Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Rushcliffe Country Park, Sunday 29 January

Another cold and frosty start with no wind, all was looking good. Gary had brought along some kit to catch non-passerines around the lake and set off to try that whilst Nick and I set the nets around the feeders. Before we had finished setting Gary was back with a Moorhen! The catching rate at the feeders was disappointingly poor despite the perfect weather conditions and we finished on just 31 birds, 24 of which were retraps. The full capture list was (new/retrap): Chaffinch 1/3, Blue Tit 1/2, Goldfinch 0/4, Yellowhammer 2/4, Dunnock 0/1, Great Tit 0/6, Blackbird 1/1, Robin 1/1, Reed Bunting 0/2, Moorhen 1/0.


Monday, 30 January 2012

Granby, Sunday 29 January

Duncan, Libby, Pete and myself made visit ten to Granby today. Again, we had cold, calm and overcast weather; ideal for ringing. There were few birds about other then a few small flocks of Fieldfare, several hundred Wood Pigeons feeding on rape seedlings and the local 'yaffle'.

The frost brought the Yellowhammers in again and they dominated the catch with 32 handled. Star birds were the first Song Thrush and Reed Bunting of the winter. The Song Thrush or 'Mavis' as they're known in East Anglia was the fifth for the site and first for three years. Three of the Song Thrushes have been ringed on various 31 Decembers! The Chaffinches dropped from 20 on the last visit to to six this time. Nearly half the Blue & Great Tits were new birds, whereas on last few visits they were virtually all retraps. This often happens mid-winter; not sure what it means.

The full catch was 78 birds (53 new / 24 retrap). All the retraps were from this and last winter bar a 5 yo Blue Tit and 3 yo Yellowhammer. Full catch numbers were (new/retrap): Dunnock 2/-, Robin 2/2, Song Thrush 1/-, Blackbird 4/1, Blue Tit 5/6, Great Tit 6/8, Treecreeper -/1, Chaffinch 5/1, Yelllowhammer 27/5, Reed Bunting 1/-.

The plan is to return to Granby next weekend, as well as possibly going for the HPP Reed Bunting roost on Saturday.


A nice pair of tits. (male left, female right) (PML)

 An intriguing retrap Robin, known to be an adult and with a dark interior to the upper mandible, yet with four slightly shorter outer greater coverts each supporting a thorn (though these are the orange typical of adults, one would not normally see an abrupt end to the thorns, but a gradual decreas in size across the coverts). Furthermore, it appeared to have two ages of tail feather with those on the bird's right hand side being rather thing and pointed and those on the left being broad and rounded! If you think you can explain this - leave a comment!  (PML)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

AGM, Rushcliffe Country Park, Saturday 21 January

A good turn-out for last night's meeting, although some escaped the photo! Thanks to Nabegh for his talk on the Birds of Syria.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Granby, Sunday 15 January

Yellowhammer & Tree Sparrow (Jackie Lawrence)

Duncan and myself, and special guests Adrian Blackburn and Jackie Lawrence, made the ninth visit to Granby yesterday. At last some nice cold weather to bring the birds in to the feeding station. It was calm, being overcast at first and then bright for most of the session. They were a few thrushes and a Little Owl around as we drove up. Otherwise, the only bird of note was the first Willow Tit sighting of the winter that Adrian heard calling. The sunshine also got the Robins singing.

As we now expect, the frosts brought the Yellowhammers in in good numbers with 12 on the first round and 24 ringed in total. All were first winter birds bar an adult male. The Chaffinches also made their return with 20 processed and, in crude terms, small females (local?) being caught early on and big males (foreign?) being caught later on in the session. The full catch being 59 new birds with 34 retraps. The former being mainly Yellowhammers & Chaffinches and the latter tit retraps. With the cold there were several retraps of older birds (which seem to turn up when they want some dependable food) with two 5 year old birds and 3 & 4 year old Blue Tits together with 6 year old Great Tit and Chaffinch.

