Sunday, 20 August 2017

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 13 August

Duncan, Alex, Trish and I made another visit to the Blott’s end of Holme Pierrepont this morning. We were also joined by Jim who came out for a catch up with some ‘small’ birds. It was good to see Jim, having not been out mist-netting with him since we were at Brackenhurst last winter. We put up the same 11 nets we used the previous week and set three MP3 players going with warbler calls. The morning started clear, cool and quite still but the breeze did increase as the morning went on, unfortunately no cloud cover came to help us. Gary also came along later for the middle part of the session.

Catching started very briskly again but dropped as the sun got higher and stronger, again warblers made up the majority of the catch. We ended with a total catch of 108 including 10 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/1, Wren 4/1, Robin 3/0, Blackcap 32/3, Garden Warbler 3/1, Whitethroat 15/3, Lesser Whitethroat 4/0, Chiffchaff 2/0, Willow Warbler 4/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Reed Warbler 19/0, Blue Tit 5/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/1, Bullfinch 3/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retrap was from 2016.

Plenty of birds about again, particularly Sylvia warblers but the Phylloscopus warbler numbers have dropped significantly in the last couple of weeks.


Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Thursday 10 August

Duncan and I made a visit to Ramsdale and set the usual line of 8 x 18m nets on a clear but still morning. The site sounded quiet and the vegetation was still wet through from the rain that fell all day on Tuesday. Catching started slowly and never really picked up. Where are all the warblers that were at this site? A female Sparrowhawk added a bit of interest early on. We ended with a total catch of 39 including 3 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Sparrowhawk 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Wren 2/1, Robin 3/0, Blackcap 11/0, Garden Warbler 2/0, Whitethroat 1/0, Lesser Whitethroat 2/0, Chiffchaff 5/1, Willow Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 2/0, Bullfinch 4/0, Linnet 1/0. The oldest retrap was from 2015.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 6 August

It was a beautiful, clear and still morning as we put up the nets. I joined Kev, Gary, Trish and Jake for my annual catch-up in the school holidays and having not been to the site for a year I couldn't quite believe how much it had changed with many of the net rides moved because of the increasingly tall trees and shrubs and impenetrable bramble thickets. The site is also getting more and more popular with visitors (birders, dog walkers and the like) so a fair amount of time has to be dedicated to public relations.

Despite the temperature rising fairly swiftly, we caught well until late morning and processed a total of 104 birds including 6 retraps and 1 control Reed Warbler. The total comprised (new/recapture): Kingfisher 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Song Thrush 2/0, Dunnock 3/0, Wren 3/0, Robin 4/0, Blackcap 18/2, Garden Warbler 8/0, Whitethroat 18/1, Lesser Whitethroat 2/0, Chiffchaff 5/0, Willow Warbler 3/0, Reed Warbler 18/1, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Blue Tit 2/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Goldfinch 4/0, Bullfinch 2/1, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retrap was a Bullfinch from 2016.

As well as the good numbers of young warblers, a large flock of Goldfinches was around, a couple of Buzzards were overhead and a handful of Swifts came over. Common Blue Damselflies were abundant and a few Migrant and Brown Hawkers were patrolling. Butterflies were not in huge numbers, but by the time we left around lunchtime, good numbers of Common Blues had started to appear. 


 A juvenile Goldfinch in full wing moult - once rare, but apparently increasing in frequency. 

 Kingfisher (P. Leonard)
 Garden Warbler (P. Leonard) 

 Lesser Whitethroat (P. Leonard) 

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Tawny Owls

This species is one SNRG targets and we have some great data. This is highlighted by the interesting piece here:

Recent Recoveries

A range of recoveries have been filtering through during the summer months. Starting, as is the tradition, with the Barn Owls:

- A bird ringed in Greasley as an adult in 2012, has been controlled by Sorby Breck ringers at Hardwick Hall in May this year.

- A bird ringed as a chick in Cropwell Bishop in June last year, was retrapped at Lambley this June.

- A bird ringed in Girton last September, was found dead on the railway line at Collingham in July.

- A bird was found dead in Bathley, having hit a window, in July. It had been ringed as a youngster in the village in June last year.

- And finally, a bit of an oldie, a bird ringed as a chick in Tollerton in 2006, was retrapped at Hockerton near Newark in June this year, 11 years on.

Another oldie, a Tawny Owl, was captured at the nest in Flintham in May. This bird has originally been ringed 11 years previously as an adult in 2006, and was also retrapped in 2013.

A Little Owl originally ringed in Hoby, Leics in 2013 as a chick, has been controlled at a box at Tithby for a second time, in June this year. It was also found breeding here in 2014. Unfortunately the last two seasons have seen the owls in this box fail to raise a brood.

A Mute Swan, Colour-ringed by Sorby Breck ringers in Markeaton in August 2010, had its colour rings read at Attenborough in June this year. An old Mute Swan recovery has also come through, concerning another Sorby Breck bird that was ringed at Ilkeston in July 2007, and noted by SNRG in Cossall in March 2010.

A Blackcap ringed as a 3J at Holme Pierrepont in July 2016 has been found dead in Bawburgh, Norfolk, in June this year.

