Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Recent Recoveries

A couple of local Barn Owl recoveries kick off the most recent round of recoveries for the group:
  • a bird ringed in the nest in July this year in Plungar, was found dead in September in nearby Sutton-cum-Granby
  • a bird ringed as a chick in Tollerton in July 2007, was found dead on the road in Gamston, also in September this year (maybe this bird stayed local for 8 years?)
In other owl news, a Tawny Owl ringed in May this year in Netherfield, was found dead over the river in nearby Shelford at the end of August. (The bird was identified as a Hen Harrier, which would have been interesting, but I don't think many breed in nest-boxes in Netherfield...)

Two birds ringed at Attenborough on 23 April this year have been recovered. One was a Grey Heron, which was found in nearby Borrowash, with an injured wing and leg. The other was a Cormorant, which travelled a little further, being found at Cley in Norfolk where its colour rings were read in the field.

And finally, a Common Tern, also ringed in the nest at Attenborough, was seen at Cropston reservoir in Leicestershire in August. The observer managed to read the metal ring, which is great, especially as the bird was ringed 14 years ago. This is the second Common Tern from Attenborough recovered this year which had been ringed over a decade ago, showing the importance of long term monitoring schemes such as ours at the reserve.


Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 20 September

Gary, Duncan, Sue, Tom and I made the final visit of the season to the Blotts/A52 end of Holme Pierrepont today. The weather was calm and occasionally sunny. We erected 10 nets and had two warbler recordings playing. Catching was fairly brisk first thing but tapered off as usual as the morning progressed.

We ended on 69 birds including 5 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap) Dunnock 2/0, Robin 5/1, Wren 1/1, Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 2/0, Blackcap 23/0, Chiffchaff 11/1, Goldcrest 3/0, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/1, Chaffinch 1/0, Goldfinch 7/1, Reed Bunting 3/0.

The oldest retrap was the Long-tailed Tit that was ringed as a juvenile in 2013. It really does look like summer is over as only Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were caught and a regular birdwatcher at the site said that he had not seen any other warblers there since the previous Thursday.


 young male Blackcap in body moult (T. Shields)

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Friday 18 September

Gary and I paid another visit to Ramsdale this morning. We erected the usual line of 8 x 18m nets along the main net ride in calm overcast and slightly misty conditions and set two warbler recordings playing. We took out 10 birds that we caught whilst the nets were going up and then the first full round produced another 41. After this the the catches fell away and when the sun broke through it really slowed but we still ended on 79 birds including 11 retraps, 55 of the birds were warblers.

However the summer is definitely drawing to a close as apart from a single garden Warbler all the other warblers were either Blackcap or Chiffchaff, the others have gone south! The species totals (new/retrap): Dunnock 5/0, Wren 4/1, Robin 1/0, Blackcap 33/7, Garden Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 14/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 2/1, Great Tit 0/1, Siskin 1/0, Linnet 3/0, Bullfinch 3/1. A Sparrowhawk managed to flip itself out of the top shelf as we walked up the net ride. Other birds about were a couple of Swallows and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.


Sunday, 13 September 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Wednesday 9 September

Gary and I paid another visit to Ramsdale this morning. We erected a line of 8 x 18m nets along the main net ride in calm overcast conditions and set two warbler recordings playing. The first full round produced 50 birds but from that point the catches fell but were still enough to give us 86 birds by the penultimate round. By this time it was very quiet so I changed one of the MP3’s to play Long-tailed Tit, this soon brought birds to the nets and although we only had 3 Long-tailed Tits in the last round they brought about a dozen warblers with them.

We took down as the breeze picked up and the sun came out for a while. We finished on 102 birds including 18 retraps, 71 of the birds were warblers. The species totals (new/retrap): Dunnock 6/1, Wren 2/0, Robin 4/1, Blackbird 2/0, Blackcap 32/8, Whitethroat 4/1, Lesser Whitethroat 2/0, Chiffchaff 14/3, Willow Warbler 5/0, Blue Tit 2/2, Great Tit 1/0, Coal Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 3/2, Goldfinch 3/0, Bullfinch 3/0.

Other birds about were Hobby, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Green Woodpecker. What a site this has turned out to be for warblers. For those of you who have not yet been, some pictures of the site are below.


