be some young people walking around with a memory that will last them a lifetime!

After 6 hours demonstrating bird ringing at The Lodge, on Sunday 25th, I visited another site I have never even been to, let alone ringed there - Stockgrove Country Park. I spent another 6 hours demonstrating bird ringing to lots of interested visitors. More details about the event and what we caught can be found at

Another new site brought another new bird for me:

Above: A Redpoll. Whilst the Nuthatch was not a surprise at The Lodge as I know they are there, this Redpoll was. The shape of the tail feathers (pointed and not rounded) meant this bird was born this year.

News: I have recently had my application for a 'C license' endorsed by my trainer, so I am awaiting a decision from the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) as to whether this has been approved. If it is, I get to go out on my own with a couple of nets (albeit under remote supervision).

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Coal and Marsh Tits

Last weekend I made a trip to North Wootton (Near Kings Lynn, Norfolk) with my trainer, Errol. As well as partaking in witty banter (I wasn't just the butt of the jokes, I got a few digs of my own in!), we did some ringing despite only catching 30 birds (averaging just over 1 bird per hour!). I did get my wish though as my favourite tit came visiting:

Above: I ringed this one personally - my first Coal Tit.

Above: A retrap (one of Errol's 'I did this earlier') Marsh Tit. The first and only one I've ever handled.

Above: Another Coal Tit. Born this year (it had one old greater covert - a feature we can age this bird on).

Thank you to Jenny for letting me stay and providing some good grub.

Errol has his own blog now at In his own words "Tits & things - Ramblings of an old man who is now content to catch all the common birds - when the fancy takes him!"

Wednesday, 16 September 2009


A trip to Buckton with Mark Thomas last weekend was good but was missing a lot of migrant birds. In the end it was too windy & the wind direction wasn't quite right. We had only a handful of migrants all weekend so we did some sea watching on Sunday.

Above & Below: Gannets. There are a lot of Gannets on the cliffs here (way too many to count). Also seen Fulmar & Kittiwakes (at a distance).

We did get some ringing in on Friday & Saturday.

Above: Not a new species for me (I have ringed 1 before) but a new species for the blog. Linnet.

Above: A new species ringed for me and there were two of them. 2 migrant siskins added themselves to my tick list and ringing record. Smashing!

Above: Another ringing tick - Tree Sparrow. Cracking! We caught 7 in total, one of which Mark ringed as a juvenile earlier on in the year (he has ringed over 100 juveniles this year).

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Trip to Paxton Pits

Saturday 5th September 09, saw me take BTCV volunteers on our annual Summer Jolly. This year we decided to go for a walk around Paxton Pits Nature Reserve.

I was worried a little about the weather but it turned out well. The sun had a hat on and surprisingly, the wind had dropped dramatically from previous days!

It was a nice day for all of us. I took a few photographs.

Above: A bracket fungus

Above: I'm stumped for a way to describe this one!

Above: Hiding from the birds! Out there were: Mute Swans, Tufted Ducks, Cormorants (plenty of), Gadwall (plenty of), coot, moorhen, at least two kingfishers (I have never observed them 'hovering' before but did here), pochard & 2 red crested pochard (I've never seen this species before). Elsewhere on the site we saw lots of great tits & blue tits at the visitor centre feeder & watched a sparrowhawk alongside the river searching for potential food sources.

Above: A birds eye view! This is what I imagine a goldfinch would see whilst feeding on teasels.

Above: A speckled wood flutterby.

Ringing Demo

A while back now, I helped Mark Thomas on a Ringing Demo in Willington where we caught this beauty.

Above: A Jay

There were several (at least 3) more making a racket nearby but were not caught.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

My cousin's baby and me

The official photographs from my brothers wedding have been received.

Above & below: Me with my Cousin Vicky's 2nd baby (Oliver). Easy handling as he's going to sleep!

Having already posted the best man speach:

Above: Delivering the speach

Above: The mother of the bride laughing at one of my jokes. I know this because the photographs were received in sequence and I am seen before & after (below) the above photo giving my speach. You know this because you believe I am honest .... hopefully!

Above: Again, I am delivering the best man's speach.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Some of my photographs

Some of my better photographs (so far) with my Canon EOS 1000D.

Above: A variety of plants in Menorca

Above: A blackbird drying itself at my dad's house (Cotswolds).

Above: The sky in Menorca

Above: Interesting pattern in the telegraph pole (Bee Eaters sat on the line)

Above: More flowers & landscape from Menorca.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Mr & Mrs Davis Green

On Saturday 1st August 2009, my brother Mark David Green and Claire Jenna Davis joined their lives together

Above: Mark & Claire signing the register, with the brides mother & father in the background.

Below: The best man (me) speach.

Ladies & gentlemen, girls & boys ... and lets not forget the groom!

When Mark asked me to be Best Man, I was as excited as a terribly excited person who has a really good reason for being terribly excited. And Mark would have been forgiven for saying to me “Am I jumping the gun, Edward, or are the words 'I have a cunning plan' marching with ill-deserved confidence in the direction of this conversation?”

After many deleting many drafts of my not so cunning plans to humiliate Mark in this speech, I decided that discretion was the better part of valour so I will tell you a little bit about the happy couple.