Full catch numbers were (new/retrap): Robin 2/3, Blackbird 6/-, Blue Tit -/13, Great Tit 3/13, Treecreeper 1/-, Chaffinch 17/3, Greenfinch 2/-, Bullfinch -/1, Tree Sparrow 4/1, Yellowhammer 24/-.

Lastly - the first pic below is the 1000th Yellowhammer to be ringed at the site!

1000th Granby Yellowhammer (Jim Lennon)
Treecreeper (Jackie Lawrence) 

The Blackbird below was a 5M with strange moult - 2ogc on right wing and 6 on left and several replaced inner secondaries.
Blackbird (Jackie Lawrence)

Rushcliffe Country Park, Sunday 15 January

A cold and frosty start gave us hope that a few more birds might be visiting the feeders than last week. It proved to be much better with more than twice the catch of the previous week, unfortunately many were retraps of recently ringed birds. A new Lesser Redpoll was nice and the oldest retraps we had were a Blue Tit from 2006 and a Robin from 2007. We ended with 57 birds of which 39 were retraps. The full capture list was (new/retrap): Chaffinch 7/5, Blue Tit 1/5, Goldfinch 1/0, Yellowhammer 5/5, Dunnock 0/3, Great Tit 1/11, Blackbird 2/0, Greenfinch 0/1, Lesser Redpoll 1/0, Robin 0/6, Reed Bunting 0/3


Monday, 9 January 2012

Granby, Sunday 8 January

Duncan, Ian and myself made the eighth visit of the winter to Granby on Sunday. Weather was breezy at first and then calm and overcast for most of the session. It was generally quiet and not many birds were around. Highlights were two Cormorants flying over, and Dunnocks & Robins (encouraged by the balmy weather no doubt) having a bit of a sing-song. Of course, the mild conditions meant the catch was small compared to this time last year. The full catch being 19 new birds with 17 retraps. Two of the Blue Tits had originally been ringed in 2006 (one in a nest box about 1km away) and a Great Tit from 2008. As it was quiet I thought I'd try to tape lure the Tree Sparrows that were hanging around the feeders, and two were caught right next to the player. Full catch numbers were (new/retrap): Wren 1/-, Dunnock 1/-, Robin -/1, Blue Tit -/8 Great Tit 1/8, Chaffinch 4/1, Greenfinch 1/-, Tree Sparrow 3/-, Yellowhammer 7/-.


Rushcliffe Country Park, Sunday 8 January

Not much to say about this mornings visit to RCP, weather was good but very few birds. We ended with only 23 birds of which 14 were retraps. All the retraps were recently ringed birds. The full capture list was (new/retrap): Chaffinch 1/3, Blue Tit 0/3, Goldfinch 0/1, Yellowhammer 4/5, Dunnock 1/0, Great Tit 0/2, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Friday 30 December 2011

This Christmas holiday I was lucky enough (thanks to some Melton Mowbray Pork Pie and Cropwell Bishop Stilton bribes) to spend some time with Chris, SNRG's "Lone Sniper".
We were hoping to catch some Snipe and Woodcock over on the fields surrounding the A52 pit at Holme Pierrepont one evening as they come in at dusk to feed, but due to the ground being so hard and dry (still!) and the blustery winds we decided to give it a go over near the Grange pit one early morning before dawn. This time we hoped to catch birds coming off the fields to roost in the reedbeds as the sun came up.
Unfortunately many of the birds either flew straight over us or avoided the nets and took cover right at the back of the reedbeds amongst the calling Water Rail and noisy Coots.
However, we didn't go home disappointed as the early morning light gave us an opportunity to enjoy a few Blackbirds and three Teal which went in the nets, all male, two adult and one young bird. I thought readers of the blog may find my photographs interesting, in particular the tail and wing shots as it is pretty easy to see the contrast in feather colour, two generations, indicating a juvenile.
I'm hoping for some calm weather as after a recce of the A52 fields later that morning, we discovered many probe marks, wader poo and feathers, suggesting concentrations of birds in certain wetter areas of the site, so fingers crossed for some calm nights.

Notts Wildlife Trust link

Note this link, just added to the list on the right:

Sunday, 1 January 2012