Wednesday, 30 December 2009

28th - 30th December 2009 - Goose, Swans, Gulls and a Roost

On 28th Sue Cocker found a Greylag Goose at Warnham LNR with a white colour ring '13L' which was ringed as an adult at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve on 12th June 2006 and has been seen here in early 2008 and 25th September 2009, but also at Scotney Court GP near Rye, Sussex in January 2009 (map below). But this wasn't all, she also found a new pair of Mute Swan at Southwater CP of which the male had a ring which turned out to be the same bird that was here on 4th June 2009 which was originally ringed by us at the Capel reserve as an immature in 2006. He is still present today, well done Sue!
Unfortunately, this wasn't the only Mute Swan recorvery as on 29th, I found the remains of Z18775 at Southwater CP having been taken by a fox. This was the last of this year's cygnets that we finally managed to catch here on 30th November. This now leaves this family with only three cygnets down from six with one going missing at a very young age (probably died), one killed by a human attack and this latest loss.
Whilst today, 30th December, Jake visited and again found the Norwegian Black-headed Gull at Southwater CP which we have had details back. Amazingly, it was ringed as a nestling at Tangen, Rogaland, Norway on 11th June 1994 (map above) and hasn't been seen since until where has it been for the last 15 years? On the otherhand, the Herring Gull with orange 013 on blue colour ring which was at Warnham LNR last week was ringed at Stoke Orchard Landfill, Gloucestershire as a 7 on 26th March 2005, then seen in Hove, Sussex on 5th June 2007, Beddington SF, London on 17th Oct 2008 (map below).
This evening Jake, myself and Stuart did the roost at Chesworth Farm and ringed seven birds, a Goldfinch, five Reed Bunting and a Blackbird.

Monday, 28 December 2009

28th December 2009 - Eight More for the Garden Including a D Ring

A brief ringing this morning in my garden before family arrived for another Christmas meal produced another eight new birds with the highlight being a Jay (above) being the D ring that I missed yesterday. This is only the second that I have ringed in the garden which was an adult in December last year, although there was another that escaped before I could get to it a couple of months ago!! The one today was an immature which had really obvious moult contrast in the outer greater coverts, primary coverts and flight feathers (below).

Again, there were no new Blue or Great Tits but all but one of the retraps were ringed last winter as was seen yesterday as well as an adult male Great Spotted Woodpecker (below) that was ringed as an immature on 19th November 2008 and not seen since. There seems to be a very clear difference at present of a winter population of seemingly local species that doesn't seem to be present in the summer months.
Birds ringed:
Dunnock - 1
Chaffinch - 2
Coal Tit - 1
Greenfinch - 2
Blackbird - 1
Jay - 1

Sunday, 27 December 2009

27th December 2009 - Thirteen More For the Garden

Today I had a very well earned break from the Christmas responsibilities with a relaxed day of ringing in my garden where I managed to catch 13 new birds covering all of the first five ring sizes. The unusual thing about the catches today was the complete lack of new Blue or Great Tit, but the comparatively high catch of Blackbirds which must have moved in with the cold weather (adult male above).
Another interesting catch was a retrap adult Coal Tit (above) that I ringed as a 5 here almost exactly a year ago on 10th January having not caught it since. At dusk, as I was taking the nets down, 3 Woodcock flew low over the tops of the trees. I will need to check the fields again soon to see if I can attempt to dazzle some!
Birds ringed:
Chaffinch - 1
Goldfinch - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 2
Greenfinch - 4
Blackbird - 3
Song Thrush - 1

