Thursday, 28 January 2010

28th January 2010 - An Even Quieter Day!

Jake and I spent the morning at Warnham LNR and with five nets up caught just 20 new birds and very few retraps. The best bird was a new Coal Tit (below) of which no more than single figures get ringed here a year.
The best of the retraps was a male Great-spotted Woodpecker (below) that was ringed in May 2008 as an adult and interestingly hasn't been caught since.
In an attempt to rescue the morning we went to Southwater CP to do the roost for the first time this year and caught five Blue Tit and rescued at the end by a wonderful adult male Linnet (below), which was starting to heavily develop its red chest and forehead.

Birds ringed:
Blue Tit - 17
Great Tit - 4
Chaffinch - 2
Coal Tit - 1
Dunnock - 1
Linnet - 1

Monday, 25 January 2010

25th January 2010 - A Quieter Day Than Normal

Stuart, Jake, Eddie and I had a rather quieter morning of ringing than is usual at Chesworth Farm with just 50 birds ringed of just seven species. The highlights were a couple of Reed Bunting and Redpoll and another continental female Blackbird.

The last bird caught was a very interestingly marked first year Blue Tit (below) that had a clear fault bar on the outer tail feathers and unusually on the primary coverts. Fault bars are the result of lack of food whilst in the feather growning stage in the nest and therefore creates a weakness in the feather. The central tail feathers have been replaced with adult ones, but with the amount of wear they must have been replaced very early on, possibly before the juvenile feathers had been fully grown.
Other sightings today included a huge flock of finches which involved at least 200 Siskin, 50+ Redpoll, 5 Yellowhammer and 2 Linnet.
Birds ringed:
Reed Bunting - 2
Redpoll - 2
Chaffinch - 6
Blue Tit - 30
Great Tit - 3
Greenfinch - 5
Blackbird - 2

Thursday, 21 January 2010

21st January 2010 - Warnham Feeders, Copse and Reeds

Having not ringed much here this month I spent this morning at Warnham LNR with nets in the feeding station, copse and reedbed edge of the Millpond. I managed to catch 87 new birds of 16 species, although 19 species were caught in total.
The first bird caught was probably the best of the day being a beautiful adult female Kingfisher (above). Kingfishers are able to be sexed on the colour of the lower mandible, females being more than two-thirds orange and males more than two-thirds black. This was then closely followed by two Redwing in the copse.

After finally catching a Woodpigeon at Chesworth on Monday, today I caught two which were both adult males but interestingly there was a huge weight difference one being 554g and the other 658g.
The last bird of the morning was an adult male Goldcrest (above and below), that seemed to be in good condition considering the extreme weather that it has had to endure, having a normal weight of 5.2g and scores of 1 fat and 2 muscle.

Highlights from the retraps included a male Blackbird ringed on 9th June 2007 and three Great Spotted Woodpeckers which were all ringed in 2009 and were all in one net at once! My hands are still recovering from being drummed on!
Birds ringed:
Reed Bunting - 2
Robin - 2
Dunnock - 2
Blue Tit - 39
Redpoll - 1
Chaffinch - 9
Great Tit - 15
Goldfinch - 4
Wren - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Greenfinch - 3
Blackbird - 2
Redwing - 2
Song Thrush - 1
Kingfisher - 1
Woodpigeon - 2

Monday, 18 January 2010

18th January 2010 - Woods and Wings

Chesworth Farm this morning produced 42 new birds as always dominated by Blue and Great Tits but the first bird of the day interestingly followed suit of the last bird in my garden - a fatty and muscly Robin. After missing every time on the last three visits we finally caught a Woodpigeon (below) and very nearly a second, but it got away just as Jake reached it - sounds familiar!
Probably the best birds of the morning were two Redwing of very different weights one of 62g and the other 53g (below). Other captures included the 2007 Reed Bunting that was recaught last week although had gained 1.6g in that time.
The most interesting bird was a very unusual adult female Greenfinch (below). This bird had symmetrical amounts of orange colouring on second primary, second primary covert, outermost lesser covert, belly, vent and dusting over ear coverts and around eyes. This plumage is thought to be due to extra development of carotene in the feathers due to the particulars of its diet. It is interesting that the colouring on the wing follows the moult pattern of the second primary on both wings which seems to indicate that the bird had been eating this diet whilst growing this feather, but not before or after. An interesting paper on this occurrence in Greenfinches in Brockham, Surrey in the late 1960s can be seen here
Birds ringed:
Robin - 2
Blue Tit - 22
Chaffinch - 6
Great Tit - 6
Greenfinch - 3
Redwing - 2
Woodpigeon - 1

