Friday, 20 February 2015

Salisbury Plain (centre) bird ringing 24th January 2015

Hi, I met up with Matt at a reasonable time of 8 a few weeks back for a nice gentle days ringing. Tom (a possible new trainee)and Andrew (a trainee near C permit ringer from another Wiltshire ringing group) made up the team. Our location was a beautiful farmland site in the rolling Marlborough Downs.

It was a varied ringing session with a pleasing number of birds but of good quality. 2 hours before this Matt had been out with the farmer "lamping" for Woodcock and Golden Plover. They came back succesful in some respects with there target species, a Woodcock had been caught. As usual Matt was grinning like a Cheshire cat this always tells you that he has done something! This time he told us that the Woodock he caught was in one hand, that it flew off then he caught it "with my true natural hunter gatherer instincts". Knowing that he caught a Bittern by pretty much doing a rugby dive and catching the bird (with no injuries) it's not much of a surprise. He also came back with a little present, Fieldfare my favourite Thrush.This one was mine, and what a bird, in some respects I feel a bit bad ringing a bird that a) Matt has to get up at an unearthly hour and b) the time it took him. But hey ho, if he lets me I'm not letting it go! Unfortunatley I wasn't able to use my camera this as I argued with my Dad, it happens, but of course I was right! I will us Matts images, thanks to him, check out his blog at:
( His grin though was when he only got to a few feet of Golden Plover that he has never ringed, surprisingly. Even though he's ringed the only record of an American Golden Plover in Gambia! That's mental, to put it into perspective!)
Just look at those markings, this was real sunner, shame it wanted my nose off, "look I know I'm brilliant Fieldfare but not that close" ;). Then off came another bag and Matt pulled out the show stopper.
You don't see this very often. But I've seen it twice now! The farmer got to ring this, how unfair... No, my time will come, I don't mind, as long as I see it I think.

The nets today were set up in one mixed crop specifically for finches which at the end of day proved too good for birds, so much so we only caught one Linnet! The other was set in a small crop field. Thankfully this proved more succesful and caught us a trio of Starlings. What was brilliant was that they were different ages and genders so showed us the variation. Out of a juvenile male, adult male and adult female the female was my favourite! It was the composition of the purple sheen of the head with no white streaks and speckled body.

So at the end of the day out of  300 Linnets, 40 Corn Buntings, 200 Yellowhammer, we caught this much credit again to Matt: Woodcock 1, Fieldfare 1, Starling 3, Yellowhammer 8, Chaffinch 8, Linnet 1, Reed Bunting 2, Blackbird 4, Song Thrush 1, Robin 3

The best bird however, was this beautiful dumpy thing, I may present Charlotte

Her kids gave us a nice sausage dosage to make us last the morning, and gosh they were almost as beautiful as her!

But seriously we did see a male Merlin which was my first one in Wiltshire ever, wow!

1 comment:

  1. Great blog post Alex , impressive numbers of Buntings :)