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

22nd December 2009 - A Farewell Ringing Day

To mark the end of Jake's contract working with me and Stuart it seemed fitting for the three of us to spend a day ringing at Warnham LNR and what a good day it was especially for thrushes and finches. The cold weather was definitely bringing them to the feeders.
The first birds caught were two new female Bullfinch which as a species seem to have done very well this year and brings us to just shy of 90 for the year! This was followed by a decent amount of Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Redpoll and especially Chaffinch. One of the adult Redpoll was very interestingly coloured with the forehead being a golden colour rather than the regular red (above).
The greatest surprise was the number of C rings we used today (ten in total) including a new Great Spotted Woodpecker (along with three retraps), two Fieldfare at dusk (first for this site) and the highlight of the day and a new bird for any of the sites a Mistle Thrush (above) which had seemingly been gorging on berries.
A House Sparrow (above) was also a great turn up for the books being only the third ringed at this site and there were a few notable retraps. These were two Marsh Tit which was a parent (below) and juvenile caught together in the summer (parent originally ringed in 2008) and two Treecreeper.
Also a bit of time was put into reading gull rings on the ice, but although at least eight colour rings were seen, and many metal rings, a combination of the bright light and the huge amount of birds resulted in only one ring being fully read. This was a Herring Gull ringed in Gloucestershire with a dark blue ring and orange lettering, although another ring which was black and white was half read and is almost certainly from France. If only it had been cloudy!!!
Birds ringed:
Bullfinch - 2
Robin - 5
Goldfinch - 3
Chaffinch - 9
Dunnock - 1
Redpoll - 5
Coal Tit - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 13
Greenfinch - 3
House Sparrow - 1
Blackbird - 6
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Mistle Thrush - 1
Fieldfare - 2
Song Thrush - 2

Monday, 21 December 2009

21st December 2009 - Chesworth and More Gulls

Myself and Stuart went to Chesworth Farm this morning and were joined by young birder Alex Glossop who has taken a huge interest in ringing (pictured below with retrap woodpecker).
After struggling for almost an hour and a half opening the frozen solid nets we finally started catching birds which were all finches with the exception of a Song Thrush and a beautiful adult male Fieldfare (below). After this Stuart and I made a brief visit to Coot Pond in an attempt to catch another Greylag Goose but they were too wary so we had to settle for another adult male Mallard.
Meanwhile Jake managed to find the German ringed Black-headed Gull again at Southwater CP and Wes managed to read rings on two Herring Gulls at Warnham LNR. The first a metal British ring while the second was a white colour ring which seems to be one of the rehab birds from Mallydams RSPCA wildlife centre at Rye!
Birds ringed:
Chaffinch - 2
Goldfinch - 7
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Greenfinch - 12
Song Thrush - 1
Fieldfare - 1
Mallard - 1

Sunday, 20 December 2009

18th and 20th December 2009 - Roost and another Gull

Wes did another roost session at Capel reserve on 18th December and caught 35 birds including another Redwing, two Song Thrush, three Blackbird (below) and eight Long-tailed Tit.
The decrease in temperatures over the last few days has led to the lakes at Warnham LNR and Soutwater CP freezing over which has made it a lot easier to see the legs of the gulls. So today I managed to find another ringed Black-headed Gull this time at Warnham LNR with a blue colour ring on its right leg (code R03V) and a metal ring on the left leg above the knee (unreadable). Initial searches seem to say that this bird was ringed in Spain.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

17th December 2009 - Firecrests again

A very brief visit this morning to Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods by Stuart, Jake and I was looking rather uneventful in the very cold weather but eventually caught just four birds! A retrap Wren from our last visit here, a retrap Robin which was ringed on our first visit in December 2008 and the highlight being 2 Firecrest both of which were first year males (above).
Birds ringed:
Firecrest - 2

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

16th December 2009 - Gull recovery

We have already had information back on the colour-ringed Black-headed Gull found at Southwater CP on 14th December. It was ringed by a Dutch scheme as a 1st year female on 20th November 2009 in Noorderplantsoen, Groningen, Holland as apparently is the first recovery they have had of over 1300 birds ringed in this scheme this year!! Where must they have all gone? Well done Jacob!

