Sunday, 29 June 2014

Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 28 June

The first summer ringing session of 2014 at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont was carried out today by Gary, Alex and I. We expected to have to do fair bit of clearing because of the phenomenal vegetation growth we had seen locally but we were still surprised at what we found on site. The nettles were above head height in places and the brambles had gone crazy. The weather was overcast and quite still as we attacked the vegetation with various implements and erected nets as we cleared it, it was 3 hours after arriving on site before we had the last net up!

We still managed a decent catch of 66 birds including 8 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/2, Song Thrush 1/1, Robin 4/1, Wren 4/1, Dunnock 2/0, Reed Warbler 13/2, Blackcap 10/0, Garden Warbler 1/0, Whitethroat 5/0, Chiffchaff 4/1, Willow Warbler 5/0, Great Tit 3/0, Treecreeper 1/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 2/0. The oldest retrap was a Reed Warbler from 2011. Up to three Cuckoos were around most of the morning, calling and chasing but managing to avoid the nets!


Monday, 23 June 2014

Attenborough CES Visit 6, Sunday 22 June

Gary, Alex, Duncan, Sue, Tom and I completed the sixth and final CES visit of the year at Attenborough on Sunday. The weather was still and sunny throughout which no doubt affected the catch as most of the nets were in full sun. We have been fortunate this year to have carried out every visit in very still conditions, something I can’t ever remember happening in previous years.

We managed to catch 33 birds including 8 retraps, the breakdown was (new/retrap): Bullfinch 1/2, Wren 1/1, Reed Warbler 3/3, Reed Bunting 2/1, Great Tit 2/1, Chiffchaff 1/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Blackcap 8/0, Robin 3/0, Dunnock 3/0. The oldest retrap was the Reed Warbler from 2007 that we have regularly caught this year and a Great Tit from 2008 that was recaptured for the first time since ringing.

Around, but not in the nets, were a Tawny Owl, a Nuthatch and some Peacock caterpillars (see below). The poles and guys were all removed at the end of the visit as the Trust are to turn the cattle out on the Delta now. 


 Nets 1 & 2 (Sue Lakeman)
 Peacock caterpillars (Sue Lakeman)

Little Grebe nest

Following an unproductive ringing session at Bestwood this morning I decided to check on a Little Grebe nest I am monitoring for the BTO Nest Record Scheme. I found the nest last week and as the adult covers the eggs when leaving only 2 were visible. This morning the eggs were uncovered, revealing 4 and a newly hatched chick!

Mick P

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Kestrel recovery

An interesting recovery from new box site at Epperstone. A long dead male Kestrel with its head missing - and it was ringed! I would imagine its assailant was either a Tawny Owl or a stoat. EN series rings were first used in the 1980s so it will be interesting to hear of its origins in due course.


Sunday, 15 June 2014

Attenborough CES Visit 5, Saturday 14 June

A perfect morning for mist netting, no wind and overcast. Gary, Nick and I set the nets pretty quickly despite having to clear the rides a little as the vegetation had sprung up amazingly since visit 4 a couple of weeks ago.

The totals were 26 new birds and 10 retraps made up as follows: Blackcap 2/0, Great Tit 6/3, Blue Tit 0/1, Robin 4/0, Dunnock 1/1, Reed Warbler 4/2, Wren 6/1, Bullfinch 2/0, Treecreeper 1/1, Reed Bunting 0/1.

The oldest retrap was a Blue Tit from 2011. The Treecreeper retrap was from 2013 and is the first bird caught this year that has started its wing moult, with a score of 7. Overall we have had better catches this year than last (apart from visit 1) but the extra birds are resident species not warblers, there is a distinct lack of warblers at the site this year.


Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Wales, Sunday 8 June

Gary, Mick P, Duncan, Alex, Tom and I made the trip to Wales on Sunday to ring the Pied Flycatcher chicks. We had received varying reports about the season but generally they implied that the birds had arrived back and started laying over a longish period of time. This was borne out by what we found on site. The timing of the visit was about as right as it could be and we ringed 68 pulli Pied Flycatchers and 7 adults. We left 50 chicks unringed because they were too small, there were about 40 eggs still to hatch and 4 broods had fledged. We also did an adult Redstart but the two Redstart nests we found had eggs and small chicks. To end the day we mist-netted a Wood Warbler. Yet again there were no Buzzards nesting although there were a few around and Tom and I had excellent views of a Red Kite.


 Pied Flycatcher with 3 obvious juvenile greater coverts indicating a bird born the previous year. (G. Goddard)

Wood Warbler (G. Goddard)

Monday, 2 June 2014

Attenborough CES Visit 4, Sunday 1 June

What a contrast to last week, the sun was out from the start, not a cloud in the sky all morning. This undoubtedly affected the catch as the nets were lit up but I was still surprised at how few birds we caught. There seemed to be very little movement of birds at the site generally. Still, it was a pleasant morning for Sue, Duncan, Gary, Nick, Alex and I to spend sitting in the sun, or at least it would have been if the mosquitoes had left us alone!

The totals were 16 new and 7 retraps made up as follows: Blackcap 3/1, Great Tit 1/1, Chiffchaff 0/1, Robin 3/0, Dunnock 1/1, Garden Warbler 0/1, Reed Warbler 1/1, Wren 2/0, Blackbird 3/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Chaffinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retrap was the Garden Warbler from 2010 that we also caught last week. We did catch our first juvenile warbler of the year, a Blackcap.


 Juvenile Robin (Sue Lakeman)

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Box checking in the Vale

Well, I ringed more owls yesterday alone than in the whole of 2013, so things are looking up. I'd been a bit concerned after a week of incessant rain, but it seems that many pairs were well ahead of schedule with good sized young that were perhaps more able to weather the storms.

I began with Kestrel boxes and found a wide range from birds on eggs up to a brood of 5 that must have been half grown. The pic below also shows the head of the sixth sibling which had become breakfast at some point (the fifth is hidden in the far left hand corner, perhaps hoping to avoid the same fate)...

Next were two boxes with large Little Owl chicks. Talking to several people, these appear to have had a good year in 2013, unlike Tawny and Barn Owls. I wonder if we are now seeing the result of that? (Yes, Penny decided that an old bridesmaid's dress was the correct attire for box-checking...)

Lastly, 2 of 3 Barn Owl broods I found were big enough to ring and seemingly doing well with a few prey items cached.

Fingers crossed for not too much more wet weather.