Sunday, 19 February 2012

Woolley Firs

Since returning to work after Christmas I have been trying my best to do as much ringing as I can within the constraints of the day and around the weather! I have managed a couple of long weekend sessions recently with the help of Kelly and Karl and a good few hours here and there either before work or at lunchtime. The extra effort has certainly been rewarded with some exciting new species for the site and a new species for myself today which I was very excited about!

Mistle Thrush Turdus viscivorus 

The Mistle Thrush was a nice surprise though I had been trying to catch the resident one for some time I had given up hope until I saw this beast waiting for my in the net. The new species for the site over the last few weeks have included Redwing, House Sparrow, Siskin, Song Thrush, Wren and Jay.

Siskin (female) Carduelis spinus

Greenfinch (male) Carduelis chloris

Totals for the last few weeks are below:

Full grown                                                   Retraps          Total
          Wren                                                            1                 0                 1
          Dunnock                                                        3                 1                 4
          Robin                                                            2                 0                 2
          Blackbird                                                      6                 1                 7
          Song Thrush                                                  1                 0                 1
          Redwing                                                        4                 0                 4
          Mistle Thrush                                                1                 0                 1
          Long-tailed Tit                                               7                 9                16
          Coal Tit                                                        0                 2                 2
          Blue Tit                                                       39               22                61
          Great Tit                                                     17                 9                26
          Nuthatch                                                       0                 4                 4
          Jay                                                               1                 0                 1
          House Sparrow                                               1                 0                 1
          Chaffinch                                                      4                 0                 4
          Greenfinch                                                    6                 0                 6
          Goldfinch                                                     11                 0                11
          Siskin                                                          1                 0                 1
                                           Totals                                  105               48              153

Saturday, 7 January 2012


An overdue update on my recent goings on. I seem to spend more time reading other blogs than keeping this one up to date.... Over Christmas I headed back North to civilisation and did a little bit of ringing in my Aunt and Uncle's Garden. They have an epic feeding station which is very rarely busy.

I managed to catch a total of 81 bird of only 13 species. I did however handle two new species, namely Marsh and Willow tit. After handling a few the differences soon became apparent and I was happy to have separated the two.

Willow tit

Marsh tit

 Other highlights included catching 6 bullfinches, boosting my totals for this species substantially! I also managed a handful of siskins, goldfinch and chaffinch amongst the usual garden fare.

Today I went on an excursion to an orchard over in Bucks with C&D, mostly a social visit as I have been without transport for a while until santa kindly bought me a new one. We did not catch many birds but a good selection and another new one for me, fieldfare! We caught 4 in total out of the hundreds that were around, they sadly seem to prefer foraging in the horse paddocks as the weather is still quite mild. Despite a frustrating end involving sheep and D&C's nets it was good to get out and about and nice to learn about a new species.


Sunday, 6 November 2011


After a ridiculously long period with no ringing I made it out to a morning session on Chobham common NNR. The previous week the group caught 70 odd redpoll and good numbers of goldcrest. This visit was decidedly quieter with only a bakers dozen redpoll obliging. Many more were present though and it seems to be all or nothing at this site. I did have the rare opportunity to handle a new species though which was nice, the bird I ringed being a juvenile male and the one below being an adult male, the second and last to be trapped this visit.

Dartfrod Warbler Sylvia undata

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A night on Skomer

We spent the weekend in Wales which included a night staying on Skomer Island, off the Pembrokeshire coast. With excellent weather a good number of birds were seen, sadly the short eared owls had fledged and left the island the week previously. Chough, peregrine, puffins and scores of manx shearwaters more than made up for that though!

Herring gull



Manx shearwater

Glow worm

Blurry gull

Kittiwakes on the cliffs


The highlight has to have been the shearwaters, as the the night got darker than dark they came trickling in, falling from the sky. The noise of their calls grew and they seemed to appear out of nowhere, clumsily landing on the ground and scuttling into their burrows.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

A week at Stanwell

I went out for 3 evening sessions at Stanwell with Chris and Denise this week where we tried a few new net sites in addition to the usual reedbed ones. Varying numbers where caught each night, with yesterday evening seeing the highest total of around 45 birds.

Birds over the week included Swallow, Sand Martin and House Martin (No Swifts, sadly), as well as a good selection warblers including a juvenile Cetti's. Two more LRP pulli were found and ringed and I got to grips with my second ever kingfisher! Chris and I got wet feet yesterday trying to extend the net run further out into the lake, hopefully the extra length will bag a few more hirundines and perhaps one of the local terns will have a silly moment and pay us a visit....

Kingfisher Alcedo atthis

More on Malta

Last week I had a version of my post on the situation in Malta published in the Webzine. It can be found here:

Quite timely but infuriating comes the news from Malta itself of a Hungarian ringed Spoonbill being needlessly slaughtered in what bizarrely amounts to a drive-by shooting! What these idiots were thinking we will never know, we can only hope they are apprehended in due course.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Owling around

Small pearl bordered Fritillary

Over the past few weeks I have been running around all over the shop with work and ringing and travelling so I thought I would do a quick catchup of recent events. The most exciting event for me was a day out with Peter Wilkinson travelling around Cambridgeshire checking barn owl boxes. We managed to get around almost 20 boxes in the day and visited many different farms. This was his first trip out in the area of the season so everything was up in the air until the moment we checked the boxes. For our efforts we found a good number of barn owl nests, some new, some regular and a few with stock doves inside! Over the day I ringed barn owl, kestrel and little owl pulli, all new species for me and a pleasure to learn about. I have hopefully absorbed some of the wealth of information about nest box design and siting and can put it to use in the future.

Kestrel Falco tinnunculus

Little owl Athene noctua

Barn owl Tyto alba

Some work related excursions have produced some nice species to admire and take a few snaps of, including Adder, Scarlet tiger and countless haymeadow plant species. A trip or three out with the Runnymede group at various locations allowed me to catch up with various people and see some of the newly fledged warblers, including a cetti's. I am off out tomorrow to another CES session hopefully rounded off with few common tern and black headed gull pulli, watch this space!

Adder Vipera berus

Scarlet tiger Callimorpha dominula

Cetti's warbler Cettia cetti