Monday, 14 December 2009

14th December 2009 - Chesworth and Southwater

Stuart and myself spent the morning ringing at Chesworth Farm and after our last visit were expecting a big catch, but the finches weren't as evident, but a sizeable haul was achieved with 71 new birds. A lot of tits, but the highlight was a new Great Spotted Woodpecker (above) and three Reed Bunting (below).
In the afternoon at Southwater CP Jacob managed to find another ringed Black-headed Gull (below - we are getting better with the telescope and camera!), this time with a red colour ring (code=R.3) which looks like it has come from The Netherlands. Will he ever find one ringed in Britain is is he going for a bird from every European country!!
As well as this the pair of Mute Swan flew in from The Quarry, the female of which we ringed a couple of months ago, but the male has evaded us. As soon as they landed on the main lake the resident family took to chasing them up and down until they had pushed them out onto the bank at which stage Stuart managed to expertly catch and ring the male (the male sporting its new ring below).
Birds ringed:
Reed Bunting - 3
Chaffinch - 4
Blue Tit - 38
Great Tit - 10
Goldfinch - 4
Redpoll - 4
Dunnock - 1
Greenfinch - 6
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Mute Swan - 1

Sunday, 13 December 2009

13th December 2009 - Avian Pox Again

Today I spent the day ringing in my garden and managed to catch 49 new birds which unfortunately contained two birds showing signs of avain pox. Surprisingly, they weren't the normal Great Tits that I have caught over the last couple of years, but a Coal Tit and a Dunnock. Birds with avian pox are identified by unsightly scabby growths generally around the head, but sometimes on the legs, feet or wings and so far they have all been first year birds. Whether this is because birds don't manage to survive or whether they grow out of it is unknown.
The Coal Tit (above) had growths on its chin, which seems to be the most common place, and right cheek.
The Dunnock was more stricken with growths on the chin, around the left eye (above) and on the feet (below).
Birds ringed:
Chaffinch - 1
Dunnock - 2
Coal Tit - 2
Great Tit - 9
Blue Tit - 26
Robin - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Nuthatch - 1
Greenfinch - 6

Friday, 11 December 2009

11th December 2009 - Yet Another Linnet

Whilst on a run Stuart, Jacob and I did the roost at Southwater CP again and caught 11 birds highlighting with a splendid male Linnet. Interestingly this is the first male that we have caught in this roost that has got any red markings on the breast (above) and an obvious moult contrast with two old greater coverts making it a 3 (below).
Elsewhere, I managed to find a male Firecrest at Warnham LNR by the visitor centre.
Birds ringed:
Great Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 7
Linnet - 1
Wren - 1
Greenfinch - 1 (right)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

9th and 10th December 2009 - Gulls and Roosts

Over the last two days Jacob, Stuart, John and myself attempted the the roost at Southwater CP and I also attempted catching birds out of roost at Warnham LNR this morning.
The Warnham attempt was very unsuccesful with only a Chaffinch and two Great Tit being ringed. The Southwater attempts were a lot better with three Blackbirds the highlight on 9th and a Linnet, a Wren (top) and another adult Redwing were highlights this evening. The Linnet was quite interesting as it had a huge seed reserve under the skin at the back of the neck (above) which was so big that it was visible from a profile photo (below).
Also over the last two days Jacob has managed to find two Black-headed Gulls at Southwater CP with rings on their legs. Amazingly, they were both international with one a 1st winter from Germany (below - poor photo) and the other an adult from Norway!
Birds ringed:
Great Tit - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Chaffinch - 1
Linnet - 1
Blackbird - 3
Redwing - 1
Wren - 1

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

8th December 2009 - Coot Pond Provides Again

Another late visit to Coot Pond was successful, although the geese have now got wise to our tactics of bread followe by more bread, but Stuart and I did manage to catch a couple of Mallard (above). These were both adult males and not surprising considering that the males always seem to push to the front for first dibs on the food!