Sunday, 17 January 2010

17th January 2010 - Another Day at Home

With a welcome return of mild weather and temperatures almost reaching double figures, I spent the day ringing in my garden producing 35 new birds. This included another two Blackbirds (below) making a total of 15 ringed in the last 12 days in the garden which is nearly half the total ringed here in 2009!
During the cold weather weights of most birds were well up on normal as birds put on extra fat reserves, but today's birds were very much back to the norm. For example, some of the Blackbirds over the last couple of weeks have been huge with the heaviest birds being 137g, 134g and 133g while todays were 108g and 112g.
Saying this a new 1st year Robin (below) being the last bird caught of the day was not only high in fat (score 5), but also in muscle (score 3) - a migrant?
Birds ringed:
Blue Tit - 19
Goldfinch - 2
Chaffinch - 2
Coal Tit - 1
Great Tit - 3
Dunnock - 2
Robin - 1
Greenfinch - 3
Blackbird - 2

Friday, 15 January 2010

15th January 2010 - An Attempt at Leechpool

Myself and Stuart went to Leechpool and Owlbeech Woods again today to see if we could catch any more Firecrests, but there were very few birds about at all and after two hours all we caught was a single Treecreeper (below). Although this was a new species ringed at this site it was a very disappointing morning.
So I then went back home and set up a net in the garden catching 15 new birds, a third of which were Blackbirds including an adult female (below) that had characteristics of a continental bird with a greyer, oily appearance that local birds.
A Fieldfare has also claimed the area under the seed feeder as its own, defending it rather ruthlessly from the Blackbirds but allowing smaller birds to come and feed.
Birds ringed:
Treecreeper - 1
Blue Tit - 4
Goldfinch - 2
Chaffinch - 1
Greenfinch - 3
Blackbird - 5

Thursday, 14 January 2010

14th January 2010 - Another Duck

On a very rare occasion, Wes and I went ringing together today. After the Coot and Moorhen success at Coot Pond we attempted the same at Southwater CP with as many as 40 Tufted Duck, 20 Coot and 20 Moorhen, surely this would be a good catching site. Unfortunately, after 20 minutes and a few scoops of seed no such luck. They obviously get fed very well here!

So, we went back to Coot Pond to try our luck. Immediately we were surrounded by Mallards of various genetic origins, but our focus were the Moorhen and Coots all of which were far more wary than the other day. But then the single Tufted Duck that was present suddenly appeared at my feet and I wasn't going to miss the opportunity. As I grabbed it the rest of the birds scattered and this was going to be the only bird we caught, but only the third Tufted Duck to be ringed at the sites. As I ringed the two juveniles we caught last year I let Wes ring this one (below).

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

13th January 2010 - More Blackbirds

Another day at home and woke up to a new layer of deep snow! In contrast to last Wednesday there were very few winter thrushes with just 2 Fieldfare and about 20 Redwing seen, whereas Blackbirds were everywhere with at least 30 in and around the garden squabbling for optimum position under the feeders! An unsual sighting near to dusk was a Skylark that flew over calling (haven't seen one round here in a couple of months).

Obviously, I did a bit of ringing and put up the 30ft in the wood edge to the garden and managed to catch 14 new birds unsurprisingly dominated by Blackbirds.
Birds ringed:
Great Tit - 3
Chaffinch - 2
Blue Tit - 3
Blackbird - 6

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

12th January 2010 - Fulica and Gallinula

Jake and I made a visit to Coot Pond this afternoon which finally lived up to its name with us managing to catch a Coot and two Moorhen a piece. Interestingly both Coots were females and all four Moorhen were males and these were the first Coots ringed at the sites (very poor photo below).
Birds ringed:
Coot - 2
Moorhen - 4

Monday, 11 January 2010

11th January 2010 - A Winter Finch Double

Another Monday morning at Chesworth Farm produced 66 new birds which although again consisting mainly of tits also included for the first time for me both Siskin and Redpoll in the same session. And the Siskin was the first of this species to be caught at this site (below). Also for the third week running a Woodpigeon hit one of the copse nets, but got out just before reaching it!!
The best of the retraps were a Blue Tit and a Great Tit ringed here in October 2007 and a Reed Bunting ringed in November 2006.
Birds ringed:
Blue Tit - 42
Redpoll - 1
Reed Bunting - 3
Great Tit - 6
Goldfinch - 3
Chaffinch - 1
Dunnock - 1
Siskin - 1
Greenfinch - 6
Blackbird - 2

