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.


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.


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.


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.


 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.


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.