Monday, 27 June 2011

Attenborough CES, Sunday 26 June

The last visit of our CES season started well in overcast and still conditions. Catching was steady until the sun came out half way through the session. The temperature then started to rise quickly and the birds stopped going into the nets. After taking in all of the kit and carting it back to the cars the five of us ended up very hot and sweaty as we dare not remove too much clothing and give the attendant mosquitoes a free meal. The birds we caught were as expected for the site and we ended on 36 birds including 8 retraps. The hoped for catch of juvenile Cetti's Warblers did not materialize despite us catching both male and female in the same net over the last few weeks, although we were given a couple of bursts of song during the early morning.

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Attenborough CES, visit 5, Saturday 18 June

The forecast did not look good for this weekend but with a demo to do on Saturday I got up and was surprised to find it was not raining. We started to set nets wondering how long we would stay dry but the weather seemed to get better...........until about 10.30. Just after the young rangers group arrived for the demo the heavens opened which sent us running off to close the nets, we left them closed for about 45 minutes before opening them again. Fortunately we had a decent catch just before the rain started and managed to show them a variety of birds from Treecreeper to Sparrowhawk. Interestingly, for us anyway, the Sparrowhawk was a retrap. It was ringed in Attenborough Village by Tim in March when he was out with Mick P trying for Waxwings. Another surprise in the nets was a juvenile Goldcrest, the first we have ever had on a CES visit. Other than that the mix was as expected for the site and we ended on 30 birds including 11 retraps.

Recoveries & Controls, June 2011

An Egyptian Goose ringed by the group at Attenborough in 2008 was found half eaten (probably fox) in March this year, but beating that was a Mute Swan ringed in Ruddington in 2003 and found dead at Attenborough recently.Whilst doing the boxes at Bunny this year several Tree Sparrows corpses were found looking as if they'd perished whilst roosting, presumably in the very cold weather. All had been ringed in either 2009 or 2010. An interesting control was caught by Mick in Hucknall in March - a Siskin ringed as a youngster in Thetford Forest in August 2009.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Hucknall Meadow Pipit nest

I managed to ring the nest of 5 mipits today, 12/6/11. The chicks were at the IP stage
I found the nest with 4 eggs on the 24/5/11, this increased to 5 eggs on the 1/6/11.
Mick P

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Box-checking pics from Ian

Attenborough CES, Saturday 11 June

At last a ringing morning dawned with no wind blowing. We arrived on site to find the growing vegetation had hidden many of the poles and guys since the last visit 3 weeks ago but eventually the nets were up, the sun out and still no wind. We had not heard the male Cetti's Warbler we caught on visit 2 (in net 5) singing since the day we caught it but on the second round of the nets I saw a Cetti's Warbler in net 5 with a ring on. I assumed it was that same bird but on processing back at base we found it was a control female, almost certainly breeding on site as it had a BP code 3. The rest of the morning produced a steady catch of the usual birds for the site, including the first Blackcap and Chiffchaff juvs of the season. By the end of the session the sun was still out and the wind had only picked up to a slight breeze. We finished on 38 birds including 11 retraps.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Wales, Sunday 5 June

A disappointing visit in many ways. Luckily the weather forecast was wrong and we enjoyed generally dry weather with only a few spots of rain. During my short visit a week earlier I found 4 active Pied Flycatcher nests in the 9 I checked, this ratio was unfortunately not representative for all the boxes. We ended the box checking with only 124 pulli and 8 adult (3 of them retraps) Pied Flycatchers and 6 pulli and 1 adult Redstart. The reports of an early season were correct for a few birds with a couple of boxes that we believed had already fledged part of their broods but quite a few boxes still had chicks too small to ring and some still on eggs. The Wood Warbler that was singing a week ago in a regularly used territory had gone so we had no joy there but a bonus was two Buzzard nests with chicks. Chris did the honours of climbing and we ringed a brood of one and a brood of two, Libby now has a new favourite bird.


Cuckoo tracking

This is definitely worth a look...

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Little Owl control

We ring maybe 10-15 Little Owl chicks every year, and as a result get next to no recoveries. The last one I can remember is a chick at Scarrington that moved 30 metres from it's nest hole and drowned in a horse-trough (it's not just Barn Owls suffer this fate).

In 2008 we ringed two of a brood of three Little Owls in a walnut tree at Shelton. As this had a narrow nest hole entrance, it meant going back with Louise Gentle to use her slender arms to extract the chicks. Just recently, Mick Pearson was checking another natural nest site at Woodborough (one I'd removed debris from to encourage the Little Owls to use again) and controlled one of the Shelton chicks on its own three small chicks. That's a movement of 15 km, which is pretty good in Little Owl terms.


PS Success at last! One of the Little Owl nest boxes (of the Bob Sheppard design) that Duncan & I put up in Lincs in Feb/March had an adult & single chick in it last week. That's the first time I've managed to get Little Owls into a purpose designed nest box!

East Lincs owling, 31 May - 3 June

Just for interest and a bit of comparison, a bit of feedback from what we found this week in east Lincs (from my blurred memory):
  • Barn Owls - 34 breeding pairs found and 1 other that might do soon. Processed 31 females (4 got the better of us).  13 of the females were unringed, which seems quite high, suggesting lower winter survival than usual with bias to the higher ground.  Also processed 7 males (3 new/4 old).  One male had an old break in it's right tarsus.  We wondered about ringing it, but as it dug it's claw several millimetres in to Mike's finger we reckoned the foot was working well enough!  Also, at least 3 controls in there, but Adrian will need to sort out which are retraps/controls.
  • Kestrels - 2 broods of 4 ringed.  c3 to go back to.
  • Tawny Owls - Final brood of 2 ringed at Welton Woods.
  • Stock Dove - Mainly on presumably second clutches, bar the 4 ringed.
  • Little Owl - The highlight for me!  As one of the boxes Duncan & I put up late winter was used.  An adult & 3 chicks ringed at 2 sites.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011