Saturday, 8 December 2012

Hot on the heels...

... of the Strasbourg ringed Blackcap last weekend, today I caught a bird with a Brussels ring on! Not a Blackcap this time but one I've been hoping for since I first started catching Siskins at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR). Siskins here can prove very elusive when it comes to ringing them.

The area is full of mature Alders and as a consequence, the Siskins a) have lots of natural food and b) stay above net height most of the time.

When I do catch them, it is an entirely random event - the only reason I can offer is that, possibly, a bird of prey (Kestrel or Sparrowhawk) has spooked them whilst they've been near the netting area and have consequently flown lower and left with a ring on. Evidence for this being I've also caught a Kestrel at the same time as my previous highest single round catch of Siskin. This does not hold all the time though as they must come to the feeders occasionally.

Today I caught my highest single round catch ever (2 x 60ft and 1 x 30ft nets only). This also included my single highest round totals of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll.


Above: My ringing station with 40 bird bags, each with a bird in (about 20 birds was my previous high)! At the nets, I was faced with extracting 19 Siskin, 12 Lesser Redpoll + assorted others. It was a big surprise and I had to be quick!

A tip for other ringers who ring out of the back of their cars - I have plastic hooks (upside down so that the hooks are the right way up when the boot is open) stuck on the back window. They need to have very good adhesive and they work remarkably well. 4 for 99p was a very good investment!

 Above: The star bird from Brussels - a female Siskin.

Above: One of several male Lesser Redpolls. I've now ringed 61 at SSNR this year.

I have found ringing this year, particularly at SSNR, has been very rewarding. I've added a number of new species to the ringing list for this site such as Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, House Martin, Brambling & Common Redpoll (there are a few more). Each one has been charming in it's own way and brings back memories. Adding to an already successful day:

 Above: A new species ringed at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve - Linnet.

Above: The white in the primary feathers extends to the shaft in males - as in this one above. It had a hint of red on its breast, also indicating it is a male.

The Linnet was caught late on and I am hopeful of ringing more of this species here.

Todays totals are as follows (retraps in brackets):

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (0) - the third new one this month
Wren 0 (1)
Dunnock 0 (1)
Blackbird 3 (1)
Song Thrush 2 (0) - 4 this month constitutes a major increase at this site!
Goldcrest 1 (1) - the first retrap for this site therefore a site longevity record!
Blue Tit 5 (10)
Great Tit 0 (1) - I was surprised this was the only one I caught!
Chaffinch 2 (0)
Goldfinch 3 (0)
Siskin 18 (1 foreign control)
Linnet 1 (0) - a first ringing record for the site
Lesser Redpoll 22 (1) - only the second retrapped at this site & will be a site longevity record
Reed Bunting 1 (0)

76 birds - 59 new, 16 retraps and 1 control of 14 species. I now need 55 handlings at SSNR to reach 1000 for the year. It is probably now possible to do this in one visit, though it may well take 2. It's now looking more achievable!

Finally, this Blog is very close to 10,000 page views (only six more to go). I hope all my page viewers have enjoyed reading my mutterings and bird related adventures and will continue to tune in!

1 comment:

Errol said...

Bloomin' 'eck, the lad done well!