I remember the first time I met Claire. It was before they started going out together and we all had an enjoyable time on the beach at St.Andrews. Just a few short months later, when Mark told us about him and Claire, I was able to tell my mother – you’ll like her. And so it proved.

Some of the things I like about Claire are that she is loyal, intelligent and a little bit kooky – but in a good way! I have come to enjoy Claire’s sense of humour – she has a ready wit - although when I get food thrown at me I realise that the feeling isn’t always mutual! Seriously though, I am proud to count her as a friend and not just a sister in law, and so it is with pleasure, that I welcome Claire to the Green family.

Alas, I cannot help but think that we will be putting a blot on the Davis family history, in the form of a Green Mark!

This particular blot happens to be my brother. And to show that this big brother isn’t here to constantly look over his shoulder or to pull the last few hairs out of his head, I would like to say that he would make a brilliant Mr Kiplings Apple Pie. That is to say he is exceedingly good at everything he does. He is thoughtful to the extreme, hard working, thorough and thoroughly bonkers!

So it isn’t hard to see why Claire likes him!

I find that it is occasions such as these that prompt one to consider relationships. Most of you will probably identify with what I am saying, and it was this that led me to think about why Mark and Claire have come so far. Of course, it is only natural for us to compare what we see in others with our own experiences and ideals. For my part, I think that one of the cornerstones for any relationship is friendship.

So I did a little research on the subject. I won’t bore you with the dictionary definition, but what I did come across, was the following quote by Edward Munkton:

“The friends can connect in a mysterious way without even speaking ... Perhaps they have amazing magical powers ... Perhaps they are both just peculiar in the head!”

Well, I can attest to the fact that both of them are VERY peculiar in the head! But as you are probably thinking right now, it takes one to know one. And you would be spot on. To demonstrate, I shall try to explain my thought process during the rest of my lecture ... sorry, slip of the tongue, I meant to say short speech!

So as I was sat there, scratching my head trying to stimulate a brain cell into action, when I got caught in a brain loop and began saying the word friendship over and over in my mind. Slowly, the light became brighter and I began dividing the word up into Friend and Ship.

Naturally enough, I started thinking about a theoretical friend who owned a ship and if you were to travel on that ship, you would probably trust that they would look after their ship and not, for example, leave gaping holes in the bottom of the ship. Therefore I reasoned that to make a journey on a friend ship, there had to be trust involved.

Mark and Claire clearly trust each other and therefore have a good foundation upon which to build a life together. You follow my reason so far?

So, having floated the idea of a friend ship, my mind drifted to the next logical step – how do you stay afloat? I could pontificate on about how good communication and the art of compromise are at the heart of a good relationship – but Mark & Claire are, more than likely, aware of this. So I ask myself, how can I give them the benefit of my years of experience and wisdom? So I floundered around for ages only to realise that I had none of my own worth sharing.

And when I’m left with nothing worth saying, I turn to humour to put things in context. In this case, the classic wit of Edmund Blackadder & friends:

Should you find yourselves in “the stickiest situation since sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun” I recommend that “If nothing else works, a total pigheaded unwillingness to look facts in the face will see you through!!”

I look about me and I see a lot of people who care deeply about you both and I’m sure that I speak for everyone, not just myself, when I say you will be able to rely on any one of us to help at anytime, and not just
in a crisis. Even me – if what you want is unhelpful comments and acerbic wit!

Having got the advice and most of the jesting out of the way, I would like to return to sincerity and advise you not to rely on Edmund Blackadder for anything other than a good laugh. I love you both dearly and that I wish you both all the happiness in the world.

RIGHT! Just to see if everyone is listening and awake, and as I have taken up so many precious words for this speech, I would like to shorten the toast to the bride and groom, so please join me in toasting THE BROOM!

Above: Using the candles and moon on a long exposure, I tried capturing the theme for the day!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

The Stag 1

Hi Mark, if you thought the ritual humiliation was over and done with, think again. Here are some of the highlights.

Above: Having caught The Stag on his way to the toilet with a bowl of cereal (in one end, out the other is Mark's way of saving precious time in the morning), he obviously thought it wouldn't be good form, so he shat ... sorry, typo ... sat at the computer instead!

Above: Shaving the stag! Lately, Mark's hair has been migrating downwards (from the top of his head to his chinny chin chin).

Above: Doug kindly organised some food at his pad. The Stag displays his dominance over the pack by showing us how big and uncouth he really is!

Above: The Stag (centre in the double handed teapot pose) and his pack after some quadbiking fun.

Above: The Stag doesn't want to leave the stripping for later. He'd rather get it over and done with early on!

Above: The apes gather!

Above: Go Ape is a treetop adventure for groups of people who like to hang around and Ape it up.

Monday, 20 July 2009

The Stag 2

Above: No Mark, Claire won't be happy if you marry this ape instead just because it has a big erection!

Above: Don't look down Mark! Going first and desperate not to cock up, Mark is showing us how it is all done ... on the training course - 3 ft above the ground!

Above: Mark is horsing around on the stirrup challenge!

Above: There was plenty of time for Mark to take the mick out of other people too!

Above: The day was a barrel of laughs!