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!"