Friday, 8 January 2010

8th January 2010 - Ring Reading

A bit of ring searching at Warnham LNR today produced an interesting collection of ringed birds on the frozen Millpond including the continuing presence of Greylag Goose '13L', an adult male Mallard with a metal ring on its left leg which was only part read and a range of Herring, Common and Black-headed Gull with metal rings that were just too far away. There was also a Lesser Black-backed Gull that had a metal ring above the knee on the left leg and a small black ring at the foot of its right leg, which annoyingly I have been informed 'it must have lost a ring or three' so unfortunately is untraceable without the metal ring number!
But out of this Wes, Stuart and I did manage to find and read two colour-ringed adult Herring Gulls which interestingly have both been seen here before. The first was orange '013' on dark blue ring (above) talked about on a previous post and the other was green '1980' on orange ring which was ringed and resighted as follows:
Originally ringed on 30/11/07 at Seamer Carr Landfill,Scarborough, North Yorkshire as an adult, then reseen here on 25/02/08, 19/07/08, 11/12/2008 and 11/12/08 before being seen on 30/12/08 at Beddington SF, London then first seen at Warnham LNR on 03/02/09.
Also, got info back on one of the ringed Black-headed Gull (above) that Jake found at Southwater CP from 1st to 17th Dec 2009 which was originally ringed as a nestling at Baltrum - Ostdorf, GERMANY on 22nd June 2009 (map below).

Thursday, 7 January 2010

7th January 2010 - First Session at Warnham

Today Stuart and I spent some time ringing at Warnham LNR for the first time this year which provided 28 new birds of nine species. An influx of Blackbirds were estimated to be at least 40 although only three were caught and many more present were unringed, while retraps included a Blue Tit and two Long-tailed Tit ringed in early autumn 2008.
The highlights came in the form of an adult male Woodpigeon (above) and hopefully the first of many Siskin which have now just started coming to the feeders (immature male below).
Birds ringed:
Great Tit - 5
Goldfinch - 3
Blue Tit - 11
Chaffinch - 2
Greenfinch - 1
Blackbird - 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Woodpigeon - 1

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

6th January 2010 - A Snowy Day of Redwings

A day at home in the snow brought many birds to the garden feeders including a large amounts of finches, especially Chaffinch, and thrushes. So I put up an impromptu 30ft net in the woodland edge to the garden avoiding the feeders so the birds could continue to feed uninterrupted.
This proved very successful for Redwing (above) with a total of eight caught which is nearly half of the annual total for 2009! Also caught four Treecreeper including one new and a good number of Chaffinch.
Birds ringed:
Goldfinch - 1
Blue Tit - 8
Great Tit - 3
Chaffinch - 9
Bullfinch - 1
Coal Tit - 1
Robin - 2
Treecreeper - 1
Greenfinch - 3
Blackbird - 3
Redwing - 8
Song Thrush - 1

Wes also ringed 50 birds at the Capel reserve on 4th which consisted of mainly tits.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

5th January 2010 - The Good Start Continues

As I went down to feed the birds at Warnham LNR today, I disturbed a Moorhen towards nearby bushes and then disappear into a small outflow pipe. I crouched down and looked into the pipe which seemed to go back a long way and couldn't see the bird so I went back and got a mink trap and on return the same bird had come back out and I again disturbed it going back into the pipe. I set the trap up at the entrance blocking any gaps around the sides and five minutes later it was in!
A nice immature which wasn't sexable with very intermediate biometrics, ie. 174 wing and 122.9 tarsus and toe (above). Thanks to Jo for assisting with the ringing.

Monday, 4 January 2010

4th January 2010 - Highest Day Total

Stuart, Eddie and myself went to Chesworth this morning for the first session of the new year which turned out to be the biggest number of birds I have caught in one session since getting my 'C' permit in 2008. 110 new birds were ringed in the very cold weather which were mainly dominated by tits and finches, but also two Redwing (below).
Another interesting, but unfortunate, catch was a retrap Great Tit that had avian pox on its left thigh. What is interesting is that it didn't have the pox when originally ringed on 16th Oct 2009 (below) whereas all other birds I have ringed have already had it. My belief was that this disease was instigated in the nest, which this bird obviously wasn't!
During the day we also came very close to ringing a Barn Owl ands two Snipe that came into the pond area but just narrowly missed the nets!!
Birds ringed:
Redpoll - 2
Chaffinch - 6
Goldfinch - 14
Blue Tit - 47
Great Tit - 14
Dunnock - 1
Reed Bunting - 4
Long-tailed Tit - 3
Greenfinch - 17
Redwing - 2

Sunday, 3 January 2010

2009 - Annual Totals

Since 2005, when Wes first started ringing at the sites, 2009 was the best year in number of birds, species and spread across the sites with a total of 5740 birds ringed of 65 species. This was greatly helped with me getting my 'C' permit in November 2008 and being able to operate on my own and the addition of trainees Stuart and Jake. Highlights this year included:

Species new for the sites - Grey Heron, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Water Rail, Snipe, Redstart and Mistle Thrush.

