Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Hannington, bird ringing 14th March 2015 (catching up)

three - four weeks ago I woke up at a fresh time of 5:00 AM! I wasn't to pleased with that time (which I think most people would agree with) however, I had recieved a parcel a week or so before from the BTO... It had all the ringing equipment I had won from writing a letter explaining why it would mean a lot, help me out, my situation etc. So really pleased to get £180's worth of equipment!

Since it was quite a while ago and many things have happened I don't have the clearest memories... But I do remember a couple key birds that we caught :) Due to this being a farmland site our birds consisted mostly of Finches which are one of my favourites thankfully. In fact what I think I'll do is instead of giving a timeline I'll sum up a few key things we noticed, recorded & enjoyed!

First of all the Bullfinches... These beautiful yet shy creatures (you would expect) would practically blind you with their colours from a Blackthorn hedgerow, but in reality they are actually fairly secretive, and the main key feature that reveals them to me is their little white "bottoms" (rumps.) Oh, and I've just notcied that day I forgot my cameras s.d. card, only later to find out I had locked it!!! So this blog will be more writing than photos... Anyway back to Bullies, we had a record day, with 25 caught and a few released with the Papilloma virus :( This causes their legs to have abnormal growths and after a while fossilizes them while the bird is living... In effect creating a bowling ball with a bill which is one of the worst things to see, and with all seriousness should be monitored. In the day we caught 17 new and 8 re-encounters.

Our next big thing was the number of Chaffinches like the bullfinches we had a nice number with a total of 50 caught! A few of these had the virus so unfortunately the virus may have been prominent in the area at that time. A few little facts on the virus 1. It is very localised and strikes in pockets all across Europe 2. Chaffinch is the worst affected species while quite a few other passerines are susceptible 3. Mammals can be affected with some Rabbits getting terrible nobbly growths growing about their body... Birds unlike Mammals only get infected on the legs.
 The big surprise of the day (especially) for Anna was a Male Sparrowhawk, she could barely contain her excitement. Is it me or (for you have read my blog for a while) does every Sparrowhawk we get turn out to be a Male, it's either ridiculous or there is some science between why we catch the Males rather then the Females. Rather incredibly this was Anna's first raptor!
Now to the most important thing and what drags us lot out every morning (or what I hope every one thinks) the science. We caught a Reed Bunting which aged at a wonderful 5 years old. You could actually tell this was a matriarch by the very bold markings, hopefully now we're ringing 200+ birds more frequently we'll able to collect more birds with stats like this, That
Reed Bunt is a credit to all our hard work and does make our commitment worth while.

My next blog will hopefully be up tomorrow and will be back to the future (great, great pun there) no copyright inc.

Here's the list thanks to for both the pics and list: Chaffinch 48 (2), Bullfinch 17 (8 ), Greenfinch 3, Goldfinch 1, Yellowhammer 34 (3), Reed Bunting 17 (1), House Sparrow 12, Sparrowhawk 1, Goldcrest 2, Long Tailed Tit 2, Blue Tit 8 (16), Great Tit 11 (5), Robin 3 (4), Dunnock 11 (2), Blackbird 2 (1), Song Thrush 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1

1 comment:

  1. sorry I only just saw your comment about swifts on youtube today. Now if the time to be putting up nest boxes. Playing swift calls is vital to pull in non breeders and birds of breeding age. I have 6 breeding pairs and two non breeding pairs which should do something this year. Feel free to email me at