Wednesday, 28 December 2016

News of Professor Nabegh

I suspect like many of you, the pile of bird magazines and journals tends to back up and as a result I've only just picked up the September issue of the BirdLife International magazine. Entitled 'The War Issue' it features a whole host of interviews with conservationists working in war zones. And who should stare out at me from the very first piece? Our very own Nabegh! I've quickly photographed the pages and uploaded them below. If you click on them you should just about be able to read them. It's a fantastic piece and great to hear more of Nabegh's other life.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

A week at Sutton Bonington

We have spent four mornings ringing at Sutton Bonington between last Sunday to this Sunday. The weather has been good for mist netting throughout, but far too warm to draw birds into the feeders so we ended with very few birds to show for our efforts. The week went as follows:

Sunday 11th - Sue, Duncan, Gary and I netted the usual feeding site. The sky was overcast and only a slight breeze blowing but it was far from cold. It was obvious from the start that there were not many birds around and we ended with a catch of just 12 birds including 4 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 1/0, Robin 1/1, Blackbird 2/0, Great Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/3, Goldcrest 1/0, Chaffinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.

Tuesday 13th – The first of two morning sessions working with Kate, Sophia and Lucy from York University on the antimicrobial resistance project. Gary, Kate and Lucy set nets in the arboretum area whilst Duncan, Sophia and I headed to the dairy farm. It was a very overcast morning with a slight breeze and the odd spot of drizzle. This time both sites had got full feeders to catch around but the mild weather meant the birds were not exactly queuing to get to them. At the dairy farm we ended with just 5 birds including 2 retraps. Gary and his team did rather better at the arboretum with 20 birds including 2 retraps and a new Nuthatch. Grand totals for the day made up of (new/retrap): Robin 2/1, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackbird 4/0, Great Tit 6/0, Blue Tit 3/2, Nuthatch 1/0, Goldcrest 2/1, Bullfinch 2/0. The retraps were all recently ringed birds. Kate and her team then treated us to lunch at the local pub.

Wednesday 14th – Duncan, Gary, Kate, Sophia, Lucy and I set nets in the sewage treatment plant, a site that the group used to use about 30 years ago. I was a little apprehensive about what we might catch as the outside temperature showing on my car as I set off from home at 0630 was +10degC. This apprehension was not eased as we took our first walk around the site in the half light and watched a bat flying around! We set 10 nets around the site including covering 2 sets of feeders but the catching was very slow. The wagtails were all feeding in the surrounding fields and there were no Starlings or corvids coming into the site. We did have a couple of Goldcrest around the base so we put up a hand supported net, mp3 etc. and caught those easily. The rest of the nets were just not producing much and with the sun coming out there were insects everywhere. We ended with catch of just 12 birds all new, made up of: Robin 2, Blackbird 1, Great Tit 3, Blue Tit 2, Goldcrest 2, Chaffinch 1 and a single Green Woodpecker. As I drove home in the sunshine it was 13 degrees.

Sunday 18th - Sue, Duncan, Alex, Gary and I netted the usual feeding site. Again the sky was overcast and there was no breeze at all, it was about 2 degrees when we started. Little was around again and we ended with a catch of just 16 birds including 12 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Wren 0/1, Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Great Tit 1/2, Blue Tit 1/1, Long-tailed Tit 0/4, Goldfinch 0/1, Chaffinch 1/0. The oldest retraps were from last winter.

I guess we need some cold weather to improve the catch.


 Nuthatch (G. Goddard)

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Recent recoveries

A number of Barn Owl recoveries have been coming through in the past couple of months. Howard Broughton of the Rushcliffe Barn Owl Project and SNRG has reported a few of the group's ringed birds, caught elsewhere in the county:

- A bird ringed at the nest in Gotham, in June 2014 was recaptured at a box in Ruddington this July.

- A bird ringed as a youngster in Screveton, in May 2014 was retrapped at Langar in September this year.

- A 1st year bird ringed at Greasley in May last year, was recaptured in Moorgreen in July.

- And a bird recaptured by Howard in Widmerpool this June, had been ringed two years previously, in June 2014 as a youngster, in Hickling.

Several other Barn Owl recoveries have come in:

- A bird ringed in Baston Fen, Lincolnshire in September 2014 was retrapped in Hockerton in June this year.

- A bird ringed as a chick at a box in Hoveringham, was found dead on the road in Lowdham in October this year, 4 months after it was ringed.

- A North Notts ringed bird has been retrapped in Kersall this August. It had originally been ringed as a youngster in June 2014.

- A bird ringed in 2011 in Muston is still going strong, retrapped this year in Denton.

- A bird found dead on the roads near Laxton, Newark at the end of November, had originally been ringed as an adult in Swinderby in May

- And finally, a bird ringed as a chick in Caunton in June 2014 has been found dead in the same village, earlier this month.

A few other recoveries have also come our way.

One of the Attenborough Grey Herons ringed as a chick in May last year, is still residing at the reserve, having been seen by SNRG member Pete Stanyon on site at the end of November.

A Cormorant ringed at the same site, in August this year, hasn't decided to stick around, and has been noted at Little Baddow in Essex.

More unfortunate road casualties - a Kestrel, ringed in Bassingfield, in May 2015, was found dead near Spalding in August, while a bird ringed as a chick at Brackenhurst in June 2014 was killed on the roads near Heanor. Both reasonable movements.

Two Sparrowhawks met a similar fate, with a bird ringed at the nest in Rempstone in July this year, being killed on the road at Stanford-on-soar on a few months later. Another one was killed on the roads near Sutton-in-Ashfield, having been ringed as a chick in Hucknall in June this year.

And finally, more interesting but still unfortunate for the bird in question, a Woodcock which was ringed as a 1st year bird in Watnall in November 2012, has been shot in Paj-de-calais, France. It met its end on the 27th November this year.


Monday, 5 December 2016

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 4 December

Sue, Esther, Alex, Duncan, Gary and I made another visit to the feeding site at Sutton Bonington today in calm netting conditions but with clear skies and a slight frost to start. Catching was slow but picked up a little when we put a 6m net in a new site. I had a quick look back at the November 2015 catches, we made 2 visits then and caught 33 Great and Blue Tit individuals. This year in 4 November visits we have only had 15 individuals and I guess that the poor breeding season tits have had is to blame.

We ended on 29 birds including 10 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Dunnock 1/0, Robin 0/2, Redwing 2/0, Blackbird 1/0, Great Tit 3/1, Blue Tit 2/3, Goldfinch 4/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Chaffinch 5/3, Reed Bunting 0/1. The oldest retraps were from last winter.


 A Chaffinch with a white cap! (A. Phillips)

 Processing a Greenfinch and a frosty start (S. Lakeman)

Avian Influenza in Europe

The Avian Influenza risk level has been increased to medium. The strain of the virus currently circulating is H5N8 and the risk to public health is very low. However, the increase in risk level has altered Defra’s request for information on wild birds found dead.

If you find one or more dead swans, ducks, geese or gulls or five or more dead wild birds of other species, please report this to the Defra hotline: 03459 33 55 77.

The advice is not to handle sick or dead birds unless absolutely necessary.