Tuesday, 28 February 2012

A rare day!

Ringing at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve this year has been interesting to say the least. Several new species for the site have been ringed (Starling, Brambling, Mistle Thrush). Of these, I am told the Brambling is currently the only known record of this species in Bedfordshire this year so far. Lesser Redpolls have been coming to the feeders, Siskin numbers are way down on last year and the first bird ringed elsewhere (Chaffinch) has been caught at SSNR.

So today I took a day off work and decided to add more chapters to this short story and today's chapter is a rare one!

Numbers wise, it started off slowly and picked up a bit mid morning.

Above: It's always a good day when I catch a Siskin (on the right) or a Lesser Redpoll (on the left) and today these two were in the net at the same time.

For the third time in 3 days, I caught a new species for the site...

Above: A Common (Mealy) Redpoll. All the previous redpoll's I've caught have been of the Lesser variety. If you are unsure on field identification, the easiest way to tell them apart is that Lesser Redpolls are smaller with mostly brown plumage whilst the Common or Mealy Redpoll is larger and mainly grey in colour.

This bird and a Great Tit formed a small and impromtu ringing demonstration to two delighted passers by who took an interest in what I was doing.

After the Common Redpoll, another new species for the site (and for me) was the next bird out of the net and it was a rarity. There are only a handful of birds of this species in the county and are nationally scarce. I have never seen one before and it is a rare day indeed that one is ringed. I am told only 6 have been ringed in Bedfordshire since 1981, the last of which was ringed in 1992 - 20 years ago!

Above: A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

I'd always fancied catching one of these at this site since I started ringing there. The River Flit passes through the site and LSW's have been reported up and downstream and within 5 miles of this site. I was only saying to Amanda on Sunday the very same thing! Funny how things work out sometimes!

Above: Lucky git aren't I?!?

Above: A cheeky photograph with the newly installed interpretation board!

A number of Jays were seen. 2 Woodcock were flushed in Upper Alders (wet woodland), lots of fieldfare about, skylarks were singing, 2 buzzards and 2 Little Owls were seen. One that missed the nets (thankfully) was a Pheasant. One that got away was Sparrowhawk - would have been a site first but it extracted itself about two seconds after I realised something large was in the net!

Totals for the day in order of appearance: New (retrap)

Long Tailed Tit 2 (1)
Blue Tit 0 (4)
Robin 0 (1)
Coal Tit 1 (1)
Goldfinch 3 (0)
Great Tit 2 (1)
Wren 1 (0)
Lesser Redpoll 2 (0)
Siskin 1 (0)
Common Redpoll 1 (0)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 1 (0)
Chaffinch 2 (0)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (1)

25 birds of 13 species - a good variety.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Turdus viscivorus

Today I met Amanda at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR). The first bird of the day was a Chaffinch. It turns out this Chaffinch was ringed somewhere other than SSNR and by somebody else other than me.

This is the first time I've caught somebody else's bird at SSNR and I'll be very interested to hear where it came from (it did have a British ring on it).

A rare Coal Tit and Greenfinch were good to get. Before Amanda left, she helped me put a net up in a new location decided upon by observations (both on the day and previous).

After Amanda left, I caught a site ringing first - Starling. Presumably coming to the peanuts, this bird was caught in my normal netting area.

Above: Starling

It was late lunchtime by now and I wanted to be back home by 3pm to see the Carling Cup final coverage. So, after ringing the Starling, I took down the usual nets and went to the new net site. It had caught something...

Above: Mistle Thrush - Turdus viscivorus

Another site first and a ringing 'tick' for me (my 4th self caught tick - all of which have been at SSNR). I couldn't have done it without help so thanks go to Amanda.

All in all, I was very pleased with the day's efforts and it was topped off by Liverpool winning the football.

Today's totals:

Chaffinch 4 (0) and 1 control
Dunnock 1 (3)
Great Tit 1 (4)
Coal Tit 1 (0)
Greenfinch 1 (4)
Blue Tit 2 (0)
Goldfinch 4 (1)
Starling 1 (0)
Mistle Thrush 1 (0)

25 birds of 9 species.

Yesterday, I was at Priory Country Park. On the non-bird front, I saw a Stoat! On the bird front, in order of appearance, ringing stoatals were: New (Retrap)

Blue Tit 9 (9)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (4)
Dunnock 1 (4)
Blackbird 1 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Bullfinch 2 (2)
Great Tit 11 (8)
Wren 0 (1)

53 birds of 8 species.