Sunday, 28 June 2015

Attenborough CES, Session 6, Saturday 27 June

The sixth and final CES session for 2015 was carried out on Saturday. The forecast was good for Saturday but poor for Sunday and for once it was correct, the session was held in dry, calm and sunny conditions. The warm sun may not have helped us catch birds but it certainly kept the mosquitoes at bay. The team this week was Gary, Duncan, Alex, Tom and myself.

Another decent catch but still not many warblers and other than a single Reed Warbler there were no other juvenile warblers. Wrens, however, seem to be having a great season with 8 caught on this visit.

Total catch was (new/retrap) 36/8 made up of: Blackbird 0/1, Dunnock 0/1, Wren 6/2, Robin 4/0, Blackcap 6/2, Reed Warbler 4/0, Chiffchaff 1/1, Blue Tit 2/1, Great Tit 3/0, Bullfinch 10/0. The retraps were all relatively recent, the oldest being a Blackbird and Blackcap from 2012.


Saturday, 27 June 2015


Following a tip off from a local gamekeeper I managed to find a Kestrel nest in a cavity in an old tree which contained 4 large chicks. One of the benefits of ringing chicks when they are large is that their plumage is more developed allowing many to be sexed.

Reading the “Identification Guide to European Non-Passerines” by Kevin Baker it says, of juvenile and 1st winter Kestrels -

“Some juveniles cannot be sexed with certainty early on but all should be sexable by December having acquired some adult feathers. However, at any age, those with grey heads or grey rumps, uppertail-coverts and tail are males”.

That would lead me to think that this bird is a male and the other three female. It was lighter too weighing only 190g whilst the others were 205-225g.

Mick P

Monday, 22 June 2015

100 and still counting...

I have quite a few Starlings feeding in the garden, not sure how many so thought I'd get a few rings on some of them. This is number LH26248 - the one hundredth Starling ringed so far in my campaign and only 2 retraps.


Sunday, 21 June 2015

Attenborough CES, Session 5, Sunday 20 June

After missing the fourth CES session because of the poor weather, we attempted the fifth CES session today. This was also going to be a ringing demo in support of the Attenborough bio-blitz. The forecast was not good (again) and Tim held back on advertising the ringing demo because of it. Certainly the forecast last thing on Friday suggested we would not be able to go - but on waking early Saturday it was dry and calm. We erected all the nets in perfect conditions but it did start to drizzle half way through the session, enough at one point to make us close the nets for a while. When it stopped the nets were opened again.

The team this week was Gary, Duncan, Alex, Sue, Pete S and myself. Another decent catch but still not many warblers, but we did get the second Cetti’s of the year. A woodpecker and a couple of Goldcrests were nice additions to the usual catch and 11 Wrens gave some useful extraction practice.

Total catch was 47 (37 new/10 retrap) made up of: Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Song Thrush 0/2, Dunnock 5/0, Wren 9/2, Robin 4/0, Blackcap 3/3, Garden Warbler 1/0, Reed Warbler 3/2, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 2/1, Blue Tit 2/0, Great Tit 1/0, Bullfinch 2/0, Goldcrest 2/0.

The retraps were all relatively recent, the oldest being a Song Thrush from 2012.


 Goldcrest (Alex Phillips)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Clifton Grove Little Owls

I received a phonecall from Rob Hoare last week to say that 4 Little Owl chicks were ready to be ringed at one of five boxes he has put up around the Clifton Grove area. Ian Blackmore used to ring these for us, but I will now be taking up monitoring these boxes.

On Thursday evening Gary and I joined Rob to ring the brood. The female was sat in the box so we got her out first and she was already ringed, perhaps the same female Ian ringed last year? The 4 chicks however had dwindled to 2, and a disembodied wing and leg suggested that the owls had resorted to cannibalism in order to survive. The remaining two chicks were ringed and seemed pretty healthy, so hopefully they will continue that way.

Cheers to Rob for inviting us to ring the birds, and thanks to Rachel Shock for the photos.


Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Wales, Sunday 7 June

Gary, Mick P, Duncan, Tom, Sue and I made the trip to Wales on Sunday to ring the Pied Flycatcher chicks. We had again received varying reports about the season, suggesting our planned visit may be a little late and then a report on Friday suggesting we may be going a little early!

The weather was blue sky and sunshine all the way there and continued like that for the rest of the day. The lack of Buzzards in the wood over the last few years had given some concern but we saw plenty on the spring visit and two flew out of the wood as we arrived.

We decided that Sue and Tom would probably fare better ringing wise in the main wood as last year the 'Toilet Wood' was poor. So we set off checking the boxes, I went to Toilet Wood alone expecting to find very little but was surprised to find half the boxes occupied by Pied Flycatchers or Redstarts. All the pulli (other than 1 runt) in these boxes were at a suitable stage for ringing and I ended up ringing 40 Pied flycatcher chicks and 1 adult, plus a recapture and 8 Redstart chicks and 1 adult.

I set off to meet the others and continue to check the remaining boxes, expecting the day to be a bumper ringing day. How wrong I was as the other 110 boxes produced only 18 Pied Flycatcher chicks, 8 new adults and 4 recaptures – the chicks that were in these boxes were all too small. It means there should be approx 150 chicks to ring in 24 boxes early next week – anyone care to make a weekday trip?

We did manage to catch a Wood Warbler to end the visit but despite seeing the Buzzards on arrival we could find no active nest. We ended with 58 pulli Pied Flycatchers and 14 adults, 8 Redstart chicks and 1 adult plus a Wood Warbler. The oldest retrap was from 2010, two of the ringed birds were controls.

Thanks to Sue and Tom for the photos.



I've been catching a few Starlings in the garden using spring traps. Always disappointing when you only catch one at a time.


Monday, 1 June 2015

Recent Recoveries

The latest few batches of recoveries come as a bit of a mixed bag, with several species ringed by the group being represented.

Firstly, two Barn Owls. One was ringed at Clifton Wood as a nestling in September last year and found dead nearby at Burrows Farm in April this year. The other Barn Owl travelled a little further, being found dead as a road casualty in Cambridgeshire in April, 81km from where it was ringed as a chick in Elton in June last year.

An Attenborough-born Grey Heron, colour-ringed in June 2013 was re-sighted at Carsington Water in Derbyshire recently. It's encouraging to get some resightings of these colour-ringed birds, generating some useful data from this relatively new project for the group.

A Sparrowhawk which was caught as Jim was setting the nets in preparation for the Winter Thrush sessions in Flintham Orchard in December last year, was found dead in the village in May this year, supposedly caught by an animal...

A Whitethroat, ringed as a 3J at Holme Pierrepont in Aaugust 2014, was found dead in May this year the other side of Nottingham, in Bulwell. It goes to show that these young birds do sometimes show a preference for the area in which they were raised, as this one would have made the journey to Africa and back and was found not too far from where it was ringed.

A Jackdaw ringed as a nestling in Calverton in May last year met its end against some overhead wires in Bestwood, where it was found freshly dead in May this year.

And the latest recovery comes in the form of a Little Owl, found dead in Ruddington in May this year. It was ringed nearby in Keyworth as a chick in May last year.