Sunday, 28 December 2014

Ringing at Castle Eaton 20th December 2014

Hi, ringing at farmland sites is one of the best things in Wiltshire, Winter is the prime time as well with birds flocking from all the local Hawthorn, Blackthorn and other shrubs to particular hot spots. Today was no exception with over 200 birds ringed with Matt's previous estimate being only 70! It was largely dominated by Yellowhammers, Chaffinches and surprisingly a record catch of Bullfinches.

Frost covered the ground which proved to be  disaster with my hands being absolutely frozen, this problem with my hands was first found out in September while ringing on the Salisbury Plain. My Mum gets effected by Reynolds syndrome, I never thought I had it until them when just a bit of cold caused my hands to freeze up a bit and made my little finger (when my fingers are straight) move away from my ring finger, how strange!

Anyway! Back to the birds, while setting up the nets we already heard some Tree Sparrows wriggling around in the shrubs. Our first catch included none of these rare little cousins of the House Sparrow as they're late starters, in other words lazy! However, Yellowhammers (which breed in some of the highest densities in the country round here) were in full force with a total of 55 by the end of the day which is a respectable catch until we visit Windmill Hill by the sounds of it.

I just about scraped through the first round without having to bale out through my hands! The next few round had a few more beautiful birds with a total of 16 rosy Bullfinches and 9 Tree Sparrows with the odd Reed Bunting, totaling 11 by the end if the long day. An unusual occurrence was 12 Robins inc. one re-trap which was 3 years old. The blue devils were around too, nibbling at my fingers as if they were a hard gobstopper!

So a grand day with me only having to watch one round while trying to warm my hands up. Here are the totals thanks to
: Yellowhammer 55 (2), Tree Sparrow 8 (1), House Sparrow 4, Bullfinch 16, Chaffinch 34, Reed Bunting 11, Goldfinch 1, Greenfinch 4, Dunnock 12, Blackbird 7, Robin 12 (1), Redwing 2, Wren 2, Goldcrest 2, Blue Tit 23 (1), Great Tit 10

Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Ringing at Hannington 6th December 2014

Hi, it was very cold morning, with frost left on Matt's car and ice covering over the puddles. A few Tawny Owls were calling around the clusters of trees. We also saw a couple of Woodcock finding their little hiding spot for the day.

Our ringing team was Anna, Matt and I with Matt's wife helping us out by recording, great work! There were a lot Finch flocks around this resulted in a nice balanced catch of Tits and finches. There was only one slight problem, I didn't bring my SD card... Thankfully Matt had his phone on him so was able to take photos of the best birds. Due to the Tawny Owls calling Matt attempted to catch one/ it by tape luring. This method had been really unlucky for us with them not even replying or dodging the net. He sent me back after 10 minutes or so and there it was in the 2nd to top shelf! I tried to keep it in but it flew out again then thankfully it went in again. I was relieved to say the least!
As you can tell it really did want a sleep! One star attraction though was the number of Redwings that made their way into our nets.58 in total thanks to the famous Latvian lure. 

One thing that has proven to cause me great trouble is the cold, my fingers can barely move! To counteract this from happening Matt brought a long an electrical heater, it sure did work!

Here is the full list that we ringed, thanks to Tawny Owl 1, Redwing 58, Song Thrush 2, Blackbird 2, Tree Sparrow 11 (1), House Sparrow 14 (1), Chaffinch 18, Bullfinch 0 (3), Goldfinch 2, Reed Bunting 1, Yellowhammer 4 (1), Robin 8 (2), Dunnock 7, Blue Tit 17 (10), Great Tit 5 (6 ), Woodpigeon 1

Sorry for the late post, I've had a lot of school work recently so haven't got round to posting!

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Bedwyn Commoon (Savernake Forest) & WOS 40th Anniversary meeting 29th Novemeber 2014

Hi, what a day! The number of birds was astounding and the quality was impressive to say the least! Our first stop was Bedwyn Common, part of the great Savernake Forest. It as usual (it seems for this winter) was very mild and did make it easier for me, as I seem to be disabled from ringing once I'm cold!

After we had cleared the rides for 7 nets, 2 for Redwing, 1 for Goldcrests and the rest for anything else, it was off! Now it was dawn and we had already seen some migratory birds including redwing and Woodcock both fly just over the nets. Paul A told me that one flew into it and popped out because it wasn't a wader net! That was annoying and just after he said that a big blob was found at the bottom shelf, you guessed it Woodcock! We extracted a few other birds on the way, being mostly Blue Tits.

Our first few net rounds were incredible, Tit after Tit after Tit did prove repetitive at times but was sure good practice in extractions, at one point Matt had to say sit down to me because I wasn't much use at the time and there were far to many birds in the net! Once we extracted a few rounds we started the ringing, it was an epic...

We ringed 31 Redwing in total which is a pretty impressive, using the ever more profound Latvian lure. One Redwings however, caught our attention, "111 wing" Adam stated (which is unusually short) we took a good look and noticed the supercillium was less buff and a clean white also it has less streaking on the breast, we suspect it to bo a different subspecies, I will inform you otherwise.

After a few Redwing it was the grand reveala wader that was found in the woods...
A Woodcock, and the first time I've ever seen it properly. All the time it has been fleeting views, this time I was allowed to have a fantastic examination. 
I was even allowed another "head on view"!
We checked the wing as well...
What a fantastic bird ay? Tits had become a pest now and alarmed Matt! So we quickly extracted the last remaing few until we reached an absolutely ridiculous value... 300! 
This bird didn't make the trip any easier! So another fantastic day with loads of things to be happy about.

Here is the full list, thanks to: 

Woodcock 1, Jay 1, Redwing 31, Blue Tit 111 (7), Coal Tit 39 (5), Marsh Tit 2 (2), Great Tit 25 (1), Long Tailed Tit 9, Treecreeper 1, Goldcrest 16, Nuthatch 3, Chaffinch 26 (1), Bullfinch 2, Robin 6 (2), Blackbird 2 (1), Dunnock 6 (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 

WOS 40th Anniversary 

Following on from the ringing session Matt and I went to the 40th Anniversary of WOS. It was great to meet up with some local birders, some were incredibly knowledgeable. I met up with Peter Cranswick - Programme Manager of Threatened Species for WWT, he was greast to talk to. I don't know yeat but I'm hopeful that he has saved a slot for me and my work experience there, fingers crossed! 

Another interesting Woman who told me about the Swift Project in Bradford on Avon. She gave me some useful tips & tricks. Recently I have been looking at wood hinges and nails for making the boxes, all I need now is to contact WOS!

Thanks for nearly 5000 views guys!