Saturday, 12 September 2015

Ringing Demo, Holme Pierrepont, Saturday 12 September

The weather forecast for today was not good, rain to start and breezy throughout - and so it was. Gary, Mick P, Duncan, Alex, Tom and I set the usual nets after the rain stopped around 0800. Catching started OK but soon dropped of as the wind picked up. A few intermittent showers through the morning stopped and the skies cleared to give an hour or so of sunshine. The inclement weather seemed to be keeping the public away, just as well as by midday we were catching nothing despite moving nets into less wind affected positions. Just after 1300 we decided to take the nets down and as we did the heavens opened and by the time the nets were down we were all soaked to the skin. The torrential rain stopped by the time the nets were down! We ended on 35 birds including 7 retraps. The species totals were (new/retrap) Blackcap 10/1, Garden Warbler 2/1, Lesser Whitethroat 4/0, Reed Warbler 2/0, Chiffchaff 2/0, Blue Tit 4/0, Great Tit 3/1, Long-tailed Tit 0/4, Chaffinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. Overhead passed a few Hirundines, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and a Hobby.

Ruth Walker popped in to see us for an hour or so, it was good to see her and catch up a little since her move to Norfolk, which she is clearly enjoying.


Sunday, 6 September 2015

Holme Pierrepont, Sunday 6 September

Gary, Duncan, Sue and I made a visit to the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont today. The weather was calm but mostly sunny apart from a while mid-morning when we did get a little cloud cover. It has been a few weeks since we visited the site but all the poles were still in place and we erected 14 nets and had two warbler recordings playing. Catching was steady all morning but shortly before we took down a few Long-tailed Tits were calling near the base so I changed one of the MP3’s to play Long-tailed Tit and it resulted in a mixed catch of 20 birds in the 12m net next to the base. We ended on 89 birds including 9 retraps.

The species totals were (new/retrap) Dunnock 4/0, Robin 7/1, Wren 4/1, Blackbird 3/0, Blackcap 14/1, Whitethroat 2/0, Reed Warbler 12/0, Sedge Warbler 1/0, Chiffchaff 10/1, Willow Warbler 4/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Goldcrest 1/0, Blue Tit 7/2, Great Tit 4/0, Long-tailed Tit 4/2, Treecreeper 1/0, Bullfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retrap was the Cetti’s Warbler that was ringed as a juvenile last year. The Treecreeper was an adult just completing wing moult, note the small spots on the tips of the primary coverts. Overhead were Siskins throughout the morning and the now ever present Buzzards.


 Blue Tit (Sue Lakeman)
 Treecreeper (Sue Lakeman)

Diary Date: Barn Owl talk

The Barn Owl - FREE illustrated talk. Bottesford Village Hall, Tuesday 10th November 2015 7:45 to 8:45pm. A talk all about Barn Owls with interesting detail that you may not have heard before with photographs, sound and video. Presented by the Vale of Belvoir Barn Owl Conservation Group. The talk will include information on the local barn owl population and the local conservation scheme. To book a place phone 01949 844319 or email  There is no charge for attending. For those wishing to make a contribution voluntary donations in aid of Dove Cottage Hospice can be given on the evening.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Wednesday 2 September

Having failed to get another visit in to Ramsdale last week Mick P, Duncan, Gary and I got there this morning. The weather was calm with variable cloud and we set a line of eight 18m nets and six 12m nets and had three recordings playing. It was busy from the first round and a mid morning round had us bagging 53 birds in one go.

Catching remained good until about 1130 when it dropped and shortly after that, with dark clouds looming, we took down. We finished on 136 birds including 11 retraps, 81 of the birds were warblers. Unusually we caught a swallow in the top shelf of a standing net with little background cover.

The species totals (new/retrap): Swallow 1/0, Dunnock 3/0, Wren 4/0, Robin 0/1, Blackbird 3/0, Blackcap 37/3, Garden Warbler 2/0, Whitethroat 6/0, Lesser Whitethroat 0/1, Chiffchaff 27/4, Willow Warbler 1/0, Blue Tit 14/1, Great Tit 3/0, Coal Tit 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 9/0, Goldfinch 3/0, Chaffinch 1/0, Linnet 7/0, Siskin 1/0, Bullfinch 0/1.

Other birds about were Sparrowhawk, Nuthatch and Green Woodpecker. Another good session at the golf club.