Tuesday, 29 March 2011

29th March 2011 - Willow Feeding and Another Control

A session at home on Saturday (26th), showed that the birds are starting to move off and claim territories with just 42 birds ringed of seven species.  Highlights included a few Chaffinch and Goldfinch that were probably migrants with notable fat scores (which I am hoping will be recaught in Sweden!!), a Goldcrest which had been singing all morning and another Great Spotted Woodpecker.  Also a number of the Blue Tits had obviously been feeding in willows and were facial covered with pollen (below).

Yesterday (28th), another trip onto Duke's Warren at Leith Hill was very fruitful catching 43 new birds which was mainly all Lesser Redpoll, but also included a Siskin and a stunning male Brambling (below).

Two retraps were of Lesser Redpoll ringed here last week and one ringed at Broadmoor on 1st February, but another control Lesser Redpoll was also caught, X689677, making that six controls since New Years Eve!  Other sightings included two roding Woodcock as I was putting up the net and a pair of Woodlark displaying over my car!

Birds ringed:
Chaffinch - 7
Blue Tit - 19
Goldfinch - 6
Great Tit - 5
Greenfinch - 4
Goldcrest - 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 39
Brambling - 1
Dunnock - 1
Siskin - 1

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

23rd March 2011 - Home, Away, Home and on the Hill

Just before flying off to Bulgaria for a week skiing on 12th, I managed to squeeze in a couple of hours ringing in the garden which resulted in 24 new birds of six species, highlighted by my first two Song Thrush of the year and five House Sparrow (below).  These were also new for the year and the first time I have caught House Sparrows here outside of the autumn and start of winter.
Bulgaria was a blast and incredibly cheap and the gondolas up into the mountains was a great place to spot birds with regular sightings of Black Woodpecker, Nutcracker and Crested Tit.  Whilst around the village Serin, Cirl Bunting, Crossbill, Woodlark and Ring Ouzel were everywhere, with a group of c100 of the latter on one day including a male with an almost completely white head!  Not a ringing or biding trip though!!
On return, had a short ringing session at home on each morning on 20th, 21st and 22nd producing 21 new birds of eight species with highlights being another Song Thrush and a female Brambling (below).  This is my second Brambling caught here with the previous being another female in early 2009!
This morning I ventured back onto the heath at Leith Hill and in three hours of sunshine managed to catch 27 new birds of which 13 were Siskin and 11 were Lesser Redpoll (below).  The Siskin were showing a vast array in weights from a normal 11.8g to the huge 16.3g of a bird that was very heavily laden with fat stores indicating a migrant.  An interesting catch was a retrap Siskin from twelve days ago which had jumped from 11.9g to 13.2g with the addition of fat stores obviously planning on migration soon.  Also caught was not one but three control Lesser Redpoll!  The first, L758184, was ringed by Wes Attridge 5km away in Capel just nine days ago on 4th March, and details of the other two X281474 and L794934 will be posted as soon as information comes through.  There was at least one unringed Common Redpoll present, as well as a Chiffchaff, two Brambling and a singing Woodlark.
Birds Ringed:
Dunnock - 1
Chaffinch - 5
Blue Tit - 19
Coal Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 6
Great Tit - 2
Brambling - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 11
Siskin - 13
Long-tailed Tit - 1
House Sparrow - 5
Greenfinch - 5
Song Thrush - 3

Saturday, 12 March 2011

11th March 2011 - Swans and Finches

Yesterday (10th), I ringed at a new site Elmer's Pond in Ockley for which I aided in catching and ringing the family of Mute Swans that were here (first for the year).  It was quite an event as the adult male spent most of the time chasing the two youngsters which eventually helped us to catch the birds as they were forced out onto the land making them easier to corner and catch (below).  The parents were then a bit more sedate although hard to tempt towards the bank, although the adult male finally came to the edge in an attempt to attack an unsuspecting dog that was being walked past.  The first time I have managed to catch a swan with a dog!!!  The adult female was left unringed as in the past it was attacked by a gang of kids which has left it with just one wing and never leaves the pond.

Then this morning, I spent two hours before work on the Duke's Warren at Leith Hill where I managed to catch just nine birds, but this included five Siskin (below) and another Common Redpoll.  This is now the fifth Common Redpoll ringed on the hill since Christmas!  Other exciting observations on the hill today was a Woodcock, 14 Buzzard in the air together, a singing male Firecrest in the Rhododendron Wood and a group of about 40 Crossbill, including at least ten juveniles, that were feeding just above the net whilst I was ringing.  Maybe I will be lucky enough to catch one of those in the future...
Birds ringed:
Mute Swan - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 1
Common Redpoll - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 1
Siskin - 5

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

8th March 2011 - 'A' Permit and Sparrowhawk

No local ringing done this week as a trip to see the my wife's family in Warrington combined with me being assessed for my 'A' permit on the Friday afternoon and Saturday morning at Woolston Eyes.  A big thanks to trainer Dave Riley, no only for doing my assessment, but for also passing me.  Yippee!  Also thanks to trainees Zoe Houghton and Liz Kerr who were willing for me to be acting 'Ringer in Charge' for the two days.  I now just await confirmation from the Ringing Committee.

Woolston is a great place, which I have been visiting occasionally over the last two years when in the area with species highlights such as Water Rail and Willow Tit.  We almost were prevented from leaving the site on the Friday evening when a Barn Owl that was flying around the whole afternoon decided to land in the middle of the access track refusing to move until I had to get out of the car and shoo it off!!

Back in Horsham, Jake managed to read a ring on an adult male Sparrowhawk at Warnham LNR on Wednesday (2nd March) which turned out to have been ringed about a metre from where it was seen on 18th August 2009 as a second year bird.  Almost more interestng is that although there has been ringing done at Warnham LNR since 1987 this was the first and only Sparrowhawk to have been caught here, which has always astounded us as there are so many about.

Adult male Sparrowhawk by Jake Everritt: