Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Sibthorpe, Christmas 2015

This time last year, we were ringing Fieldfares in a frozen orchard in Flintham. What a difference betwixt winters. I’ve been feeding the garden birds here at Sibthorpe since September, and started the ringing over Christmas. We managed an hour on Christmas day before the rains came, and had another go on the morning of the 27th. 99 birds was pleasing for a new site, but I think the House Sparrows know where the nets are now. A nice surprise was a ringed Lesser Redpoll which was a control!

Species totals were 93/6 (new/retrap): Wren 2, Dunnock 8, Robin 3, Redwing 1, Coal Tit 1, Blue Tit 9, Great Tit 2/1, House Sparrow 37/3, Tree Sparrow 1, Chaffinch 2, Greenfinch 3, Goldfinch 24/1, Lesser Redpoll –/1.

Jim


Monday, 28 December 2015

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 27 December

Gary, Duncan and I met for another ringing session at Sutton Bonington in perfect mist-netting conditions, overcast and dead calm. Catching was steady all morning and we had a reasonable catch but less than I would have expected in the conditions. The Redwing tape was used again first thing but failed to pull in any birds as did a Fieldfare tape.

We finished on 36 birds including 9 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap): Wren 1/1, Goldcrest 1/0, Dunnock 2/1, Blue Tit 4/3, Chaffinch 1/1, Goldfinch 5/0, Greenfinch 6/0, Lesser Redpoll 1/0, Reed Bunting 5/2, Robin 0/1, Blackbird 1/0.

The retraps were all recently ringed birds. There were decent numbers off birds around including Fieldfares and Yellowhammers.

Kev

Monday, 21 December 2015

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 20 December

The forecast was suggesting it would be too windy today and when the wind whistling and rain beating against the window woke me up at 0430 I thought I would be calling it off. But a couple of hours later the rain had stopped and the wind was considerably lighter but still blowing.

So Gary, Sue, Duncan and I met for another ringing session at Sutton Bonington. The nets went up quickly in the less than ideal breeze and the Redwing tape was deployed again and produced 2 birds on the first round, along with a couple of Chaffinch.

The wind picked up as the morning progressed and certainly hampered catching which was further affected when the sun came up (yes, really the sun, long time no see). We decided to give in to the elements by 1030 and finished on just 11 birds including 4 retraps.

The species totals were (new/retrap): Great Tit 0/1, Blue Tit 0/3, Chaffinch 2/0, Goldfinch 2/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Redwing 2/0. The retraps were all recently ringed birds. There were a decent number off birds around including a few Yellowhammers along with a few Fieldfare and a Buzzard.

Kev


Monday, 14 December 2015

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 13 December

Gary, Sue, Alex and I held the third ringing session at this site this morning in calm overcast conditions with slight drizzle on and off all morning. The Redwing tape was again deployed first thing and produced 4 birds. It was then successfully switched to Goldfinch. Catching was steady throughout after a first round 20+ catch, another 2 new Grey Wagtails was a pleasant surprise. We finished on 51 birds including 12 retraps.

The species totals were (new/retrap): Wren 0/1, Great Tit 0/3, Blue Tit 2/4, Robin 0/2, Chaffinch 3/0, Goldfinch 17/1, Reed Bunting 6/1, Dunnock 3/0, Greenfinch 2/0, Redwing 4/0, Grey Wagtail 2/0.

The retraps were all recently ringed birds. No Yellowhammers caught but there were a couple around along with a few Fieldfare and a Buzzard.

Kev


 Reed Bunting & Grey Wagtails (S. Lakeman)

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Tuesday 8 December

I have been trying for weeks to get in a visit to Ramsdale, as much as anything just to see what birds are using the site in the winter. The weather had always been too windy and/or wet, so this week I was determined to get there even if the weather was not great and this morning Mick P and I managed to get a visit in. We had to delay putting up the nets for a while as a shower went over just after we got on site and the wind was stronger than I would have liked, so we just went for 4 x 18m nets and Redwing song playing on an MP3 player.

The first round produced over 20 birds but no Redwing so we changed the call to Lesser Redpoll and put out another MP3 playing Goldfinch. Another couple of good rounds followed but then it died off quickly as the wind stiffened and the sun came out. We finished on 57 birds including 5 retraps and a control Lesser Redpoll. The species totals were (new/recapture): Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Goldcrest 2/0, Dunnock 0/1, Robin 0/1, Lesser Redpoll 21/1, Bullfinch 9/3, Chaffinch 2/0, Goldfinch 5/0, Greenfinch 5/0, Blackbird 6/0.

It was surprising to get 12 Bullfinch, particularly as they were all from the first net round.

Kev

Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Recent Recoveries

We get many recoveries of Barn Owls; more than any other species. Most are over the autumn/winter period, when birds born in the previous summer disperse, and unfortunately, usually fall foul of our roads and other perils. The poor breeding season this year may be reflected in the fact that not many Barn Owl recoveries seem to be coming in. Only two have been reported in the last few weeks:
  • a bird ringed in the nest in Kirklington, Southwell, on 8 September was found dead in nearby Hockerton on 26 October, a road casualty
  • another bird, ringed in July 2014 at Scarrington, fared a little better, and was controlled by ringers in Cheshire in August this year, at Buwardsley Hall Farm, not far from Crewe
A couple of passerines next:
  • a Starling, which was ringed in June this year in Hucknall, was killed by a cat in the same area on 25 October
  • a Blackcap, ringed at Holme Pierrepont on 6 September, was controlled by ringers at Titchfield Haven in Hampshire on 3 October
Then there's a recovery round-up regular: a Cormorant colour-ringed at Attenborough as a chick in May 2014, has been seen for the third time since it was ringed. Each time has been at various sites across South Yorkshire. It was seen this time at Orgreave Lakes on 9 May this year, and has previously been seen at Rother Valley Country Park, and Old Moor in Barnsley.

Finally, an odd recovery, in the form of a ring found in Bulwell, on 13 November. The ring was originally fitted to a Mute Swan in August 1983, in West Bridgford. As only the ring was found, it's a bit of a mystery what happened to the bird, so doesn't tell us much, but its an interesting record nonetheless.

Tom

Monday, 30 November 2015

Brackenhurst, Thursday 26 November

Ringer availability and a rare calm day allowed Kevin, Gary, Duncan & myself to set the nets at the Brack feeders and down in Orwin's on Thursday. Conditions were ideal, that is calm and overcast, but admittedly very mild. Basically, wintering birds are less hungry when it’s mild and therefore lose less weight overnight and visit the feeders less often. And so it proved with only nine birds caught at them. Orwin's produced 16 birds with half those being Redwings responding to the sound lure.

Highlights on a very slow morning were the first Blackcap ringed at Brackenhurst in winter time and the first Coal Tit for four years to the day. There were few birds about, but a skein of 150 Pink-footed Geese heading NW was good to see.

The species totals were (new/retrap) 25(16/9): Blackcap 1/0, Blue Tit 1/2, Chaffinch 2/0, Coal Tit 1/0, Dunnock 0/1, Goldcrest 0/1, Goldfinch 3/0, Great Tit 0/2, Redwing 8/0, Robin 0/3. The oldest retraps were a Robin from 2010 and a 2012 Great Tit.

Jim



Sunday, 22 November 2015

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 22 November

Gary, Duncan, Alex and I held the second ringing session at this new site this morning in perfect mist-netting conditions: no wind and overcast with a slight frost. We tried a Redwing tape first thing again but that produced nothing so we switched to Goldfinch which was much better and we caught 24.

Catching was generally steady throughout but dropped a little when the sun broke through late morning. We finished on 80 birds including 17 retraps.

The species totals were (new/retrap): Long-tailed Tit 1/9, Wren 1/0, Great Tit 3/2, Blue Tit 14/4, Robin 2/2, Chaffinch 2/0, Goldfinch 24/0, Lesser Redpoll 5/0, Reed Bunting 1/0, Dunnock 4/0, Greenfinch 5/0, Blackbird 1/0. The retraps were all birds we caught on the first visit, including the Long-tailed Tit from Kingston.

There were a few Yellowhammers around and plenty of Fieldfare passing over.

Kev

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 8 November

Last winter we tried a new winter feeding site on Nottingham University land at Kingston on Soar, which started well but faded quickly and produced little in the way of farmland birds. Having discussed the failure with Mike Davies, the Universities farm manager, he suggested another site at Sutton Bonington which I had a look at with him in August and decided it was worth a try.

Two weeks ago Gary, Duncan and I set up the feeders and today we set nets for the first time. The morning started very calm after yesterday's strong winds but the forecast was for some rain and increasing wind. We tried a Redwing tape first thing and went fingers crossed for the first net round. The catch was ok and included a Redwing but otherwise mostly tits and no farmland birds!

The morning progressed and things got better until the rain started just after 9am which made us rush to the cars to hang the birds in to keep them dry and then close the nets, as the rain was heavy. We waited in the cars and when the rain stopped we opened the nets again, they had been closed for about an hour.

We took the nets down just after 11am as the wind increased and ended with a catch of 38. This included a single retrap, a Long-tailed Tit from Kingston last winter, a movement of under 2km.

The species totals were Long-tailed Tit 10, Wren 2, Great Tit 4, Blue Tit 7, Robin 2, Lesser Redpoll 6, Reed Bunting 3, Yellowhammer 1, Song thrush 1, Redwing 1, Grey Wagtail 1.

It was good to catch both Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting on this first visit and the Lesser Redpolls and Grey Wagtail added nice variety, the later in particular bringing a smile to Duncan’s face.

Kev


 Grey Wagtail (Gary Goddard)

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Brackenhurst, Sunday 1 November

We got to Brackenhurst at 06:00am this morning in the dark and foggy gloom half expecting to see stragglers going home from the All Hallows celebrations. The autumnal mist hung around ‘til the middle of the day and the sun never really made it until we were packing up.
 
We had a steady catch through the morning of 55 birds with a nice mix of 14 species. Points of note were the high catch, for Orwin's, of eight Goldcrest, which is maybe linked to the high numbers migrating from the continent this autumn? Only two of the Great Tits were birds of the year; suggesting they’ve had a poor breeding season.
 
The species totals were (new/retrap) 55(41/14): Bullfinch 1/0, Blue Tit 5/2, Chaffinch 5/2, Dunnock 2/1, Fieldfare 1/0, Goldcrest 8/0, Great Spotted Woodpecker 0/2, Great Tit 2/6, Long-tailed Tit 9/1, Redwing 2/0, Robin 2/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Wren 2/0, Yellowhammer 1/0. The oldest retraps were  Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Great Tit (2) from winter 2012/13.
 
Jim
 

 Great Spotted Woodpecker & Fieldfare (A. Phillips)

Friday, 23 October 2015

Gibraltar Point

Kev, Duncan and I had been planning a return visit to Gibraltar Point Bird Observatory for some time and after keeping a close eye on the weather, the Gibraltar Point Blog and liaising with Mick Briggs, (ringer in charge), we hoped to take advantage of the influx of birds and go one day last week. Unfortunately strong winds on the day meant we had to cancel that visit. This was a pity as when we finally got there on Monday 19 October, we had missed the main passage of birds.

We arrived slightly later than planned and opened the nets in the Aylmer Avenue area at about 07:30. Catching started briskly but slowed down in the afternoon. We managed 92 new birds and 42 retraps giving us a respectable total of 134 birds for the day, so well worth the visit.

The best bird of the day for us was a Brambling, though George Gregory, a resident ringer ringing in the East Dunes, caught a Great Grey Shrike, a Skylark, and had a Merlin escape from the net!

Our totals for the day were - 33 Goldcrest, 3 Wren, a Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 11 Robin, a Reed Bunting, 2 Chaffinch, a Brambling, 4 Blue Tit, 16 Greenfinch, 10 Redwing and 7 Blackbird; and 42 retraps: 3 Great Tit, 6 Robin, 2 Dunnock, 13 Goldcrest, a Long-tailed Tit, 3 Wren, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Chaffinch, 5 Blue Tit, a Blackbird, 3 Greenfinch and a Coal Tit.

Mick P


 Duncan checking the nets around the feeding station. 

 Kev, multitasking- bring birds back and delivering newspapers.

 Brambling (pics by Mick P.)


Thursday, 15 October 2015

Recent Recoveries

A good number of recoveries have come in during the last month, some of which are quite decent, and passerines are well represented too!

Firstly with the Barn Owls -

Four of our birds have been controlled by other ringers:

- a bird ringed in Lambley in June 2011, was controlled near Westwoodside in North Lincs on 19 June
- a bird ringed in Upper Broughton in September 2014 was controlled in Old Dalby, Leics on the 4 July
- another was controlled near Burrough Hill in Leics on 8 August, originally ringed by the group on 14 June last year
- and a bird ringed in Muston, Leics in June 2014 was controlled in Ewerby, Lincs on 29 September

Another two have been recovered, both found dead. One was found freshly dead in a cattle trough in Bottesford on 5 October and had originally been ringed at the nest in nearby Elton on 6 July. Another was found freshly dead in a horse trough at Scotter Equestrian Centre, near Gainsborough, Lincs on 29 September. It had originally been ringed as a chick over 7 years previously, in August 2008, in Lambley. Aside from road casualties, it seems that death by drowning on farms in various livestock drinking troughs is a common cause of death for these birds, I wonder how they end up 'in the drink'?

Finally, we controlled a bird in Flintham on 1 September. This bird had originally been ringed at the nest in Thrussington, Leics in June last year.

And onto the non-owl recoveries...

Firstly, a Lapwing, a bird we don't see much on these reports, was seen in the field at Attenborough on 22 August this year. The observer managed to read most of the ring, and it was enough to find out that it was ringed by Birklands Ringing Group as a chick, in June 2008 up near Mansfield Woodhouse.

Next up is a Sand Martin, one of the youngsters from the Attenborough nest box project, which may be the first recovered overseas. It was controlled in Lentilles, in the east of France, on the 23 August, after being ringed on 19 June.

Two Goldfinch have been recovered, both ringed on 19 September this year in Gary's garden in the Meadows, Nottingham. The first was taken by a cat a few streets away, 15 days later. The second was found sick nearby the next day having probably hit a window.

A Garden warbler, ringed at Home Pierrepont on 11 July this year, was controlled at Brook Priory, Rutland on 31 July. Whilst another Garden Warbler, ringed on 22 August, hit a window in Sarzeau, on the west coast of France. This was only 17 days after it was ringed up here in Nottinghamshire, showing that it was probably already on its way south when we caught it. Sad that it didnt get any further, but it is one of many perils these birds face on migration.

Finally, to round up this bumper recovery report, A Blackcap, ringed in June 2014 at Bestwood, was controlled by ringers in June this year in Catterick, near Richmond, North Yorkshire.

Tom

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 4 October

Gary, Duncan, Alex and I made what will probably be the final visit of the season to the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont today. The weather was calm and generally overcast. We erected 13 nets and had two warbler recordings playing. Catching was quite steady with a rush mid-morning.

It was good to find that not all the warblers have gone yet as we ended on 61 birds including 13 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap): Kingfisher 1/0, Dunnock 4/0, Robin 4/4, Wren 1/0, Blackbird 1/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackcap 5/0, Chiffchaff 7/0, Reed Warbler 2/0, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 6/0, Long-tailed Tit 10/6, Treecreeper 0/1, Lesser Redpoll 1/0, Reed Bunting 3/0.

The oldest retrap was a Robin that was ringed in 2013. Nice to catch a Kingfisher and a Lesser Redpoll to close the season off.

Kev



 Kingfisher, Goldcrest and Lesser Redpoll (Alex Phillips)

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Recent Recoveries

A couple of local Barn Owl recoveries kick off the most recent round of recoveries for the group:
  • a bird ringed in the nest in July this year in Plungar, was found dead in September in nearby Sutton-cum-Granby
  • a bird ringed as a chick in Tollerton in July 2007, was found dead on the road in Gamston, also in September this year (maybe this bird stayed local for 8 years?)
In other owl news, a Tawny Owl ringed in May this year in Netherfield, was found dead over the river in nearby Shelford at the end of August. (The bird was identified as a Hen Harrier, which would have been interesting, but I don't think many breed in nest-boxes in Netherfield...)

Two birds ringed at Attenborough on 23 April this year have been recovered. One was a Grey Heron, which was found in nearby Borrowash, with an injured wing and leg. The other was a Cormorant, which travelled a little further, being found at Cley in Norfolk where its colour rings were read in the field.

And finally, a Common Tern, also ringed in the nest at Attenborough, was seen at Cropston reservoir in Leicestershire in August. The observer managed to read the metal ring, which is great, especially as the bird was ringed 14 years ago. This is the second Common Tern from Attenborough recovered this year which had been ringed over a decade ago, showing the importance of long term monitoring schemes such as ours at the reserve.

Tom

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 20 September

Gary, Duncan, Sue, Tom and I made the final visit of the season to the Blotts/A52 end of Holme Pierrepont today. The weather was calm and occasionally sunny. We erected 10 nets and had two warbler recordings playing. Catching was fairly brisk first thing but tapered off as usual as the morning progressed.

We ended on 69 birds including 5 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap) Dunnock 2/0, Robin 5/1, Wren 1/1, Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 2/0, Blackcap 23/0, Chiffchaff 11/1, Goldcrest 3/0, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/1, Chaffinch 1/0, Goldfinch 7/1, Reed Bunting 3/0.

The oldest retrap was the Long-tailed Tit that was ringed as a juvenile in 2013. It really does look like summer is over as only Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were caught and a regular birdwatcher at the site said that he had not seen any other warblers there since the previous Thursday.

Kev

 young male Blackcap in body moult (T. Shields)

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Friday 18 September

Gary and I paid another visit to Ramsdale this morning. We erected the usual line of 8 x 18m nets along the main net ride in calm overcast and slightly misty conditions and set two warbler recordings playing. We took out 10 birds that we caught whilst the nets were going up and then the first full round produced another 41. After this the the catches fell away and when the sun broke through it really slowed but we still ended on 79 birds including 11 retraps, 55 of the birds were warblers.

However the summer is definitely drawing to a close as apart from a single garden Warbler all the other warblers were either Blackcap or Chiffchaff, the others have gone south! The species totals (new/retrap): Dunnock 5/0, Wren 4/1, Robin 1/0, Blackcap 33/7, Garden Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 14/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 2/1, Great Tit 0/1, Siskin 1/0, Linnet 3/0, Bullfinch 3/1. A Sparrowhawk managed to flip itself out of the top shelf as we walked up the net ride. Other birds about were a couple of Swallows and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Kev

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Wednesday 9 September

Gary and I paid another visit to Ramsdale this morning. We erected a line of 8 x 18m nets along the main net ride in calm overcast conditions and set two warbler recordings playing. The first full round produced 50 birds but from that point the catches fell but were still enough to give us 86 birds by the penultimate round. By this time it was very quiet so I changed one of the MP3’s to play Long-tailed Tit, this soon brought birds to the nets and although we only had 3 Long-tailed Tits in the last round they brought about a dozen warblers with them.

We took down as the breeze picked up and the sun came out for a while. We finished on 102 birds including 18 retraps, 71 of the birds were warblers. The species totals (new/retrap): Dunnock 6/1, Wren 2/0, Robin 4/1, Blackbird 2/0, Blackcap 32/8, Whitethroat 4/1, Lesser Whitethroat 2/0, Chiffchaff 14/3, Willow Warbler 5/0, Blue Tit 2/2, Great Tit 1/0, Coal Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 3/2, Goldfinch 3/0, Bullfinch 3/0.

Other birds about were Hobby, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker. What a site this has turned out to be for warblers. For those of you who have not yet been, some pictures of the site are below.

Kev








Saturday, 12 September 2015

Ringing Demo, Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 12 September

The weather forecast for today was not good, rain to start and breezy throughout - and so it was. Gary, Mick P, Duncan, Alex, Tom and I set the usual nets after the rain stopped around 0800. Catching started OK but soon dropped of as the wind picked up. A few intermittent showers through the morning stopped and the skies cleared to give an hour or so of sunshine. The inclement weather seemed to be keeping the public away, just as well as by midday we were catching nothing despite moving nets into less wind affected positions. Just after 1300 we decided to take the nets down and as we did the heavens opened and by the time the nets were down we were all soaked to the skin. The torrential rain stopped by the time the nets were down! We ended on 35 birds including 7 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap) Blackcap 10/1, Garden Warbler 2/1, Lesser Whitethroat 4/0, Reed Warbler 2/0, Chiffchaff 2/0, Blue Tit 4/0, Great Tit 3/1, Long-tailed Tit 0/4, Chaffinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. Overhead passed a few Hirundines, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a Hobby.

Ruth Walker popped in to see us for an hour or so, it was good to see her and catch up a little since her move to Norfolk, which she is clearly enjoying.

Kev

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 6 September

Gary, Duncan, Sue and I made a visit to the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont today. The weather was calm but mostly sunny apart from a while mid-morning when we did get a little cloud cover. It has been a few weeks since we visited the site but all the poles were still in place and we erected 14 nets and had two warbler recordings playing. Catching was steady all morning but shortly before we took down a few Long-tailed Tits were calling near the base so I changed one of the MP3’s to play Long-tailed Tit and it resulted in a mixed catch of 20 birds in the 12m net next to the base. We ended on 89 birds including 9 retraps.

The species totals were (new/retrap) Dunnock 4/0, Robin 7/1, Wren 4/1, Blackbird 3/0, Blackcap 14/1, Whitethroat 2/0, Reed Warbler 12/0, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 10/1, Willow Warbler 4/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 7/2, Great Tit 4/0, Long-tailed Tit 4/2, Treecreeper 1/0, Bullfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retrap was the Cetti’s Warbler that was ringed as a juvenile last year. The Treecreeper was an adult just completing wing moult, note the small spots on the tips of the primary coverts. Overhead were Siskins throughout the morning and the now ever present Buzzards.

Kev

 Blue Tit (Sue Lakeman)
 Treecreeper (Sue Lakeman)

Diary Date: Barn Owl talk

The Barn Owl - FREE illustrated talk. Bottesford Village Hall, Tuesday 10th November 2015 7:45 to 8:45pm. A talk all about Barn Owls with interesting detail that you may not have heard before with photographs, sound and video. Presented by the Vale of Belvoir Barn Owl Conservation Group. The talk will include information on the local barn owl population and the local conservation scheme. To book a place phone 01949 844319 or email valebarnowls@hotmail.co.uk  There is no charge for attending. For those wishing to make a contribution voluntary donations in aid of Dove Cottage Hospice can be given on the evening.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Wednesday 2 September

Having failed to get another visit in to Ramsdale last week Mick P, Duncan, Gary and I got there this morning. The weather was calm with variable cloud and we set a line of eight 18m nets and six 12m nets and had three recordings playing. It was busy from the first round and a mid morning round had us bagging 53 birds in one go.

Catching remained good until about 1130 when it dropped and shortly after that, with dark clouds looming, we took down. We finished on 136 birds including 11 retraps, 81 of the birds were warblers. Unusually we caught a swallow in the top shelf of a standing net with little background cover.

The species totals (new/retrap): Swallow 1/0, Dunnock 3/0, Wren 4/0, Robin 0/1, Blackbird 3/0, Blackcap 37/3, Garden Warbler 2/0, Whitethroat 6/0, Lesser Whitethroat 0/1, Chiffchaff 27/4, Willow Warbler 1/0, Blue Tit 14/1, Great Tit 3/0, Coal Tit 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 9/0, Goldfinch 3/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Linnet 7/0, Siskin 1/0, Bullfinch 0/1.

Other birds about were Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker. Another good session at the golf club.

Kev

Monday, 31 August 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 30 September

Gary, Duncan, Alex and I made another visit to the Blott’s end of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday. I had been looking at the forecasts for the previous few days but the only thing they all agreed on was that Sunday was not going to be windy, other than that they were all over the place regarding sun and rain. As it turned out all three forecasts I looked at for the last time on Saturday evening got it wrong, apart for the wind speed. We enjoyed mostly overcast skies with virtually no wind and the catch reflected that. The first round produced about 30 birds and catching continued to be good all morning.

We ended on 116 birds including 8 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap): Dunnock 2/0, Robin 2/0, Blackbird 2/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackcap 43/3, Garden Warbler 6/0, Whitethroat 12/1, Lesser Whitethroat 3/0, Reed Warbler 7/0, Chiffchaff 7/1, Willow Warbler 4/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Goldfinch 13/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Bullfinch 1/2, Reed Bunting 2/0.

The oldest retrap was a Blackbird from 2012. Overhead was fairly quiet but as we were busy with all the birds we caught we might have missed some movement. We did comment that we did not see a hirundine all morning. The large flock of Goldfinch were still on site and just before we finished we changed one of the mp3 players to Goldfinch calls, quite a way from the main feeding site of the flock but still managed to pull in 12 of the 13 birds shown above.

Kev

Monday, 24 August 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 22 August

Gary, Sue, Alex and I made another visit to the Blott’s end of Holme Pierrepont today. Our decision to go to that end of the site was made for us when we could not get into the car park at the water sports centre. The forecast was for a dry morning with little wind and cloudy but as usual they got it wrong! By the time we had set the first net line it had started to rain, fortunately it stopped fairly quickly and we continued to put up nets. After the first round the clouds disappeared and the sun came out and stayed out. Fortunately the forecast did get the low wind strength correct, so 1 out of 3!

Catching started quite well and continued to be pretty good all morning. We ended on 69 birds including 6 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap) Dunnock 2/1, Wren 4/1, Robin 0/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackcap 21/1, Garden Warbler 6/0, Whitethroat 3/1, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Reed Warbler 5/0, Chiffchaff 12/1, Willow Warbler 1/0, Blue Tit 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 2/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Bullfinch 1/0. The retraps were all recently ringed birds.

Overhead was also fairly quiet with a Buzzard, a few Yellow Wagtails and few hirundines. There was also a flock of 100+ Goldfinch on site that we decided would have been a little too testing to have a go for, but maybe next time with, hopefully, a bigger team.

Kev


 Lesser Whitethroat (Sue Lakeman)

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Wednesday 19 August

What a difference a week makes, along with full sun and a fair breeze – result, a less than exciting catch at the golf course this morning. On Monday I tried to pick the best day to go using 3 wildly different and rapidly changing weather forecasts, turns out Monday was the best day! Gary, Duncan and I set the line of eight 18m nets and we had two mixed warbler recordings playing. Catching started quietly and never really picked up. We finished on 38 birds including 5 retraps, 26 of the birds were warblers. The species totals (new/retrap): Wren 3/0, Blackbird 5/1, Blackcap 11/0, Garden Warbler 4/2, Whitethroat 3/0, Chiffchaff 1/2, Willow Warbler 3/0, Bullfinch 3/0.

Kev

Monday, 17 August 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 16 August

Gary, Duncan and I made another visit to the Blott’s end of Holme Pierrepont, we decided on that end of the site after news on the internet suggested there was quite a warbler movement on this weekend and that site would possibly be better than the Grange end. Unfortunately there was no cloud cover but at least there was no breeze. The site sounded very quiet to start and so it proved. As we approached midday interest had only been raised by the capture of another Sparrowhawk and Green Woodpecker – but we had only caught 35 birds!

We decided to take the nets down but that took a little longer than planned as the nets contained a surprise catch of 28 more birds, boosting the total for the session to 63, including 9 retraps, much more respectable.

The species totals were (new/retrap) Sparrowhawk 1/0, Green Woodpecker 1/0, Dunnock 0/1, Wren 2/0, Robin 2/0, Blackbird 1/0, Blackcap 14/2, Garden Warbler 1/0, Whitethroat 10/0, Reed Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 3/1, Willow Warbler 3/1, Blue Tit 2/1, Great Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 2/3, Greenfinch 1/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Goldfinch 5/0, Bullfinch 2/0, Reed Bunting 1/0.

The oldest retrap was a Long-tailed Tit from 2007. Overhead was also quiet with a Buzzard and Yellow Wagtail noted but few hirundines and no Swifts. We also had a Kestrel perched on top of one of the mist net poles.

Kev

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Tuesday 11 August

Having tried and failed to get another visit in to Ramsdale last week Jim and I got there this morning. The weather was calm with variable cloud and we set a line of eight 18m nets and had two mixed warbler recordings playing.

The first round was busy with just under 30 birds, the second was busier with 52 birds and no spare bags. At this point the processing had to speed up so we stopped doing weights. Catching remained good until about 1300 when it dropped dramatically.

We finished on 151 birds including 4 retraps, 99 of the birds were warblers. It was good to catch the first Tree Pipit the group has had since 2012 and the first Jim and I have seen in a net for many years, the Siskin was a 3J and I can’t remember us having caught a 3J before.

The species totals (new/retrap): Dunnock 3/0, Wren 2/0, Tree Pipit 1/0, Robin 6/1, Blackbird 3/0, Blackcap 22/1, Garden Warbler 13/0, Whitethroat 13/1, Lesser Whitethroat 1/1, Chiffchaff 27/0, Willow Warbler 20/0, Blue Tit 11/0, Great Tit 2/0, Greenfinch 6/0, Goldfinch 13/0, Siskin 1/0, Bullfinch 3/0.

Not surprisingly, with so many birds caught we had little time for bird watching but we did note Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker. A great session and good to be out ringing passerines with Jim again.

Kev

the net ride hanging with warblers (J. Lennon)
 young Chiffchaff with typical central tail feather moult
(J. Lennon)
 juvenile Whitethroat with prominent fault bar in tail
(J. Lennon)
young Tree Pipit (note short hind claw)
 (J. Lennon)
  young Siskin with 2 old greater coverts (J. Lennon)

Monday, 10 August 2015

Recent recoveries

The first recovery from the Attenborough Sand Martin hide colony has been reported. A bird ringed as a nestling there on 16 June this year was controlled 130km south in Kent at Shorne Marshes. Hopefully we will start to see more recoveries of these birds as more move south, after a pretty successful second year of monitoring.

Several Barn Owls have been recovered during various box-checking excursions around the East Midlands:
  • a bird controlled at Halam near Southwell on 15 June had originally been ringed the year before as a chick in nearby Edingley by North Notts RG
  • another was controlled in Bottesford in June, having been ringed in 2011 in Brandon, Lincolnshire by another group
  • a bird controlled in Kinoulton on 22 June was originally ringed in Gonalston in 2010
  • a bird controlled in Kirklington on 21 June was originally ringed 6 years ago, nearby in Upper Hexgreave, near Southwell

There has also been some decent controls of some of our more common passerines.

A Greenfinch (not that common!) was controlled at Bestwood on 29 June, and had originally been ringed at Stanford Reservoir in Northamptonshire in October last year.

A Blackcap which had also been ringed at Stanford reservoir in September last year was controlled by us at Holme Pierrepont on 26 April this year. The same day we also controlled another Blackcap, which had also been ringed in September last year, at a site near Warrington.

Tom

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 8 August

The forecast was for overcast skies slowly burning off and little or no wind, so Gary, Sue and I made another visit to the Blott’s end of Holme Pierrepont hoping for another good catch like we had last weekend. It did start overcast but by the time we had got the last net up the sun was out in force but at least there was no wind. Catching was steady until late morning when the breeze picked up and the thistle heads started to turn the nets white!

We still had a decent catch of 65 including 7 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap) Dunnock 0/1, Robin 3/1, Blackbird 1/0, Blackcap 7/0, Garden Warbler 4/0, Whitethroat 4/1, Reed Warbler 8/0, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 6/0, Willow Warbler 8/4, Blue Tit 9/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Goldfinch 5/0, Bullfinch 1/0. The oldest retrap was a Dunnock from 2011. The Blackbird we caught was a 3J and is the first juvenile Blackbird caught this summer at any of the main netting sites!

Sue stayed on after we finished ringing and in a 15 minute butterfly stroll around Skylarks she recorded 7 species including brimstone, plus good views of Grey Heron, a Jay and a fly-by, by the Red Arrows! I guess England won at cricket!

Kev


 Photos by Sue Lakeman

Hobbies, Thurs 6 August

As we approach the end of a very disappointing season for owls and kestrels, it was good to find two healthy Hobby chicks to ring in the Vale of Belvoir. Interestingly they were in the same nest as last year and the structure seemed to have grown.

Mick P climbed expertly as ever and with a bit of an audience. As well as Jim and myself, my family came along and so did some friends who happen to be the local farming family.

As soon as Mick removed the first chick from the nest and it screeched, both parents appeared and began to circle. We ringed and processed them swiftly and one was considerably larger (and noisier) than the other and we guessed it might be a female and the smaller (quieter) bird a male.

As Mick pulled the chicks up we began watching the beautiful adults again and suddenly a third adult appeared close by. One of the local adults began to pursue it and then a fourth adult appeared! Presumably this was a neighbouring pair that had heard the calls and come to investigate; once again hinting at how these elusive birds are probably more common than we realise.

Pete







Sunday, 2 August 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 2 August

It would have been hard to beat the conditions this morning - overcast, still and warm, but not hot. If this didn't produce a decent catch, then we might as well have hung up our pliers. Fortunately it did. A team of Kev, Gary, Alex, Duncan, Sue, Tom and I finished on 123 birds (111 new/12 retrap) comprising:

Sparrowhawk 1/0, Green Woodpecker 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Dunnock 3/3, Wren 8/1, Robin 5/0, Blackcap 23/1, Garden Warbler 6/1, Whitethroat 8/0, Lesser Whitethroat 4/0, Reed Warbler 22/1, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 8/1, Willow Warbler 12/2, Blue Tit 4/0, Great Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/1, Reed Bunting 2/1.

As can be seen, warblers made up the majority of the catch and they have clearly done all right somewhere, if not at the other end of this site. The oldest retrap was a Willow Warbler from 2011 and it was good to pull in a good number of Reed Warblers, a species that has been thin on the ground in the last few sessions.

The site did feel reasonably busy with feeding flocks moving throughout, although Long-tailed Tits were few. There were a couple of flocks of Goldfinches about and quite a bit of Wood Pigeon movement overhead. Two Hobbies circled together but hirundines were scarce.

As the day warmed up the insects got going and Common Blue Damselfly, Brown Hawker and Black-tailed Skimmer were all around. 13 species of butterfly were noted too including Small and Essex Skipper, Small Copper, Comma, Common Blue and good numbers of Peacocks.

Pete

juvenile Green Woodpecker


 A mix of brown juvenile and grey adult feathers on a male Sparrowhawk indicating a bird born last year.

 juvenile Willow Warbler

The scrape created on the old Blotts pit of Skylarks Nature Reserve.

(All photos PML)