Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Wintering Siskins

Target species aquired! Here's how the story goes:

Weekend no.1: After finding a flock of Siskin c. 150 to 200 strong at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve I set about the task of ringing some. I watched them fly well over the net rides. So I went out and bought some feeders and some food.

Weekend no.2: Feeders up for a week. Birds still flying high over the net rides!

Weekend no.3: Feeders up for a second week, tape lure at the ready. 14 new birds ringed! This was treble the number of siskin I've ever ringed before.

Above & Below: Siskin no.1.

Above & Below: A fistful of Siskin

Above: A green knuckle ride!

Above & Below: The tail shape (pointed) in the photograph above is indicative of a juvenile bird (born this year) whereas the rounded tail shape in the photograph below is that of an adult (born last year or before).

Many of the 14 Siskin caught were males and many of them juveniles. None had rings on, though I am hopeful that I will get some interesting recoveries as there is a good chance of this with Siskins.

Interestingly, the biometrics (wing length & weight) were remarkably similar amongst all the birds (wing length 73 or 74mm and weight around 12.3 or 12.4grams).

See earlier post for other species caught in the same session.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

A loooooooong day, but a good'un!

Last weekend was a long one - Ringing sessions as follows: Saturday at Priory Country Park and Sunday at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve.

Saturday's totals: 24 birds of 9 species:

Long Tailed Tit 2
Great Tit 2
Blue Tit 9
Goldcrest 2
Blackbird 4
Wren 1
Robin 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Dunnock 2

See http://priorycountrypark.blogspot.com/ for photographs and further info on these birds.

Sunday's totals: 38 Birds of 8 species:

Blue Tit 11
Great Tit 8
Siskin 14*
Song Thrush 1
Robin 1*
Chaffinch 1*
Kestrel 1*
Dunnock 1

* = New species ringed for the site.

Above: Robin (first ringed on the site)

Above & Below: I was definitely not expecting this juvenile female Kestrel in the net!

Above: A digiscoped image of a stonechat that was hanging about ... just outside the reserve!

There was also a fly over Curlew (cold weather movement) heading South West. A Snipe flying East and 23 lapwing going South East.

Above: A photograph of a Dunnock just for the Sandy Smith Nature Reserve records!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Two sites, two different sets of results

Two different sites: Saturday - Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR), Sunday - Priory Country Park (PCP).

Each has their own feeding station but the habitat at each is different. At SSNR, I ring in a patch of Alder regeneration and at PCP I ring in a patch of thorny scrub.

At SSNR I caught 1 Dunnock, 3 Wrens and the other 28 birds were Blue Tits and Great Tits. 32 birds of 4 species.

At PCP, I caught 7 Long Tailed Tits, 6 Blue Tits, 5 Great Tits, 3 Wren, 1 Dunnock, 3 Blackbird, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 Song Thrush and 1 Sparrowhawk. 30 birds of 10 species.

A greater range of species can be regularly found in the habitat at PCP whereas SSNR is a more specific habitat and carries fewer species. Birds at Priory come to the ringing area to feed and roost. Where I ring at SSNR, birds pass through on their way to feed elsewhere (mainly the tit flocks at this time of year) - hence the feeders to bring them in!

Above: One of 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers caught at Priory Country Park.

Above: A juvenile male Sparrowhawk. The visible bulge on his brest is not fluffing of the feathers, we believe this was his lunch! My first self caught Sparrowhawk.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Species number 86

At Number 10 on my 'most want to ring' list (see right hand side of the page), I wasn't expecting for it to be this easy to tick Bearded Tit off the list. When news started coming in over the last couple of weeks that there were groups arriving - and staying - in the county, this became a little more achievable.

I have Mark Thomas to thank for this ringing opportunity (and apparently Martin Stevens for finding them). I ringed 2 of these beauties:

Above: A female Bearded Tit.

Above: A male Bearded Tit.

Above: In all, 9 were ringed and displayed (as above) before releasing them. Thanks to Mark Thomas for this photo.

Which one?

Bearded Tit - The choice is yours...

Above: Had to dig this one of me out of the archives - long & curly hair with ginger tinted beard. Hummmmm.

Below: One of today's birds at Broom, Bedfordshire.

Dusk at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve

When I was a kid, I had a cardboard pencil holder which had bits of information about birds on the side of it - mostly now long forgotten but I've never forgotten that it said 'little owls eat beetles, moths & worms.'

Yesterday I saw a beetle, moth and worm devourer at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve. I tried digiscoping it but the result wasn't worth posting. I have an even worse photo of a barn owl (also seen yesterday) but I got good views of it hunting.

100+ Fieldfares flew west 'chucking' away as they went. I didn't find any bearded tits though (my main reason for going).

Above: I digiscoped this image - I got the frame I wanted of the top of a tree in the sunset but I also managed (accidentally) to catch the flash on the scope lens to create this interesting image.

I also took these ...normal... images of the spectacular sunset.

Today, I popped over to the site to see what was going on during daylight. 40+ Fieldfare arrived and left. I sent a fox fleeing away from me. Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers were around, as were Jays. The usual big flocks of tits were moving around noisily.

Hopefully next weekend I will have more news about a particular species of bird that I saw there today (and there were lots of these winter visitors. A feeding station is now set up & could help my ringing efforts.

I also made a quick visit to Priory Country Park (well, a long one if you count the hour I spent talking to Jane the ranger who used to be a Volunteer Officer for me at BTCV!) to fill the feeders there.

Monday, 8 November 2010

A weekend near Aylesbury

One and a half days ringing and 88 birds of 19 species were ringed at Edgcott, near Aylesbury. The site is a 15 year old woodland plantation crisscrossed with rides where nets can easily be erected.

Blackbird 10
Blue Tit 9
Bullfinch 14
Chaffinch 2
Dunnock 3
Goldcrest 5
Goldfinch 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Great Tit 2
Greenfinch 1
Jay 1
Long Tailed Tit 19
Marsh Tit 1
Redpoll 3
Redwing 9
Robin 1
Song Thrush 1
Treecreeper 1
Wren 4

My favourites were Redpoll (unexpected) and Jay but I was also pleased with a Treecreeper and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

We also picked up a Goldcrest and Blue Tit that had been ringed elsewhere & not by us - I'd be very interested to find out where in Britain they have come from.

Above: One of three Redpoll.

Above: A Jay - for some reason Blogger has rotated this photo and I can't get it to change. Humph! I'll try again another time.

Above: Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Thanks to Dave for finding the site & helping.