Finally, a number of Sand Martin recovery details have come through from birds controlled at the Attenborough breeding colony:

- 2 birds were controlled on 25 May, one had been ringed locally at Redhill Marina in May 2014. The other had been ringed a little further away in Petit Matton, Charente-maritime in France, in August 2015.

- 3 birds were controlled on 21 June. One had been ringed as a chick at a colony in Thornton, by Charnwood Ringing Group in 2015. Another had been ringed as a chick at a colony at Brandon Marsh in May 2016 by the ringing group there. And the final bird had been ringed in Ely as a chick in June 2016.


Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 29 July

Duncan, Gary and I made the second visit of the year to the Blott’s end of Holme Pierrepont this morning. We put up the 8 nets we cleared rides for on the last visit. The morning started clear and breezy and the breeze was increasing as the morning went on, but some cloud cover later helped. We did take down one net early because of the wind.

Catching started briskly again but dropped after the first round. Warblers made up the majority of the catch as usual but surprisingly the warbler species with the highest total for the morning was Garden Warbler, with 16 individuals caught.

We ended with a total catch of 72 including 3 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/0, Dunnock 1/0, Wren 3/0, Robin 1/0, Blackcap 11/0, Garden Warbler 15/1, Whitethroat 5/0, Chiffchaff 8/0, Willow Warbler 5/0, Reed Warbler 11/2, Blue Tit 4/0, Great Tit 2/0, Bullfinch 1/0. The retraps were all recently ringed birds. Plenty of birds about again and only the breeze stopped us having a bigger catch.


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Nest recording

It's been said before that we aren't a Group driven by totals and numbers, but we do recognise that if more records are submitted and analysed then more accurate and thorough information is produced.

So one total we can be proud of, according to Lifecycle magazine, is the number of nest records we are submitting to the BTO.

Following the monitoring of a Tree sparrow colony from 2004 to its final demise in 2010, the number of our nest submissions fell but since 2014 they have been increasing.

The two main reasons for this are that we now submit more nest records for the large nest boxes we check, and the work of Kev and Phil at a Sand Martin colony in the newly created artificial Sand Martin bank at Attenborough Nature Reserve.

The table of nest record contributors published in Lifecycle shows that we are still way behind other Groups and individuals who submit nest records but we are happy that we are contributing meaningful data to the BTO.

Mick P

Monday, 24 July 2017

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Sunday 23 July

Duncan, Alex, Tom, Sue, Trish, Jake, Gary and I made another visit to Ramsdale this morning. Holme Pierrepont was not an option this week because of the Triathlon event that was taking place there. Heavy overnight rain had soaked the vegetation but by the time we arrived on site the rain had stopped and there was very little breeze with generally overcast skies. Wet vegetation always seems to reduce bird activity but the site did seem quiet anyway.

We set the standard 8 x 18m nets pretty quickly with the large team but ended with a less than expected catch of 47 birds including 3 retraps. These were made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Wren 3/0, Dunnock 4/0, Robin 1/0, Blackcap 10/1, Garden Warbler 0/1, Chiffchaff 10/0, Willow Warbler 2/0, Whitethroat 2/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Linnet 5/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Bullfinch 2/0. The oldest retraps were from 2015.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 16 July

Tom, Trish, Gary and I made the first visit of the year to the Blott’s end of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday. Only a small team again this year for the first visit so with all the very overgrown rides to clear we put up just 8 nets on an overcast but very humid morning.

Catching started briskly and continued for the first few net rounds. We ended with a catch of 87 including 8 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Kingfisher 1/0, Blackbird 4/0, Song Thrush 2/0, Dunnock 1/0, Wren 2/1, Robin 2/0, Blackcap 19/2, Garden Warbler 3/1, Whitethroat 6/1, Lesser Whitethroat 4/0, Chiffchaff 3/1, Willow Warbler 6/0, Reed Warbler 19/0, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Great Tit 3/0, Bullfinch 2/2.

The oldest retraps were a Blackcap and a Garden Warbler from 2015. Plenty of birds about and with a full complement of nets up and a larger team I’m sure we would have caught well over the 100 mark in this very public site. A few of the passing public did stop by for a chat and look at what we were doing, the Kingfisher providing the usual interest.


 Kingfisher and Six-spot Burnet moth (T. Shields)

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 9 July

Another visit to Grange end of Holme Pierrepont was made today. The weather was perfect for the first half of the session and the nets were catching well but then the sun came out and the catch dropped dramatically.

The team consisted of Gary, Sue, Tom, Jake and myself. We ended with a catch of 75 including 15 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/1, Wren 4/1, Dunnock 1/0, Robin 0/2, Blackcap 18/0, Garden Warbler 4/0, Chiffchaff 2/0, Willow Warbler 5/1, Reed Warbler 12/5, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Whitethroat 1/0, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/2, Goldfinch 1/0, Bullfinch 4/3.

The oldest retrap was a Reed Warbler from 2012 that we had not caught since it was originally ringed. Willow Warblers were evident after being absent last week.


Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Friday 7 July

Duncan, Gary and I made the second visit of the year to Ramsdale. The weather was not ideal with clear skies and a bit of a breeze. Not sure if this was the only reason, but we did have a lower catch than expected - 41 birds including 5 retraps. These were made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/0, Wren 5/0, Dunnock 2/2, Robin 1/0, Blackcap 3/1, Garden Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 15/2, Whitethroat 1/0, Great Tit 1/0, Linnet 1/0, Bullfinch 4/0. The oldest retraps were from 2015.


Attenborough, Weds 5 July

Phil, Mick and I held another session to catch the adult Sand Martins. After the session Phil looked at the results and his report is below.


43 birds caught, 28 of which were adults. The total number of adults caught this year is now 93, which exceeds the estimated number of breeding pairs (first brood). With the number of retrapped adults again being very low, it is clear that the population is currently very dynamic. It also appears that the natural colony has been abandoned so it is likely that some of the adults that were nesting on the natural colony have now relocated across to the artificial bank. All unproven of course!

After the Sand Martin session, Pete joined Mick and I with the boat to have a look at the Main Pond tern platform and the Cormorant islands. The tern platform had Black-headed Gulls nesting as well as Common Terns and we ringed 7 gull chicks and 14 tern chicks. There are still a good number of tern nests with eggs. The main Cormorant island had plenty of nests, mostly with large chicks that prevented a safe landing. The small island had no large chicks visible in nests so we landed, ringed a couple of chicks and found a number of nests with eggs. It looks like we will be ringing Cormorants into the late summer again.


Monday, 3 July 2017

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 2 July

We were back at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday after finishing at Attenborough last week. Thankfully there had been little disturbance at the site. The weather was quite calm and overcast for the first half of the session but the breeze did pick up slightly later. The team consisted of Gary, Alex, Tom, Jake, Trish and myself.

The catch was steady but it did take quite a bit of ride clearance to get the nets up first thing. We ended with a catch of 78 including 8 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 3/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Dunnock 2/0, Robin 3/1, Blackcap 15/0, Garden Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 3/0, Reed Warbler 13/5, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Whitethroat 3/0, Cetti’s Warbler 2/0, Blue Tit 8/0, Treecreeper 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Goldfinch 2/0, Bullfinch 5/0, Reed Bunting 3/0.

The oldest retrap was a Blackbird from 2013. There were no Willow Warblers around but Reed Warblers seem to be in numbers similar to last year, Buzzards were in the air most of the morning.


Monday, 26 June 2017

Attenborough CES Visit 6 - Sunday 25 June

The sixth CES visit of the season to Attenborough was carried out on Sunday by Gary, Duncan, Pete S and I. The forecast was for cloudy and breezy conditions but the sun did break through for a good while. Despite the breezy conditions we had another good catch, we finished with 55 birds processed (40 new/15 retrap) made up of: Wren 2/1, Dunnock 3/0, Robin 1/1, Reed Warbler 4/1, Blackcap 1/3, Chiffchaff 3/3, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 13/1, Great Tit 2/3, Long-tailed Tit 3/0, Treecreeper 1/1, Goldfinch 2/0, Greenfinch 2/0, Bullfinch 2/1. The oldest retrap was a Great Tit from 2012.


Attenborough Sand Martins, Wednesday 21 June

Phil, Pete S and I held another session to catch the adult Sand Martins. The weather was good with a light breeze but this was easterly so the bank protected the net. After the session Phil looked at the results and reported the following:

- 39 birds caught, 22 retraps and 17 new birds

- 4 of the birds were 3Js, one not ringed as a pullus (moved from the natural colony possibly?). So, of the 120+ birds that have fledged so far, it looks as though most of them have already left the area. One of the 3 birds fledged a week ago and the other two must have just fledged (were close to fledging last Friday and are now 23-25 days old).

- Of the 19 adult retraps, only 5 were birds that we also caught on 25 May, when we caught 45 adults. This seems to be a very low proportion. It’s partly explained by the fact that we caught 24 adults on face C last time and only 3 this time and no adults on face A last time and 16 on A today. A better comparison is on face B, where we caught 21 adults on 25 May and only one of these was also caught today (2 birds caught today on B were caught previously on C). It’s interesting to speculate why this might be – might birds have their second brood in a different hole and with the natural colony nearby, might some of the birds have relocated?

- When we then look at A, we caught 16 adults, 10 new birds and 6 retraps. All of the retraps were caught in 2016, 5 as pulli and 1 as an adult. Where were all of these birds on 25 May? Late arrivals or have they also had a brood elsewhere and are now having their second brood on A (as of last Friday, there were 7 nests with eggs on A, 6 of which are new nests where there was not a first brood).

- We had 3 controls of birds that were not originally ringed at Attenborough, none of which have been caught here before.

- For the 2 sessions combined, we have caught a total of 75 adults, 41 males and 34 females. My estimate of the number of breeding pairs is c 41 (based on first brood nests with eggs) and if this is reasonably accurate, we have caught a very high percentage of the adults, which is what we were hoping to achieve with the new net. If the colony is more dynamic, which today’s session would suggest, we’ve probably still achieved this target, albeit with not such a high percentage. We’ve just got to make sure next year, all of the birds breed on the colony!