Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Going away...

I'm off on travels on Thursday. Hoping for some decent birds and great photographs from a trip to Extremadura (Spain) - some of which I will share with you in May.

When I get back, it will be straight back into work and then the CES ringing season starts.

Recent ringing has seen me at Priory Country Park - a pre CES session producing 27 birds including Dunnock, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit Chaffinch, Blackbird, Chiff Chaff (4) and Blackcap (8). One Blackcap was a male bird first ringed here last year on 20th July.

It has been slow at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve with catches of 8, 7 and 4. The Magpie you will have seen a picture of in a previous post. Otherwise, last weekend (15th) I was hoping for but didn't get the first Whitethroats and Grasshopper Warblers as they were both present on the 16th April last year. The weather has been different this year though and is apparently delaying the arrival of some species.

Other recent news is of a Goldcrest control trapped on 17th Dec at PCP - it was first ringed on 10/09/11, at Flamborough Head, East Yorkshire! 98 days, 221km south.
Nice one!

Friday, 6 April 2012

Something to Pica pica your interests!

Earlier in the year, one Pica pica got away at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve. Not so this time and this bird is the latest addition to the species ringed list for the site (the 6th added this year so far and the 40th in total).

Above: Magpie (Pica pica).

I can't really remember how it started but I always want to call them Eipgam's or variations thereof. I guess it's my mind working away in a backwards way.

There isn't anything else to report from the ringing totals (low numbers but two retrap Great Spotted Woodpeckers). A check of what else was around produced a sighting of 2 wheatears in the big sheep field.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Spring Migration

Spring migration for birds in 2012 is definitely underway. The first Chiff Chaff's started appearing 2-3 weeks ago and Blackcaps are moving through. In the last couple of days, Willow Warblers have started arriving (though as yet I haven't ringed this species this year). Large numbers of more species will arrive in the next month and I hope to catch up with Grasshopper Warblers and Whitethroat (at SSNR) before going on holiday towards the end of April.

Above: A Male Blackcap

Above: A female Blackcap - out of 10 ringed at Priory Country Park in the last 2 weekends, only 1 (this one) has been female. Several were carrying fat suggesting they haven't finished their migration yet.

A few Chiff Chaff's have also been trapped, including one ringed at Priory CP last year.

Reed Buntings are not one of the species you would immediately associate with spring, but in March Reed Buntings make their appearance at feeding stations. I first noticed this last year at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) as in March and April this species was caught in the feeding station net rides whilst for the rest of the year they were absent from this area. I have read reports of Reed Buntings found at Garden feeders during this time also. The same occured this year at SSNR and at Priory Country Park (PCP).

Above: This pair of Reed Buntings were ringed at SSNR.

Tonight I recieved confirmation that a Blue Tit (ring no. Y230511) caught at Priory Country Park on 7th Sept 2011 was originally ringed at Willington, Bedfordshire on 3rd July 2011, 66 days earlier, 3km away (west). Originally caught by MT, I may even have attended this ringing session! This isn't a significant movement but it was the first of 3 birds I have now caught with somebody else's ring on. Here's hoping for more!

There's not been a great deal else to report except for a Ringing Demo held at Priory Country Park on the last Sunday of March where we were lucky enough to demo a Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and the first Blackcap of the year on a foggy morning (it didn't start that way!).