Monday 28 July 2014

Vale Hobbies, Monday 28 July

Friend of SNRG, Ian Kirton, has been working on farms in the Vale of Belvoir during harvest and the other day he found an active Hobby nest in a large hedgerow oak. Today Jim, Mick P & I met up with him to investigate further. As we arrived, we flushed the female from the nest which was a large, fresh Carrion Crow structure. After a fairly swift and expert climb, Mick lowered down three small chicks as mum patrolled overhead. These were ringed and weighed before being returned safely to their nest.


Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 26 July

The forecast said still and overcast for Saturday, bright and breezy for Sunday, so we decided to make the first visit of the year to the A52 end of Holme Pierrepont on Saturday. We may have to start referring to the site differently as we no longer have to park on the A52 and make the long walk up the old concrete road since Tom got us a key to the ‘new’ Skylarks reserve car park, well done Tom.

A good team of Duncan, Tom, Alex, Sue, Linda, Gary and I arrived on site to find the still conditions that had been forecast but not the overcast conditions, there was hardly a cloud in the sky all morning. We set about clearing the rides and had a decent first catch but the rising sun and what appeared to be low numbers of birds at the site soon saw the catch diminish.

We finished slightly early because the conditions, finishing on 41 (including 4 retraps) made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/1, Robin 7/0, Wren 1/2, Reed Warbler 6/1, Blackcap 8/0, Garden Warbler 1/0, Whitethroat 3/0, Lesser Whitethroat 4/0, Chiffchaff 1/0, Willow Warbler 3/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. Of the retraps we did get the oldest were the Wrens, both from from 2012.


Monday 21 July 2014

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 20 July

After hearing the forecast for the weekend a few days before I decided that Sunday would be the best day for another session at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont. It certainly turned out to be the best day after the torrential rain we had on Saturday. Sunday started still and overcast but the sun soon came out as Gary, Alex, Linda, Clare and I set all the usual nets. Linda was paying us another visit from South Lincs and Clare came along to see what ringing was all about.

We caught steadily throughout the morning in very humid conditions, although the catch was down on last week's total. We finished with a total catch of 72 birds including 10 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Dunnock 2/0, Robin 3/1, Wren 6/3, Reed Warbler 18/2, Sedge Warbler 3/0, Blackcap 11/0, Garden Warbler 3/0, Whitethroat 0/1, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Chiffchaff 1/0, Willow Warbler 2/0, Blue Tit 2/0, Great Tit 2/2, Long-tailed Tit 2/0, Goldfinch 3/0, Reed Bunting 4/0.

Of the retraps we did get, the oldest was a Wren from 2011. The only warbler retraps we had were 3 adults, all the juvs we have ringed in the last few weeks seem to be passing straight through.


Saturday 19 July 2014

Attenborough terns, Thursday 17 July

I was joined by Duncan and Pete S for the second visit to two of the tern platforms at ANR. It had been four weeks since our first visit so I think we may have missed a few chicks that were hatching last time. A few chicks took flight as we approached so we missed them. We ringed 19 more chicks, 12 on Conneries and 7 on the Main Pond platform bringing the total this year to 67 chicks ringed and only one dead chick was found. Chicks were still hatching while we were there, but not enough to warrant a third visit.


Monday 14 July 2014

Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 12 July

The third summer ringing session of 2014 at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont was carried out today by Gary, Duncan, Tom, Sue and I along with Linda Lowndes visiting us from the South Lincs R.G. The nets were quickly erected on a warm, muggy but still morning, with the forecast predicting it to get hot. We caught steadily throughout the morning until it really started to get hot about mid-morning. The Blackcap numbers were well down on last week but we did get the first Sedge Warblers and Lesser Whitethroats of the summer. A Woodpigeon and Green Woodpecker added a little extra to the mix, as did the capture of 3 more Cetti’s Warblers.

