Monday, 28 July 2014

Ringing: Marlborough Downs 21st June 2014

Hi, yet another early morning but worth it....

Matt, both the Paul's, and I went To the Marlborough downs carrying on the Tree Sparrow project.
We First ringed a few TS pulli then went on to a fantastic equestrian farm that had an amazing population of Swallow. We ringed a few pulli that were amazing.

Another surprise was in store though we went up to a large metal barn that had two horses in training. All looked normal until further inspection revealed 3 kestrels sat on the supports. Matt swiftly used his ladder and climbed to collect them. While he was getting all of them the woman told us that the pair of kestrels had been nesting their for 3-4 years, which proves their reluctance to stay here. Matt had come down by now and surprised us with 5 beautiful chicks that did have an attraction to his hand! I wasn't able to ring these because of their vicious beak and talons and lack of experience.

Brilliant day out that really built my confidence in holding the TS pulli.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Swindon STW & Marlborough Downs 14th June 2014

Hi, I went bird ringing expecting a marathon, I was right...

I arrived at Swindon STW at 6 O'clock in the morning then finished at 19:30! I was with Welsh Paul, matt and Simon. The morning started off already at a fast pace, catching a few juveniles. Such as the Dunnock; Robin and Blue Tit. Reed Warblers were out and about, with some sedge warblers and whitethoats. I found a cukoo that flew once again just over the top of net 1.

More and more birds started to appear including re-encounters such as a 5 year old Blue Tit and a Bullfinch. On our second to last round Matt and I came across a family of Lesser Whitethroates, 4 juveniles and two adults. next we went to net 1 that went across the water. A pair of Bullfinches had managed to get stuck also a small dazzling bird flew directly into the middle of the net, a magnifacent Kingfisher! Yet another fantastic bird that has a fascinating defence. I ringed one Lesser Whitethroat but wasn't able to ring the Kingfisher because of its unique ring. After watching it wiggle its head there was another surprise in store...

After taking down all of the nets down Simon the nest finder had a surprise in store for us.  So all four of us started walking through the nettles and tall grass until we stopped for this "special" nest! Simon the warden of this reserve started to peel away some of the grass to reveal this little ball, obviously I had no idea what it was! However, after a few minutes of serious ringing from Simon and Mattthey told me it was a Gropper nest, apparantely only 8 are found in the UK each year, what a "special" find!

After the excitement of the morning we had even more jobs, ringing Barn Owls and Tree Saprrows on the Marlborough Downs. I ringed 10 Tree Sparrow pulli and saw 16 different Barn Owls in total, Amazing! I also saw four new birds, the Grey Partridge, Red-Legged Partridge, Yellow Wagtail and Corn Bunting!

Again another surprise a Buzzard nest high up a Pine tree. Matt climbe it with seemingly no trouble at all, he didn't tell me what was up there but after him reaching the top with a large satchel and a few short screams it was clear what he was looking for. After coming back down he revealed the mystery bird to us and showed us a photo of the m on top of the nest. The most amazing thing about it though was that underneath the nest a Tree Sparrow had grooved a little nest! Welsh Paul and Matt ringed these because of their sharp talons and speciality.

Thanks to Matt for another brilliant day out.