Wednesday 31 July 2013

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 28 July

Alex, Tom, Duncan, Gary and I got another session in at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday. There was a stiff breeze from the start, so we were not hopeful of matching last weeks catch. The breeze also prevented us from erecting a couple of nets. The first round produced a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a decent mix of other birds but it quickly dropped off and we ended on 33 birds including 7 retraps


Monday 22 July 2013

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 21 July

Alex, Tom, David, Samantha, Gary and I managed to get another session in at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday. There was an event on at the Water Sports Centre but no one was on the gate when we got there so we parked in the usual car park. The weather conditions were not as good as last week, there was a slight breeze and occasional drizzle, which became more persistent just before we finished.

However, the birds were not put off by the breeze or drizzle and we had a 'new' best catch of the year ending on 110 birds including 17 retraps. The numbers caught kept us busy all morning, we would no doubt have been even busier but the resident campers again made us restrict the net rides we used. It was mostly the usual species caught but we did miss out on Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat and the Willow Warblers were in much reduced numbers since the previous week. Lots of juveniles again generally but a catch of 14 Long-tailed Tits contained only 6 juvs! The best of the retraps were a Reed Warbler and a Blue Tit from 2009. To end the session David was rewarded with his first Cetti's Warbler.


Sunday 21 July 2013

Big Box Update

Now up to 9 Barn Owl pulli ringed this year, with 6 of those from Flintham including this healthy brood of four. Around here and by Bottesford they are having some breeding success, whereas north of the Trent is looking very poor for them. By this stage last year, I'd ringed 58 Barn Owl pulli!

Two well grown female Barn Owl pulli near Bottesford.

Kestrels seem to be having a very late, but average breeding season with last year's total of 40 pulli ringed just passed. This brood seemed to be asynchronous which is not the norm.

Harder to say how the Little Owls are doing. They've been reported to be doing okay in Lincs (mainly in boxes), but I've a brood of two and three broods of one to ring, plus a failure at egg stage which suggests they're not having a great season in south Notts. This is one of the singleton broods at Brackenhurst.


Tuesday 16 July 2013

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 14 July

Alex, Duncan, Gary and I managed to get a session in at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont on Sunday in what could only be described as absolutely perfect netting conditions. The birds seemed to respond to the conditions and we had our best catch of the year ending on 88 birds including 13 retraps, just before the cloud burned off and the sun came out. It was the usual species caught including all the usual warblers and lots of juveniles this time. The best of the retraps was a Robin from 2009.


Recent Recoveries

A Magpie chick ringed at Toton in May 2012 was found dead in Long Eaton in May 2013.
A Barn Owl chick ringed at Normanton in August 2012 was found dead in a water trough near Wysall in May 2013.
A young Waxwing ringed at Clifton in January 2013 was found dead with a companion at Stockport in April 2013, looks to have been a road casualty.
A young House Sparrow ringed at Hucknall in July 2012 was found dead at the same site in June 2013.
A young Coal Tit ringed at Hucknall in February 2013 suffered the same fate and was discovered in May 2013.
On a more positive note, however, a Barn Owl chick ringed at Muston in August 2012 was discovered with a broken wing at Sutton Bonington in April 2013 and was rehabilitated and released later in July 2013.


Monday 15 July 2013

Brack Kestrel note published

For those of you who don't subscribe to British Birds, the following note appeared recently.

Monday 8 July 2013

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 7 July

Duncan, Tom, Gary and I made the first summer visit to Holme Pierrepont, planning to ring at the Grange end, on what was predicted to be the hottest day of the year. However, there was a triathlon event on at the water sports centre and as expected we were not allowed entry to the car park, so we went round to the A52 side to run a session there. We expected to finish a little early because of the temperature and the catch dropping off but despite very calm conditions the catch never picked up enough to drop off! We ended with just 28 birds including 1 retrap, a Chaffinch from 2010. The usual other species were caught, just not many of them. Sightings included 3 Green Woodpeckers and 2 Jay but a surprising lack of hirundines or Swifts.


Sunday 7 July 2013

House Sparrows

Having been ringing in my garden for over a year now, one of the things I find interesting is the comings and goings of certain species.

in July 2012 I was mainly catching Starlings and Goldfinches, yet this year I have had the pleasure of catching House Sparrows as the dominant species at my feeders.

I am very much looking forward to (hopefully) recapturing some ringed birds in the future and also trying to sex some of the young birds as they go through their post juvenile moult.

As with many species this spring I have noticed some very weak feathers and fault barring in the tail feathers which one might attribute to occasional periods of cold and windy weather whilst the birds were in the nest.


Tuesday 2 July 2013

Attenborough CES Visit 6, Sunday 30 June

Gary, Duncan, Tom, Alex and I made the sixth and final CES visit of the season on Sunday. The weather was good and completely different to what we had to endure on visit five. Unfortunately the better weather did not encourage birds to fly into the nets and we finished with just 28 birds including 6 retraps. No particular retraps of note, but 8 Bullfinch in the catch will probably ensure that this species is the only one on the CES with increased numbers over previous years. Again the 'missing' birds were juvs, this week only 40% were juveniles. I hope that Holme Pierrepont will prove better in future weeks but based on reports from around the country of poor catches I'm not that optimistic!



Last night Ian and I visited three Kestrel boxes in which females had been incubating a few weeks ago. Happily, we found ringable chicks in all three and all of a similar size. This was particularly gratifying in light of the poor season being experienced by Tawny and Barn Owls and I had half expected the Kestrels to suffer a similar fate.However, some clues to their survival were scattered around each box in the form of small feathers (see pic below). Prey items identified included Blackbird, Chaffinch and Goldfinch whilst many others remained unidentified. A few small scraps of fur were present, but clearly Kestrels are relying heavily on birds this year rather than small mammals, which we know are in short supply after the hard winter. Some of the chicks felt a little thin, so I hope this diet continues to sustain them...