Saturday, 31 July 2010

Hobby chicks

These Hobby chicks were ringed and colour ringed on 29 July at a nest in the south of the county. The nest was a in tree on the edge of a field, a tree in the same field was used by a pair in 2008.

Friday, 30 July 2010

Upper Saxondale Barn Owls

Recently, the Upper Saxondale Residents Association got in touch with me, via RuBOP, about breeding Barn Owls near Saxondale. It transpired they were in a box SNRG had put up on pole nearby a few years ago. So, with the agreement of the farmer I arranged for a group of them to come and see the two chicks being ringed. They really enjoyed themselves and kindly donated £24 to Group funds. As a follow-up I will be visiting the 10 hectare reserve they manage to give advice on nest boxes this autumn. Some photos taken by Sally Ward follow.

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 25 July

The morning started overcast and quite still, all looked good for a decent catch. We quickly erected 12 nets but the site seemed relatively quiet. As the morning went on the breeze picked up and the sun came out but I think the relatively low catch of 43 birds, including 14 retraps, was not due to the weather just the relatively low number of birds at the site.
This is a photo from Mick P of an adult Reed Warbler we caught with arrested moult - 2 old secondaries on this wing and 1 on the other.
The nets to the east of the of the hedge that runs from the entry point to the site have not been up since early in the season so I spent some time clearing some of those rides out ready for next weekend.

Saturday, 24 July 2010

Busy box in Hose

A couple of weeks ago Ian & I ringed 5 Barn Owl chicks in a box near Hose but had to leave the sixth as it was too small. I popped back today to check and was a bit disappointed when a Stock Dove flew out of the box. But on sticking my nose in I found 4 healthy Barn Owl chicks in one corner of the box and two fresh Stock Dove eggs in the other. It seems as if for the moment, they are content with communal living and if the doves are lucky, the owls will fledge before their eggs hatch...

Friday, 23 July 2010

Little Owls

Paul Riddle has done an astonishing amount of work tracking and monitering over 100 Little Owl sites in South Leicester recently, thought some of the SNRG blog readers might find this interesting...

Ian B

Caythorpe, 21 July

I managed a couple of hours ringing at Caythorpe this morning before work. A good session resulting in 11 new birds and 1 retrap.

The majority were Whitethroat with 1 adult and 5 juveniles caught. I wonder if this was a family party.
This gave a great opportunity to compare the eye colour and the feathers of different ages; the pristine feathers, dark eye and fault bar of a 3JP and the well worn feathers and lighter eye of the 4FM (with a primary moult score of 6 and brood patch score of 4).

Other new birds were 1 Dunnock, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Greenfinch and 1 Swallow.

The retrap was Jim's swallow (again). As mentioned in an earlier blog this was ringed as a pullus in 2008 approximately 5km (3 miles) away, as the 'swallow' flies.
Thanks as always to the landowner, Wilma.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Bioblitz at Rushcliffe Country Park, Sun 18 July

The event seemed to be well attended but yet again we seemed to have been sited away from the main 'arena', along with NBW and a number of other local groups. Despite this we had more visitors than we had at Wollaton, Jim made a possible contact for another Owl box site and we caught 16 birds of 4 species including 3 retraps. At least we were in a marquee this time so other than running to the nets when it occasionally rained we did not get wet.
(And on Monday, Mick, Meisha and Sara continued to man the nets for the schools event and were treated to a visit from me and all my Y6s and produced a Reed Warbler to order - thanks guys, we had a great day, Pete)

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 18 July

Today, Duncan, Libby, Ian and I went to Holme Pierrepont with Gary. We got 6 nets up before the light, expected rain started to arrive, but then the rain got heavier and forced us to close the nets for 45 minutes or so. Luckily, we didnt give up and the weather improved allowing us to open the nets and put up another 4 into the reedbeds.

We caught 36 birds, 28 new and 8 retraps. The new birds included a good selection of juveniles including Sedge, Reed, Garden & Willow Warblers, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Wren and Robin. One of the juvenile Reed Warblers prompted a good discussion about whether it was a 1J or a 3J as it was obviously still growing all its flight feathers. In the end we aged it as a 3J and when released (close to where it was caught) it flew off strongly. Here is a picture of its tongue spots:

Interestingly all the retraps were adults. Several birds were in various stages of moult allowing good learning opportunities. All in all, a great morning which came to an end about 11:30 as the wind got stronger and the skies darkened once again. Thanks to Gary & Libby for the pics.

Mick P

Monday, 12 July 2010

Recycling ring strings

The BTO are having another push on this and it may help in some small way to keep the never-ending increase in ring prices at a minimum.

The only strings that cannot be recycled now are the blue AA strings. All others should be kept back please and at some point passed on to Jim who will then deliver them in bulk to the BTO. Please remember not to cut them and just untie the knots.

RSPB Family Fun Weekend at Wollaton Park

We put on a ringing demo for this on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday started hot and sunny, it remained hot but with more cloud into the afternoon. We arrived on site at 0900, the event due to start at 1100. The site we had been given to catch birds was far from ideal but we cleared rides and put up 7 nets, got the 'reception' centre ready and hoped for the best. Surprisingly we never had a net round without catching at least one bird so the public that came to have a look invariably saw at least one bird. Unfortunately the site was off the beaten track and the number of visitors would best be described as a trickle. By the time we took down we had managed to catch 32 birds, all new. The only thing of note was a Coal Tit that gave Duncan a ringing tick.

Sunday started cooler but sunny and windy. We arrived a little later at 1000 and set up, I then left the team to it and returned at 1600 to help clear up. What a difference a day makes, only 6 birds were caught all day and again only a few visitors.

Still, we did our bit for BTO/RSPB relations and a few kids had their day made by letting some birds go.

Thanks to all involved.


Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 4 July

The weather forecast was for strong winds and cloud but we arrived at HPP to find it calm and sunny. Nabegh came along for a couple of hours first thing to help us set up but mainly to say goodbye, his return to Syria may be as early as Thursday. Once Nabegh had gone it was just Gary and I, rather like old times - can't believe I turned away four possible new trainees in the last couple of weeks because we have too many! No visit had been made to the site for a month and the net rides needed rather a lot of clearing, so it took quite a while to get the nets up, by which time the wind had started to get up. The wind strength increased throughout the morning forcing us to take down just after 11.00. Despite the wind and cloudless skies we managed to catch 52 birds including a Spanish ringed Reed Warbler that we also caught in 2008. There seemed to be a good number of juveniles caught indicating the Attenborough catches of nil juvs (except tits) recently were not showing a generally poor breeding season.

Friday, 2 July 2010

Postcard from Lapland

Late June saw me trekking and camping in Lapland (Northern Sweden), within the Arctic Circle. Although Sarek National Park is notorious for its hungry mozzies, the near-zero temperatures and heavy snow storms kept them at bay during my visit!
Bird-wise, it was a very eventful trip: dive-bombed by nesting Long-tailed Skuas (whose parental care also involved emptying their bowels on any intruders!); kept awake during the 24h daylight by an over-enthusiastic cuckoo; and inadvertently settling up camp within feet of a Bluethroats nest; just to name a few!
PS. While there were lots of reindeer in the valleys and marshlands, there was no sign of Santa.