We finished with a total catch of 108 birds including 16 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Woodpigeon 1/0, Green Woodpecker 1/0, Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Robin 4/1, Wren 2/2, Reed Warbler 16/3, Sedge Warbler 5/0, Blackcap 8/1, Garden Warbler 4/1, Whitethroat 2/1, Lesser Whitethroat 3/0, Cetti’s Warbler 3/0, Chiffchaff 5/0, Willow Warbler 4/0, Blue Tit 11/1, Great Tit 10/1, Long-tailed Tit 1/1, Treecreeper 1/1, Bullfinch 3/0, Reed Bunting 4/3. Of the retraps we did get, the oldest was a Garden Warbler from 2011. As I headed for home the car temperature gauge told me it was 27 degrees outside, definitely the right time to end a great morning's ringing.


 Cetti's Warbler, Green Woodpecker (T. Shields) and Treecreeper (S. Lakeman)

Monday 7 July 2014

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 6 July

The second summer ringing session of 2014 at the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont was carried out today by Gary, Duncan, Tom, Nabegh and I. I thought the water level was such that we could get extra nets up into the reeds this week, so we tried, however the two wellies full of water that Gary received suggested I was incorrect! A great start with overcast and still conditions resulted in a first round catch of almost 50 birds. The catching continued in good numbers until the sun came out about mid-morning.

We finished with a total catch of 94 birds including 11 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Robin 7/0, Wren 3/1, Reed Warbler 15/6, Blackcap 26/0, Garden Warbler 1/0, Whitethroat 3/1, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 3/1, Willow Warbler 5/0, Blue Tit 3/1, Great Tit 5/0, Treecreeper 2/0, Reed Bunting 6/1.

It was nice to get a juvenile Cetti’s and with today's catch we have now had 36 Blackcaps in two visits without a single retrap! Of the retraps we did get, the oldest was another Reed Warbler from 2011. There seem to be very few returning Reed warblers so far.

A Cuckoo was calling and a recording appeared to attract it into the net judging by the large half-digested caterpillar in there but by the time we checked the net the bird had flown.


Thursday 3 July 2014

Reed Warblers and Cuckoos at Holme Pierrepont

Last year, I joined Ian wading through the reedbeds at our ringing site at the Grange, looking for Reed Warbler nests. We found a few but it wasn't as successful as we'd hoped. This year I was keen to get back in the reedbeds again and have another look, but various things kept getting in the way and it got to 7 June before I finally borrowed some waders and got stuck in. What really prompted me to put some effort in was the fact that cuckoos seem to be a big presence around Holme Pierrepont this summer, with up to 3 individuals being seen and at least as many calling from various territories round the area. I hoped that with so many about, that maybe I'd be lucky enough to find a reed warbler nest with a big fat cuckoo chick in it.

On the 7th I donned the waders and wandered through the reedbeds, but was disappointed to not find any nests within the first hour or so of searching. After waiting through a heavy rain shower, I finally jumped back in and just before giving up, finally stumbled across a nest. I couldn't beleive it when I poked my nose in to see a reddish-brown egg which was slightly larger than the 3 greyish brown speckled eggs sitting next to it. Some shaky-handed photography followed and I cycled home with a smile on my face.

I made another visit on the 15th, expecting to see some change in the nest, but still nothing had happened and there was some minor damage to one of the supports holding the nest in place, so I did worry that the nest had been abandoned, as the eggs didn't feel massively warm. However on 21 June I had another go with the Reed Warblers and located a couple more nests. I also visited the cuckoo one last time, just in case I had been wrong. Luckily I had, as when I looked this time, there was a naked, blind cuckoo there... and no Reed Warblers.

On Sunday, I met up with Ian so we could have a go at ringing the bird. We needed to time the visit right as we didn't want it too small, but we also didn't want it so big that it could damaged the nest by taking the bird out. It seemed we timed it just right as I managed to ring the bird at FS stage. Hopefully the bird will carry on as successfully as it has been and it's fantastic that everything seems to have gone perfectly.

We've found a few more Reed Warbler nests too, so it's good to have some nest records for the year and hopefully we should be ringing the chicks soon.

Thanks to Ian for coming down and supervising the ringing of this amazing bird!


 Photos by T. Shields and I. Blackmore