Birds ringed:
Mallard - 2

Monday, 7 December 2009

7th December 2009 - Warnham Chaffs

The windy weather today prevented any large scale ringing so a single 60 ft net was erected for a couple of hours this morning in the garden at Warnham LNR with just 19 birds caught of four species. The highlights were three Chaffinch (female above) which were all adults and yet another Coal Tit which was also an adult.
Birds ringed:
Chaffinch - 3
Great Tit - 2
Blue Tit - 13
Coal Tit - 1

Saturday, 5 December 2009

5th December 2009 - Trees, Tits and Wings

This morning we were organising a mass tree planting event at Southwater CP for the BBC Tree O'Clock World Record Attempt - which happened to be a big success with 1217 trees planted by 74 volunteers in just under 40 minutes!

After this I got home and thought that I would have a relaxing hour ringing at the end of the day but this proved rather hectic as this involved catching 38 new birds of which most were tits.

Wes did another roost attempt at the reserve in Capel last night with the only highlights being 3 Redwing.

Birds ringed:
Blue Tit - 30
Goldfinch - 1
Dunnock - 1
Great Tit - 3
Coal Tit - 1
Greenfinch - 2

Friday, 4 December 2009

4th December 2009 - Crests and Polls

Today I went ringing at Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods and just set up two nets aiming to catch some Redpolls and Goldcrests.

Among the nine species caught, Redpolls certainly were a plenty with at least 50 around of which many were caught as well as a family of Long-tailed Tits.

The surprise highlights were the two Firecrests that came in with the Goldcrests. The first was a 1st year male (above and right) being almost the first bird of the morning and the next was a 1st year female (below).

Birds ringed:
Coal Tit - 2
Blue Tit - 6
Redpoll - 20
Robin - 1
Great Tit - 1
Firecrest - 2
Goldcrest - 3
Long-tailed Tit - 7
Wren - 1

Thursday, 3 December 2009

3rd December 2009 - Linnet Roost Again

This evening Jacob, John and myself attempted the Linnet roost again at Southwater CP and although only two birds came in this evening we caught one of them (above) whilst still putting the single 40ft net up along with two Blue Tits. Whilst a Robin that was hopping around our feet whilst putting up managed to find its way in on the second look.
As we went to take down feeling rather happy with catching 50% of the Linnets that came into roost we found a Redwing (above) and three Blackbirds (unfortunately one managed to get out)! Interestingly the 4F Blackbird (below) had a rather grey plumage indicating it was probably a continental bird. Not a bad hour of ringing with one net.

Birds ringed:
Linnet - 1
Blue Tit - 2
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 2
Redwing - 1

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

2nd December 2009 - Woodcocks and Recoveries

After a pretty dismal day I thought that I would take a little stroll around the fields near my house to look for potential Woodcock, but at present all I could find was a huge number of Rabbit and a couple of foxes! I will have to try again another night.

But, today we also got a couple of really interesting recoveries back which were as follows:

GOLDC CPN577 was ringed as a 2M on 13/10/08 at the reserve in Capel and was controlled (caught by another ringer) 356 days later as a 4M on 04/10/09 in Doncaster (South Yorkshire) which is 270km away! This is a great record for a Goldcrest and could possibly be a Scandinavian bird that has migrated over to Britain to winter on two consecutive years.

BAROW GN58867 was ringed as a 1 (chick in a nest) on 20/06/05 in Capel and unfortunately was found dead 1348 days later as a 4F on 27/02/09 in Northamptonshire which is 117km away! This is also a great record for a Barn Owl making a big movement like this.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

1st December 2009 - Finch Day

The first day that Stuart and I have been able to ring at Chesworth Farm for a few weeks due to the poor weather turned out to be very productive, probably helped by the drop in temperature!

A total of 103 new birds were caught in just over 4 hours with 4 nets. The highlights being the vast number of finches of which only about half were caught especially Goldfinch (top) and Greenfinch (above) and the relatively small number of tits. Also, a few Redpoll were caught of which were two splendid adult males (below).
Birds ringed: