Sunday, 25 November 2012

Brackenhurst, Saturday 24 November

A decent session yesterday morning at Brack in between the wet fronts that have been lashing down over the last few days. We started in the damp, frosty cold which brought the birds in to the feeders quickly and we had 35 birds on the first net round. The sun struggled to break through and even I felt chilled late morning. However, Duncan, Esther, Matt, Peter & I stuck it out. For a change, the rain forecast behaved and did not arrive til 2ish when we were away.

We had three or four very busy net rounds and then it rapidly quietened. This was in part because Duncan spotted a white ferret, and we then trailed it round the feeding site until someone from the veterinary unit came to collect their escapee. She seemed none the worse for her experience and I got to pick up my first ferret.

We processed 90 individual birds and more than half were tits. Again the tits were mainly adults with 70% of Great Tits & 54% of Blue Tits being adults. This points towards their having a poor breeding season as we'd expect juveniles to dominate catches in the early winter. However, maybe Tree Sparrows fared better this year as the 10 ringed yesterday was the best total for a single session at Brackenhurst. It was also good to catch the first Yellowhammers of the winter, including a retrap from 2009. The best of the other retraps was a Blue Tit from 2008 and a two 2009 Great Tits.

Totals were (new/retraps): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 2/1, Blue Tit 12/10, Great Tit 4/20, Treecreeper 1/0, Tree Sparrow 10/0, Chaffinch 14/1, Yellowhammer 11/1.

There were plenty of 'winter' thrushes about, and other sightings included a couple of Jays squabbling, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker & Little Owl. However, the Marsh Tits that used to be up 'n down the 'holloway' by where we process the birds are sorely missed.


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lenton Waxwings

As the rain had finally stopped, I thought I would spend the morning checking the Waxwings at Lenton.

When I was there two days ago the flock was 80 strong and I had found the tree they were feeding in, it was surrounded by buildings (and building have windows). A Sparrowhawk had also found the tree and while I was watching it made an attack. I didn't see it catch a bird but did scatter them in all directions.

Mick P joined me and we went for a walk under the tree where we found the 3 dead birds. Two appeared to have hit windows and the third appeared to have been caught  by the Sparrowhawk and half plucked.

As birds were only dropping vertically into the tree we abandoned any thoughts of trying to net them.


Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Rushcliffe Country Park, Sunday 18 November

Just Tom and myself made it to RCP on Sunday morning. There was a good frost but no wind and we did have a nice warm hut with a heater to process the birds in.

Despite all the effort by Mick T keeping the site baited the catch was very slow from first thing and after the 11.00am net round with only one bird in the nets we decided to take down.

We finished on just 21 birds caught, 9 new and 12 retraps, the catch was (new/retrap): Chaffinch 5/2, Great Tit 2/8, Blue Tit 1/0, Robin 1/1 and Dunnock 0/1.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Granby, Sunday 18 November

It was no surprise to be met with a hard frost this morning. How else do we expect to be welcomed to Granby? I can almost feel my toes as I type, but the first session of the season at the Granby Fridge Experience did not do anything to shake its polar reputation.

Jim, Duncan and I spent a while sorting out nets and guys in the twilight as thrushes trickled out of their roost sites and smaller birds started going into the nets before we'd finished. A promising start, but as is often the case with these early November sessions, it wasn't to last and we finished on 35 birds of 10 species, 11 of them retraps.

Totals as follows (new/retrap): Robin 4/0, Dunnock 0/1, Wren 2/0, Blackbird 1/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 2/1, Great Tit 2/9, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Treecreeper 2/0, Chaffinch 9/0.

The morning was unquestionably beautiful with clear blue skies and almost no wind. Highlights in the hand were two Treecreepers, a Goldcrest and a retrap Great Tit from Dec 2007. Interesting to note that of the 11 Great Tits caught, only the 2 new birds were youngsters and the rest were retrap adults. One wonders if this will continue to be the case through the season, indicating a poor breeding season for the species.

Other sightings included single Jay, Heron and Cormorant overhead, 80 Lapwing, 200+ Fieldfare and 120+ Redwing, 3 Bullfinch, 10+ Linnet, a few Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Rushcliffe Country Park, Sunday 11 November

Libby, Duncan, Tom and myself met at 07.00 on Sunday morning for the first session of the winter at RCP. The weather was calm and bright, good conditions for netting but we knew if the wind got up we  would have problems with leaves.

We had a steady catch throughout the morning and finished on a total of 38 birds caught, 31 new and 7 retraps, but as the morning went on the wind did pick up and the nets started to fill with leaves, so time to take down.

The catch was (ringed/retrapped): Chaffinch 9/2, Great Tit 9/5, Dunnock 1/0, Robin 1/0, Blue Tit 4/0, Reed Bunting 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 5/0 and Greenfinch 1/0.


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Brackenhurst, Friday 2 November

We had the first session of the winter at the Brackenhurst feeders. John Clark, Tina, Gary & myself made up the team. As we had a few folks we also set 4 nets in Orwin's plantation. Initially, we were quite sheltered from the south-westerly winds, but as the morning progressed and the wind turned round to the west it affected the nets and we got a fair bit of leaf extraction practice! We had a busy start with 20 birds (including the Long-tailed Tit flock) in the Orwin's nets first thing, then it was steady throughout the morning. The total catch of 82 birds was a good start to the winter.

We handled 28 Great Tits of which 70% were adults. This underlines our perception that they had a poor breeding season. This was easily the biggest ever single day catch of this species at the site. Another highlight was catching a Jay in Orwin's, which is a first for Brackenhurst. Of the 7 retraps, the most notable birds were a Blue Tit & Chaffinch which were both originally ringed on 9 February 2008 at the second ever ringing session at the site.

Overall, we processed 82 birds made up of (75 new/7 retraps): Wren 1/0, Dunnock 2/0, Robin 1/0, Blackbird 3/0, Goldcrest 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 12/0, Blue Tit 8/1, Great Tit 24/4, Jay 1/0, Tree Sparrow 5/0, Chaffinch 16/2.


Thursday, 1 November 2012

Buzzard recovery

A Buzzard ringed as a chick near Costock in June 2009 was found dead near Sileby, Leics last month. Only 12km as teh Buzzard flies, but over 3 years later.