Tuesday 25 September 2012

Dunnock tail

Although not immediately obvious from the photo, this is a young Dunnock caught on the Isle of White Ringing Course which had replaced four outer pairs of tail feathers, but not inner two pairs. Not sure what to make of it as tail moult usually starts from the centre and moves outwards, unless it was a very freakish accident that happened to be symmetrical! Thanks to Chris Lilley for the photo.


Sunday 23 September 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 23 September

Duncan, Tom and myself met at 06.30 in the car park. As it was getting light we could see the sky was clear but there was strong easterly breeze. We set 8 nets as I thought that would be enough for the 3 of us to handle in case we hit a tit flock (we could hear Long-tailed Tits around).

It proved to be a good decision, as the first net round we has caught 39 birds in the long line of nets. Things slowed up a lot after that as the wind got stonger and a Sparrowhawk got out just as I got my fingers on it.

The first Cetti's Warbler for the site this year was a bonus, and a new species for Tom. A few Swallows and a Common Sandpiper overhead were the only other birds of note.

The catch was (ringed/retrapped): Long-tailed Tit 15/7, Chiffchaff 1/1, Wren 1/0, Blackcap 6/0, Dunnock 1/0, Robin 2/1, Reed Bunting 1/1, Blue Tit 5/1, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Cetti's Warbler 1/0, Reed Warbler 2/0, Great Tit 2/0 and Blackbird 0/1. A total of 50 birds caught, very good for this time of year in windy conditions.


Tuesday 18 September 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 16 September

Kev, Duncan, Nabegh, Tom and myself met at 06.00 on the A52 on a dark and very windy morning. Things did not look to good due to the strong wind, but we set the usual nets and catching started slowly. The site was very quiet and our guess was that nearly all the warblers had moved out.

Two good catches from the 60ft net on the corner boosted the numbers and we finished on 60 birds ringed and 6 retrapped, made up of (new/retrap): Chiffchaff 13/1, Long-tailed Tit 15/2, Willow Warbler 1/0, Blackcap 7/2, Robin 1/1, Lesser Whitethroat 2/0, Great Tit 2/0, Blue Tit 8/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackbird 2/0 and Dunnock 0/1. So despite the wind it proved to be a good morning's ringing.

All guys were removed and poles taken away so that's the site closed for this year.


Tuesday 11 September 2012

Recent Recoveries

An nice selection this time round with a Willow Warbler ringed in April 2009 at Wanlip, Leicestershire which was controlled at Holme Pierrepont in May of this year along with a Sedge Warbler originally ringed in August 2011 at Grantham sewage works.

An interesting 'local' Goldfinch ringed in December 2011 at Cropwell Bishop by Ian Kirton flew into Pete's patio windows at Harby in May this year; obviously this bird had the BTO ringing scheme in mind when it expired, almost a door-to-door delivery from one ringer to another!

It was also pleasant to see so many Barn Owl controls, seven in total, all ringed as chicks from 2007, 2009 and 2011, ranging from boxes in Newark, Lincolnshire and Leicestershire, with the majority controlled during May and June of this year. The average distance travelled from place of hatching lis between 30km and 40km, giving a fair idea of dispersal, with the furtherst distance travelled being 60km from one bird which moved from Lincolnshire to Muston in Leicestershire.

Two birds were found dead close to the site where they were ringed by SNRG with a Brack House Sparrow which was ringed as a chick this July which was discovered seven days later and an Attenborough Chaffinch ringed in October 2011 which hit a window in May this this year.

Ian B

Monday 10 September 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 9 September

We ran a session on the Grange side of the Holme Pierrepont site on Sunday. The team consisted of Gary, Jim, Steve, Duncan, Nabegh, Tom and I. The sky was clear from the start and remained that way all morning, so the temperature soon started to rise and the breeze got up late morning. Catching was steady early on but decreased as the temperature started to rise.

This week the majority of the birds came from the nets that were next to tapes, you never can tell with these birds! We ended with 52 birds including 6 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Robin 1/1, Blackbird 1/0, Sedge Warbler 2/0, Reed Warbler 17/0, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Blackcap 13/1, Chiffchaff 2/2, Blue Tit 1/2, Bullfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 5/0.

Tits and resident species in general were again conspicuous by their near absence and despite many of the warblers having moved on they still made up over 70% of the catch. Overhead at the Holme Pierrepont 'raptor watch point' we saw Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Hobby and a Red Kite.


Tuesday 4 September 2012

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 2 September

We ran another session on the A52 side of the Holme Pierrepont site on Sunday. The team consisted of Gary, Steve, Duncan, Nabegh, Tom and I. The weather was good to start, broken cloud with no breeze and we hoped for a catch like the previous week, although the site again seemed very quiet first thing.

Catching was steady early on but a variable breeze got up that was quite strong at times.This week the majority of the birds came from the nets away from the tape! We ended with just 35 birds including 9 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Dunnock 1/2, Robin 0/2, Blackbird 2/0, Reed Warbler 3/0, Whitethroat 1/2, Garden Warbler 2/0, Blackcap 10/0, Willow Warbler 1/1, Chiffchaff 1/0, Bullfinch 2/2, Reed Bunting 3/0. Other than Blackcaps, it appeared that the majority of the warblers, have moved on.


Tree Pipit

Mick P caught a Tree Pipit at Bestwood the other day - a young bird with a good long wing of 91mm and a good short hind claw of 7mm. (Meadow Pipits are shorter-winged and longer clawed, being shorter distance migrants that spend more time in long grass).

Other features to note in the pics are the strong, pink-based bill, the pointed wing, pink legs, nice contrast between the buff-washed flank and white belly and perhaps the best feature (good in field for silent birds) is the contrast in the shape of the streaking on breast and flank - much finer on flank, more rounded on the breast.

Blue Tit with foot deformity

Mick P caught this Blue Tit recently at Bestwood and it seemed to have some sort of foot deformity. It doesn't look quite right for 'tassel foot' - the condition often seen in Chaffinches caused by mites. However we are not sure what it could be. Any ideas?