Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 25 November

Tom, Mick T and I made the fourth visit of the winter to the feeding site today. The weather was near perfect but unfortunately the birds were there in only low numbers. The feeder nets were pretty quiet but at least not catching much in the way of leaves this week as the breeze was minimal and the trees nearly bare.

We put up a couple of 2-shelf nets in the field again with an mp3 lure playing, despite not many Meadow Pipits being around, and did manage to catch another three. We then switched to Linnet as a small flock had been around but the speaker charge was running low and we only caught a single bird before it was completely flat.

We ended with a catch of 33 including 15 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 0/1, Wren 1/0, Dunnock 2/0, Meadow Pipit 3/0, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 1/11, Great Tit 1/3, Chaffinch 4/0, Linnet 1/0, House Sparrow 3/0, Reed Bunting 1/0.

The oldest retrap was a Blue Tit from 2017. Looking at the catch of Blue Tits today it seems we have the majority of the population ringed now.


Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 18 November

Duncan, Alex, Mick T and I made the third visit of the winter to the feeding site today. The weather was better than last week in that it did not rain but the breeze was stronger than forecast so a plan to try for Meadow Pipit and Skylark on the field at the side of the feeders was put on hold to start with.

The feeder nets caught steadily all morning not just birds but each leaf falling seemed to be finding the nets again. Mid-morning the breeze seemed to drop a little so we put up a couple of 2-shelf nets with an mp3 lure playing, only to find the breeze pick up again – but we did get 3 Meadow Pipits.

As the breeze continued to pick up we took down after going through another heavy leaf extraction session. Another good catch of 1st winter Blue Tits was made, the data collected contributing to the national partial moult study – so far in just three visits we have caught more 1st winter Blue Tits than in any other complete winter at this site, it must have been a good breeding season.

Unfortunately our suspicions after the summer ringing sessions at Holme Pierrepont that Dunnocks, Robins and Wrens did not fare so well seem to be correct. So far at the feeders we have only caught a couple of Robins, one Dunnock and no Wrens, all of the birds caught being retrap adults from last winter!

We ended with a catch of 53 including 15 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 3/0, Redwing 1/0, Blackbird 2/0, Robin 0/2, Meadow Pipit 3/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Long-tailed Tit 2/0, Blue Tit 7/11, Great Tit 5/1, Chaffinch 7/1, Goldfinch 1/0, House Sparrow 6/0. The oldest retrap was from 2015. Nice to get 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, that's 4 new birds in 3 visits and a Green the other week as well.


 Meadow Pipit (K. Hemsley)

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 11 November

Duncan, Lewis, Mick T, Gary and I made the second visit of the winter to the feeding site today. I chose Sunday as the weather forecast suggested it would be the best day of the weekend. No surprise again that they got that wrong, what a miserable morning it turned out to be. The rain started just as we got the last net up and continued on and off for the first half of the morning, once it did stop the wind got up blowing what seemed to be every leaf for miles into the nets making them look like brick walls. We tried unsuccessfully with an mp3 lure for thrushes and finches but there did seem to be plenty of birds around. In the unfavourable conditions we ended with a catch of 29 including 9 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Woodpigeon 1/0, Blue Tit 8/8, Great Tit 2/1, Chaffinch 4/0, House Sparrow 5/0. The oldest retrap was from 2017.


Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Brackenhurst, Saturday 10 & Sunday 11 November

The first ringing visit of the winter season was made to NTU Brackenhurst last weekend. The team comprised Cliff Butterworth, Ewan Weston, Issie, Tom, Lewis and me.

On Saturday afternoon we cut the net rides in Orwin's and put up nets hoping for a thrush roost. Then we cleared the feeder nets, mainly with the next day in mind.We also tried an owl net in the new plantation in the sheep field after dark. Weather was mixed, and wind and autumn leaves intervened somewhat.

The results were:
  • thrush nets in Orwin's – four birds of three species caught (but we suspected our use of owl sound lures nearby had an affect!)
  • owl net – one Tawny Owl flew close to the net in the gloom 
  • feeders – 30+ birds caught, with oldest being a Great Tit from 2012 (it has been caught 15 times and seven times in November) 
  • leaves – it took Cliff and I at least an hour and a half to remove the blooming things (see picture) 
  • several Chaffinches were released unringed as they had papillomavirus
Birds of note away from the nets were Raven, Little Egret and Tawny Owl.

Ringing total: 40 birds (33 new/7 retrap), comprising: Blackbird 2/1, Fieldfare 1/0, Redwing 1/0, Goldcrest 4/0, Blue Tit 3/1, Great Tit 5/1, Robin 1/1, Wren 2/0, Dunnock 2/1, Chaffinch 10/1, Yellowhammer 2/1.

Jim Lennon

Thursday, 8 November 2018

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 4 November

Alex, Mick T, Gary and I made the first visit of the winter to the feeding site today. A few of us had put the feeders up and baited the site a couple of weeks ago. Overcast skies but a stiff southerly breeze blowing today limited us to using only 3 small nets inside the copse. After we had set up the base we looked towards the copse and saw a Red Kite circling above it and then slowly drifting away.

We made the first round and found it very quiet, catching only one Wood Pigeon. Thankfully it picked up as the morning went on. We aren’t usually pleased to find a net full of Blue Tits but having decided to register this site for the Blue Tit national partial moult study they were a welcome find on the next round.

As the birds tailed off a little towards lunch time and a Lesser Redpoll escaped from the top shelf. On the penultimate round we left a Redpoll call mp3 playing and the last round produced 4 of them. We ended with a catch of 36 including 2 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Green Woodpecker 1/0, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Wood Pigeon 1/0, Blackbird 1/0, Redwing 1/0, Dunnock 0/1, Blue Tit 18/1, Great Tit 1/0, Coal Tit 2/0, Chaffinch 3/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Lesser Redpoll 4/0. The retraps were both from 2017. A few Fieldfare passed overhead and there were a few Yellowhammer around.


Green Woodpecker (K. Hemsley)