Monday, 30 July 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 29 July

The forecast was good for Sunday morning so Kev and I decided to ring at the Grange site at HPP. By 06.00 only Jim, Tom and myself had turned up (Kev had a knee problem). Not sure what happened to the SNRG trainees?

The usual 11 nets were set and the first round caught 26 birds, the second 25 and after that things got a little slower and that provided the chance for Tom to start ringing a few birds.

The wind got stronger as the morning went on so we finished on 60 birds ringed and 6 retraped.

Ringed/retraped as as follows: Reed Warbler 40/2, Blue Tit 1/0, Sedge Warbler 4/1, Blackcap 5/0, Robin 1/0, Whitethroat 1/0, Bullfinch 3/1, Wren 1/1, Willow Warbler 3/0, Dunnock 0/1 and Chiffchaff 1/0.

Looks as if the Reed Warblers are fairing better than we thought as 30 of the 40 ringed were juvs and 10 unringed adults, were have they come from? However,  the lack of tits, Dunnocks and Sylvia warblers was very striking.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Barn Owl rescue

The following story just in from Don Pritchett, co-ordinator of Vale Barn Owl Conservation:

"On Saturday 10 June I received a phone call from a Denton farmer about a tree that had blown down on the Friday night. A farmworker who lives nearby had been watching Barn Owls visiting the tree to feed young so first thing Saturday they inspected the tree and a fox was already on site and crows were gathering.

They removed 2 young owls from a hole and as the farmworker's father had a box in his back garden they fixed it to the fallen tree.

The owls were placed in the box and as requested, I had a look. Given the traumatic event and bad weather I bought six frozen white mice from a Grantham pet shop, defrosted them and took a biggish mouse from my garage trap before visiting the box with Keith Waterfall.

Keith climbed to the box and the youngest owl was not looking lively. Keith stretched his arm intending to offer my trapped mouse to the bigger owlet at the back of the box and as the mouse went over the smallest owlet, it perked up and grabbed the mouse and swallowed in one go. It then took three white mice.

The older one would not take a mouse so we piled three up near it.

That evening an adult owl was seen returning to the tree but seemed confused. On Sunday morning a peek showed two of the white mice we left had been eaten. That evening at 9pm an adult was seen entering the box.

On Thursday 11 July Colin Shawyer who monitors the boxes on this farm ringed the two young owls which were about to fledge!"

Monday, 23 July 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 22 July

We were back on the Grange side of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday. Another good sized team of Gary, Steve, Ruth, Ian, Tom and I started in perfect overcast and calm conditions but by 0900 the sun was blazing (I know I should not complain after the summer we have had so far) and the breeze was picking up, eventually becoming quite strong. We ended with 64 birds including 16 retraps, not got all the details to hand but the usual mix of warblers including two controls. We even caught a single juv Long-tailed Tit, the first of the year!


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 15 July

We decided to run a session from the A52 side of the Holme Pierrepont site because of a major event being held at the Water Sports Centre. A good sized team of Gary, Steve, Nick, Libby, Ian, possible new recruit Tom and I carried all the kit and poles up the track for the first session at this site for 2012. The weather was good with just a light breeze but the breeze did pick up quite a bit as the morning went on.

Unfortunately the poor weather we have had has also affected this normally dry site. The base was flooded, some of the usual nets were not possible to put up because of the water and a couple were only possible with wellies that were close to being breeched!

Catching was steady right up to the time we took down but there were no flocks of birds moving through and not a single Blue or Great Tit was caught. We ended with 63 birds including 6 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 2/0, Dunnock 7/1, Robin 8/0, Blackbird 0/1, Song Thrush 0/1, Sedge Warbler 0/1, Reed Warbler 9/0, Lesser Whitethroat 3/0, Whitethroat 4/0, Garden Warbler 3/0, Blackcap 5/1, Willow Warbler 7/1, Chiffchaff 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 2/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Goldfinch 3/0, Bullfinch 2/0.


Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 8 July

I still can't believe Mick P, Gary, Steve, Nick and I managed to get a full session in on Sunday at Holme Pierrepont. The forecast said it would rain by 10.00 and the morning started grim looking with slight drizzle but we went ahead and even managed to park in the car park, which was an improvement on last week - although security were on duty when we returned. Net erecting was a rather slow process because many of the rides needed clearing and the poles and guys finding. We found all the kit bar a few guys and erected nets in the usual rides, although a couple of rides had to have shorter net lengths because of the high water level. The reed beds seemed relatively quiet for a July morning!

The weather stayed mainly overcast, the sun appearing briefly mid-morning and the rain only started just as we had decided to take down, the wind was light all morning. Catching was steady right up to the time we took down.

We ended with 86 birds including 19 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 4/0, Dunnock 1/1, Robin 2/1, Blackbird 2/0, Sedge Warbler 2/3, Reed Warbler 12/8, Whitethroat 3/0, Garden Warbler 5/1, Blackcap 12/0, Willow Warbler 2/1, Chiffchaff 6/1, Blue Tit 3/1, Chaffinch 2/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Goldfinch 2/0, Bullfinch 1/0. Reed Bunting 7/2.

Interestingly the same weekend last year gave us a catch of 84 birds but 42 of those birds were Reed Warblers and in the 42 there were 27 juvs (64%). This year we had a similar number of adults (16) but only 4 juvs (10%). We also failed to sex 4 of the adult Reed Warblers as they showed no sign of CP or BP, strange for this time of year. Have they had a terrible breeding season, giving up early or just not bothering?


Recent recoveries & controls, July 2012

Recent recoveries and controls for the group comprised of a number of different species and locations, quite refreshing to see, as usually it feels like Barn Owls make up the majority of data we get back.

A Barn Owl ringed as a chick at Hawton in June 2011 was found dead 8km away at Normanton in February 2012.

A Blackbird ringed in Arnold in January 2012 was found dead in the same area in March of 2012.

A young Great Spotted Woodpecker ringed at Attenborough in December 2011 unfortunately hit a window in February 2012.

And finally a Kestrel which was ringed as a chick in Shelford back in 2010 had been hit by a car near Cotgrave in May 2012, the happy ending being that after rehabilitation it was set to be released back into the wild.

Control birds this time round included a Lesser Redpoll ringed as a young bird at Bestwood in October 2011 which was controlled in Kent, in January 2012 after travelling 247km.

A young Yellowhammer from Lincolnshire, ringed in December 2010 was picked up at Rushcliffe Country Park in Feb 2012 after travelling 79km.

A Goldfinch ringed at Darlton, Nottingham back in April 2010 was controlled at The Meadows, Nottingham in February 2012 after travelling 41km.

Finally a Tree Sparrow did a fair bit of moving from where it was initially ringed at Spurn Bird Observatory in October 2011 to where it was controlled 108km away at Bestwood, Nottingham in February 2012.


Sunday, 8 July 2012

Barn Owl season

Well, a bit like Murray's Wimbledon final, my Barn Owl season started well and looked promising initially, but the end was a little disappointing, though perhaps inevitable. I visited my final three boxes whilst listening to 5 Live this afternoon and all three had held birds with clutches of 5 eggs about a month ago, but sadly all three had failed. Two boxes still held roosting adults, but on cold scattered eggs and one had a Stock Dove on 2 eggs. You can only ever guess at the cause of such failure, but I can't believe the weather hasn't played its part...