Monday, 29 December 2014

Kingston on Soar, Sunday 28 December

A freezing, snow-covered scene appeared before Alex, Gary and I as dawn broke at Kingston. We thought the cold weather would hopefully pull in a few more birds to the feeders. The first net round produced a few birds but not as many as expected, catching then continued with just a few birds each round. We thought we would have had a bigger catch given the perfect conditions but we did get a nice variety with another new Jay and 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. The morning ended with a total of 28 birds made up of (new/retrap): Robin 2/0, Chaffinch 6/1, Blue Tit 0/1, Great Tit 1/5, Coal Tit 1/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Redwing 1/0, Great Spotted Woodpecker 3/0, Jay 1/0.


Sunday, 28 December 2014

Recent Recoveries

A couple of recoveries of some of our ringed birds have come in;

A Reed Warbler ringed at Holme Pierrepont in August this year was soon the move and was controlled by ringers in Hampshire ten days later.

And an unfortunate Barn Owl is the first of this year's young birds to be reported to us as a road casualty, after being ringed in Clifton wood in June. It met its end near Bingham, so hadn't travelled far.

And we have controlled a few birds too;

A Barn Owl ringed as a chick by Birklands RG near Newark sewage works in May this year, was controlled nearby in Hockerwood, Southwell in August. Another Birklands Barn Owl chick, ringed in July 2013 in Caunton, was controlled close by in Kirklington this October.

Two Sorby Breck birds reported by us were a Mute Swan, colour-ringed in Markeaton, Derbys, in August 2010 which was resighted at Attenborough in May this year. Then a Reed Warbler, ringed at Williamthorpe, Derbys, in August 2012, was controlled at Holme Pierrepont in July this year.

And finally we controlled a Chiffchaff in September this year at Holme Pierrepont which had been ringed as a youngster in August 2013, near Ripon in North Yorkshire.


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Kingston on Soar, Saturday 13 December

A beautiful winter's morning broke as we set nets for the first time at the new Kingston on Soar feeding site. We put up just 2 x 6m and 2 x 9m nets and made a base a short distance away. The first net round produced a good catch and the next and again the next. We were pleasantly surprised by the numbers caught, to have been perfect it would have needed a bigger range of species. But the team of Sue, Tom, Alex, Alistair, Gary and I were happy enough with the final total of 72 all new birds (I’m sure that the next visit will include a good number of retraps!).

The total comprised: Treecreeper 1, Long-tailed Tit 11, Robin 2, Chaffinch 15, Blue Tit 20, Great Tit 16, Goldfinch 3, Dunnock 1, Blackbird 1 and Jay 2.

It was surprising number of tits in this farmland site, especially as there were no peanuts or other such favourite food of tits but as the winter goes on the site will hopefully pull in more farmland species. The two Jays were unexpected and managed to bring a little blood to the fingers of Tom and Sue! We were also joined for the session by potential new trainee, Jack.


(Alex Phillips x 3)

(Gary Goddard x 3)

A bit of group history...

SNRG has its roots in the Fairham Ornithological Society. Its founder, Humphrey Dobinson, has written the following letter to anyone with an interest in the early days of the group. (Click on the letter for a larger view.)

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Granby, Sunday 7 December

Saturday would have been the better day to have gone out this weekend, but I wanted to show the Notts Biodiversity Action Group 'scrub-bashing' party what we do. About 20 of them were out to cut re-growth from last winter and do more clearance work on the Bingham side. This is all to encourage the Grizzled Skippers to move along the line from the Bingham Linear Park, where it is close to its northern limit in the UK.

Weather wise, it was windy with a mix of sun, cloud and showers; bit like April really! This affected the catch as not many birds were moving around (particularly Yellowhammers). I suspect they lie low as beating against the wind would burn a lot of calories. Nevertheless we managed 41 birds, which was dominated by tits & Chaffinches. The majority of the retraps were from last winter, bar a Chaffinch from 2012/13, Great Tit and Yellowhammer from 2011/12 and a Blackbird from 2008/09.

Captures were (new/retraps) 41(18/23): Blackbird 0/1, Blue Tit 6/8, Chaffinch 10/2, Dunnock 0/2, Great Tit 0/8, Redwing 1/0, Robin 0/1, Yellowhammer 1/1.


Monday, 8 December 2014

Recent Recoveries

The interesting recoveries continue, as a first winter female Chaffinch ringed at Brackenhurst in March 2010 was seen knocking about the Netherlands in October this year. That's a movement of 361km, 4.5 years after ringing. The ring was read in the field, which is quite an achievement considering the size of an A-ring and demonstrates the importance of placing the ring so it can be read in the field, no matter what size it is!

And a Tawny Owl that was ringed as a chick in Plungar 9 years ago, in May 2005, was picked up sick or injured in nearby Orston in November this year. See the earlier blog post for further information

Other recoveries are as follows -

4 ill-fated Barn Owls first:
  • a bird originally ringed as a pullus in June this year in Upper Broughton was found dead 8km away in a building in Wymeswold 4 months later
  • a bird ringed in June this year as a pullus in Moorgreen, was killed on the roads around Lincoln 5 months later having travelled over 50km
  • one ringed in Shelton this June as a pullus was found just 4km away in Hawksworth in August, having been partially eaten
  • and another June bird, ringed as a pullus in Muston, Leics, was found dead 3 months later, 31km away in Beeston, another road casualty
Then a Tawny Owl that was ringed as a pullus in May this year was found dead in nearby Norwell Woodhouse, in October.

Birds we have controlled are as follows:

A Barn Owl originally ringed as a chick by North Notts RG in Edingley in June 2013 was found dead 10km away in Caunton in February this year.

A Little Owl ringed in June 2013 as a chick in Hoby, Leics, was controlled by us in Tithby, 17km away in May this year.

And a Kestrel ringed in July 2011 as a pullus by Sorby Breck in Pilsley, Derbyshire, was found without its head in an owl box in Lowdham, in June this year, having travelled, one way or another, 30km from its birthplace.


Thursday, 4 December 2014

Monday, 1 December 2014


Today I retrapped a Treecreeper which was originally ringed in January 2013 and aged as a first winter bird (age code 5). According to the Identification Guide to European Passerines by Lars Svensson there is a “difference in the size and shape of the pale tip on the outermost long (3rd) primary covert, adults having smaller and more rounded tips, young birds larger and on average more drop-shaped or wedge-shaped pale tips”. However he does recommend more testing of this method.

Today's bird supports this aging method. Below is a juvenile bird for comparison.

Mick P

 juvenile Treecreeper wing (M. Pearson)

adult Treecreeper wing, age confirmed through ringing (M. Pearson)