Sunday 26 November 2017

Sutton Bonington, Saturday 25 November

After a delayed start this morning due to the heavy sleet shower (which the various weather forecasts had failed to predict) we eventually started to set nets at about 0715. It was a bit breezy and a few occasional bits of drizzle did not help but we were still left wondering, where have all the birds gone?

Maria, Kirsten, Duncan, Gary and I set just the feeder nets and caught far more leaves than birds, though not sure why after a good catch last week. There seemed far less movement of birds generally, even the seemingly ever-present Buzzard did not put in an appearance until we were leaving!

We ended with a catch of just 17 including 5 retraps. The catch was made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 0/1, Fieldfare 1/0, Redwing 4/0, Dunnock 1/0, Blue Tit 2/1, Great Tit 2/0, Chaffinch 2/3. The oldest retrap was a Chaffinch from 2016.


 Fieldfare (K. Hemsley)

Monday 20 November 2017

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 19 November

A glorious, still and frosty morning dawned as we met at Sutton Bonington. Bit of a strange start as Kirsten had trouble locating us and once the gate was open Alex could not get his car to start, so we had to push it on to the campus! Maria, Alex, Sue, Kirsten, Gary and I, along with two guests set 2 extra nets near the pheasant feeder along with the 3 small nets at our feeders.

Things started a little slowly but picked up after the first round and we were pleased to get the first two Yellowhammers of the season plus a Brambling and a couple of Lesser Redpoll.

A few leaves started to fall into the nets as a slight breeze got up towards midday but nothing to interfere with catching. We ended with a catch of 50 including 20 retraps. The catch was made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 0/1, Blackbird 1/0, Robin 0/2, Dunnock 3/1, Blue Tit 5/8, Great Tit 1/3, Long-tailed Tit 1/2, Goldcrest 0/1, Chaffinch 12/2, Lesser Redpoll 2/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Brambling 2/0, House Sparrow 1/0, Yellowhammer 2/0.

The oldest retraps were from 2015. There were good numbers of Chaffinch and a few Yellowhammer around again but no winter thrushes were seen or heard.


 (photos by S. Lakeman)

Lesser Redpoll & Brambling (K. Hemsley)

Brackenhurst, Sunday 19 November

We made our second visit of the season to Brackenhurst today and set up the usual nets at the feeders and Orwin's. We were Duncan, Tom, myself and new ringer, Brendan Noone. The weather was mostly still, but there was a frost in Orwin's which hung on for most of the morning. Over the session we handled 44 birds of 11 species. Catching was steady until 11:00 am.

The most interesting retraps were:-

Robin – two from 2015. Both prefer their own territories, staying put in Orwin's & the feeding site respectively.

Great Tit – the oldest bird was originally ringed in 2012. It's been caught 15 times and seven of those were in November. There do seem to be patterns with resident Brackenhurst birds, with some using the feeders early and others late winter. I suspect over the winter food is most important initially and then towards spring being on a territory starts to supersede this.

Chaffinch – another old male, this time from 2012 and not caught between times.

Totals: 44 birds processed (21 new/23 retrap), comprising:  Greater Spotted Woodpecker 1/1, Dunnock 2/4, Robin 0/3, Blackbird 2/1, Redwing 5/0, Goldcrest 1/1, Blue Tit 1/5, Great Tit 1/6, House Sparrow 1 (pit-tagged), Chaffinch 5/2, Yellowhammer 2/0.


 Great-spotted Woodpecker (T. Shields)

Monday 13 November 2017

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 12 November

The various weather forecasts tried hard to ruin our visit this week. On Thursday it was going to be calm and dry on Saturday, very windy on Sunday, so I decided to go for Saturday. On Friday morning it was going to rain on Saturday, still windy on Sunday. By Friday early evening it was still going to be raining on Saturday so I cancelled and moved the session to the Sunday despite the windy forecast. When Saturday dawned it was dry, still and overcast, perfect for mist netting, the rain had not materialised. So on Sunday, Maria, Issie, Duncan, Gary and I met at an already breezy site and put up the 3 small nets in the new rides. Then the wind seemed to drop despite the forecast saying it would steadily increase! The wind did start to pick up by the middle of the morning and the nets then filled with leaves.

We did manage a decent catch of 40 including 15 retraps. The catch was made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/1, Blackbird 2/0, Robin 1/0, Dunnock 2/0, Blue Tit 6/6, Great Tit 1/2, Long-tailed Tit 4/4, Goldcrest 2/0, Chaffinch 6/2. The oldest retraps were from 2015. There were a few Yellowhammer around again but they are not interested in the seed yet.


 Great Spotted Woodpecker (K. Hemsley)

Tuesday 7 November 2017

Brackenhurst - Sunday 5 November

Remember, remember... to have the first ringing session of the season at the Brackenhurst feeders today. We weren't really expecting fireworks, but first visits are always a little bit more exciting as you're not sure what’s about or how productive the birds have been over the summer.

Anyway, Mick, myself and, new to the group, Hanna Janiszewska, put up the usual nets at the feeders and Orwin's and over the morning we handled 57 birds of 11 species, which is pretty good for this time of year.

Surprisingly, Chaffinches accounted for 1 in 3 of the birds processed. One was a retrap from 2009, and ringed in the same month eight years ago! However, joy was mixed with sadness as the bird’s legs were badly diseased with a FPV-type infection.

All the tit retraps were adults (11) and all the new birds were juveniles (7), highlighting their site fidelity. The sound lure (til the battery died) brought in four Redwings to Orwin’s. They really like the Lithuanian song this side of Christmas.

Half the overall catch was in the first net round. All ‘n all a decent start to a winter's ringing at Brack.

Species totals were as follows: total captures: 57 (42 new/15 retrap); Dunnock 5/0, Robin 2/0, Blackbird 2/0, Redwing 4/0, Goldcrest 2/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/1, Blue Tit 4/4, Great Tit 3/7, Treecreeper 1/0, House Sparrow 4/0, Chaffinch 15/3.

The oldest retrap was the chaffinch mentioned above (and another from 2014), but there were also Great Tits from 2013 & 2014 and Long-tailed Tit ringed 2014.


Sunday 5 November 2017

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 5 November

Trish, Jake, Gary and I made the first visit of the winter to the feeding site today. We put up 3 small nets in the new rides we cut when we baited the newly-sited feeders a couple of weeks ago. We made the first round and one of the first birds out was a Chaffinch with scaly legs. Chaffinch at this site seem to be suffering greatly from this condition, thankfully the rest we caught during the morning were clear. Then the rain started for half an hour or so before the sun came out and a Jay found its way into a net. We ended with a small catch of 25 including 2 retraps which we considered OK for a first attempt in the new location. The catch was made up of (new/retrap): Jay 1/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Blue Tit 7/1, Great Tit 4/1, Long-tailed Tit 4/0, Chaffinch 4/0, Goldfinch 1/0. The oldest retrap was a Blue Tit from 2015. A few Fieldfare passed overhead and there were a few Yellowhammer around.


Jay (K. Hemsley)

Thursday 2 November 2017

2016 Report

The 2016 ringing report is now out! If you would like a copy, please email the address at the top of the 'Reports' page - see tab at the top.