Notable high counts - 11 Grey Wagtail, 137 Blackbird, 286 Blackcap, 375 Chiffchaff, 78 Willow Warbler, 163 Long-tailed Tit, 436 Greenfinch, 165 Redpoll and 87 Bullfinch.

A great deal of thanks go to all of the land owners who allowed us to ring on their land especially Horsham District Council and Duncan Fraser. And a big thanks to Sue Cocker, John Kirby, Kevin Attree, Barrie Watson, Gary Collier and Eddie Bew who all helped with various ringing activities.

Birds ringed:
Grey Heron - 10 nestlings
Mute Swan - 17
Greylag Goose - 1
Canada Goose - 2
Mallard - 13
Tufted Duck - 2
Sparrowhawk - 1
Water Rail - 1
Moorhen - 9
Snipe - 4
Herring Gull - 1
Common Tern - 3 nestlings
Woodpigeon - 4 + 2 nestlings
Barn Owl - 1 + 6 nestlings
Little Owl - 1 nestling
Tawny Owl - 2 nestlings
Kingfisher - 5
Green Woodpecker - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 23
Swallow - 13 + 26 nestlings
Meadow Pipit - 7
Grey Wagtail - 2 + 9 nestlings
Pied Wagtail - 32 + 5 nestlings
Wren - 122
Dunnock - 153 + 3 nestlings
Robin - 183 + 18 nestlings
Nightingale - 9
Redstart - 1
Blackbird - 122 + 15 nestlings
Fieldfare - 6
Song Thrush - 54 + 2 nestlings
Redwing - 20
Mistle Thrush - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 9
Reed Warbler - 104
Lesser Whitethroat - 6
Whitethroat - 84
Garden Warbler - 37
Blackcap - 286
Chiffchaff - 375
Willow Warbler - 71 + 7 nestlings
Goldcrest - 45
Firecrest - 5
Spotted Flycatcher - 1 + 6 nestlings
Long-tailed Tit - 163
Marsh Tit - 3
Coal Tit - 28
Blue Tit - 1296 + 223 nestlings
Great Tit - 679 + 73 nestlings
Nuthatch - 15
Treecreeper - 21
Jay - 5
Jackdaw - 3
Carrion Crow - 1
Starling - 8
House Sparrow - 61 + 9 nestlings
Chaffinch - 135 + 4 nestlings
Brambling - 1
Greenfinch - 436
Goldfinch - 284
Siskin - 40
Linnet - 6
Redpoll - 165
Bullfinch - 87
Reed Bunting - 45

December 2009 - Monthly Totals

This month proved to be rather good with a great variety of 29 species including two new species for the Horsham sites (Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush), the highest 2009 month counts for Firecrest, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Linnet. New birds as follows:

Mute Swan - 3
Mallard - 3
G S Woodpecker - 2
Meadow Pipit - 1
Wren - 4
Dunnock - 8
Robin - 13
Blackbird - 29
Fieldfare - 3
Song Thrush - 7
Redwing - 7
Mistle Thrush - 1
Goldcrest - 4
Firecrest - 4
Long-tailed Tit - 30
Coal Tit - 8
Blue Tit - 171
Great Tit - 31
Nuthatch - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Jay - 1
House Sparrow - 1
Chaffinch - 29
Greenfinch - 57
Goldfinch - 68
Linnet - 3
Redpoll - 38
Bullfinch - 3
Reed Bunting - 12

Saturday, 2 January 2010

1st January 2010 - A Great Way to Begin a Year

Firstly, information has come back on another of the Herring Gulls seen at Warnham LNR on 21st Dec which was ringed at Pitsea Landfill Site on 21st March 2009 as a 2nd winter bird having been born in 2007 and was the first recovery since being ringed.

Staying on the Herring Gull theme, a member of public came in to Warnham LNR to say that a bird was in distress on the Millpond so I went quickly to look and found that a young Herring Gull couldn't take off from the water because it was being held down by a plastic bag that had got attached to its leg!! The plastic bag was wrapped around its foot (probably picked up from the local tip) and when it landed in the water the bag filled up and the bird was then too heavy to take off! I quickly grabbed the nearest volunteer (Sue Cocker) and rowed out to the bird grabbed it rather easily and at that moment another one with the same type of plastic bag landed and was in the same predicament. So after bagging the first we then hurried over to the second grabbed it and Sue had to hold it all the way back to the shore as we had only taken one bag out with us. All of this infront of an amassed crowd of visitors who were very interested to see what we brought back (photos below).

This is the third and fourth Herring Gull that we have ringed here, all by the same means and makes me wonder how many haven't survived due to plastic bags!

Moral for the Day: Always cut handles on plastic bags when you bin them!

Birds ringed:
Herring Gull - 2