Monday, 27 May 2019

Attenborough CES visit 3, Saturday 25 May

We carried out CES visit 3 at Attenborough today in decent weather, a light breeze and sunny conditions. The team consisted of Gary, Mick T, Sarah, Sophie and myself. We were also joined by Holly on a first taster session and Richard who is an A permit holder who has recently moved to Derby and is looking to join a ringing group.

We had a catch of 37 birds including 14 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 3/2, Song Thrush 1/1, Robin 5/1, Wren 5/1, Dunnock 2/1, Chiffchaff 0/3, Blackcap 4/1, Reed Warbler 2/0, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 0/1, Long-tailed Tit 0/2, Bullfinch 1/0.

The oldest retrap was a Blackbird from 2016. All the new Robins and Dunnocks were juveniles as this year's youngsters are now well into fledging. A Cuckoo was also heard calling again.


Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, Sunday 19 May

With a gap in the CES schedule this weekend and a triathlon closing roads around Holme Pierrepont, we held the first ringing session of the year at Ramsdale this morning. The weather was good with no wind and variable cloud cover. The team consisted of Alice, Gary, Duncan and myself. A little bit of ride clearance was required to put up the seven 18m nets in the positions higher up the hill that we started using towards the end of last season.

The catch rate was steady throughout the morning and we ended with a total of 42 including 8 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 1/2, Dunnock 3/0, Wren 1/0, Robin 1/1, Blackcap 6/2, Garden Warbler 2/0, Whitethroat 1/0, Lesser Whitethroat 1/0, Chiffchaff 2/2, Willow Warbler 3/0, Blue Tit 4/0, Great Tit 4/1, Linnet 4/0, Chaffinch 1/0.

The oldest retrap was a Blackbird and Blackcap both from 2015. Numbers of resident species were higher than on the first visit made last year no doubt because of the milder winter. Nice to get a few Linnets at the only site we regularly catch them. We also had a control Chiffchaff.


Male & female Linnets (K. Hemsley)

Tuesday, 14 May 2019


Last winter, Kev and I followed up on a lead from Alex and investigated the possibility of ringing at Erewash Meadows Nature Reserve.

Erewash Meadows forms part of the largest area of floodplain grasslands and wetlands in the Erewash Valley. It straddles the Derbyshire-Nottinghamshire county boundary and is jointly owned by the two county Wildlife Trusts. The reserve is in three parts. The southern part is known as Aldercar Flash and Meadows and the central part is Brinsley Meadows. Leading off from the north west corner of Brinsley Meadows is a 3/4 mile section of the old Cromford Canal. During our site visit with Derbyshire Wildlife Trust's Erewash Valley Regional Manager, she mentioned that Brinsley Meadows held good numbers of breeding Lapwing.

On 3 May I carried out a recce of Brinsley Meadows and counted 10 Lapwing chicks and 5 adults sitting on nests, so today Kev, Gary, Duncan, Sarah and I made a visit. We had a productive morning ringing 12 Lapwing chicks and finding a nest with 4 eggs.

Hopefully it's something we can repeat next year.

Mick P

Monday, 13 May 2019

Recent ringing

Updates to activities in the southwest of our area have been lacking since we finished winter operations at Sutton Bonington, so here is a catch-up.

We had a few sessions and a ride clearance visit to the Grange end of Holme Pierrepont in March and April. Of the birds caught the most interesting were a Reed Bunting and Long-tailed Tit from 2013; surprisingly the latter had not been caught at all since the original capture. We also had the first returning warbler recaptures that were ringed in previous years: Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler and Sedge Warbler. A Cuckoo calling in the distance on the last visit was the first we had heard this year.

We also had a pre-CES visit to Attenborough on 14 April to clear the rides ready for the start of the CES proper and we set the nets after clearing. The team consisted of Alice, Alex, Duncan, Gary, Helen, Mick T, Sarah, Sophie and myself. This resulted in a catch of 43 birds including 6 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/2, Song Thrush 1/0, Wren 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Chiffchaff 4/0, Willow Warbler 1/0, Blackcap 5/1, Cetti’s Warbler 1/0, Blue Tit 10/1, Great Tit 5/2, Long-tailed Tit 4/0, Bullfinch 1/0, Reed Bunting 1/0. The oldest retraps were a Blackbird and Blackcap from 2017.

This took us up to May and the start of the CES season at Attenborough. The first visit was made on Monday 6th May in fairly calm and mainly overcast conditions. The team consisted of Duncan, Gary, Iona, Mick T, Sue, Sophie and myself, it was good to see Sue well enough to come out again. We had a catch of 42 birds including 9 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 2/0, Song Thrush 0/1, Robin 1/0, Wren 5/0, Dunnock 1/1, Chiffchaff 7/1, Blackcap 3/1, Coal Tit 1/0, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 3/1, Long-tailed Tit 6/1, Treecreeper 0/1, Bullfinch 1/2. The oldest retraps were a Bullfinch and Treecreeper from 2016. The Coal Tit is only the second caught at the site, the first being in 2011. A Grasshopper Warbler sang all morning very close to the nets but managed to evade them! This is a very unusual species on this part of the reserve.

The second CES visit was made on Sunday 12 May in very calm and very sunny conditions. The team consisted of Alex, Duncan, Gary, Mick T, Sue, Sarah and myself. We had a catch of 38 birds including 11 retraps made up of (new/retrap): Blackbird 0/1, Robin 4/2, Wren 1/0, Dunnock 1/0, Chiffchaff 1/1, Garden Warbler 1/0, Blackcap 9/1, Reed Warbler 1/1, Cetti’s Warbler 0/1, Blue Tit 3/2, Great Tit 3/2, Long-tailed Tit 1/0, Nuthatch 1/0, Bullfinch 1/0. The oldest retrap was a Robin from 2014 that had not been caught since it was originally ringed. The Nuthatch was a nice surprise and is only the second caught at the site. A Tawny Owl called part way through the morning (they did not use the nestboxes this year) and a Cuckoo was also heard.


 Coal Tit (Sue Lakeman)

 Nuthatch (Kev Hemsley)

Friday, 3 May 2019

One for Joy

A combination of poor weather, new job and two year old twins has meant that I have not been out ringing with group as often as I would have liked this year. So my garden has been the focus of my ringing and a warm spring has helped. In the last few days a pair of Magpies have been visiting my garden and hoovering up the dried mealworms I put out for the Starlings.

Magpies are not everyone's cup of tea, but I have a soft spot for corvids. I love how intelligent they are, and despite the Potter traps being baited they had avoided them – until yesterday. Despite being a relatively common bird, it is one that we rarely catch due to their cautious nature. This 6 (adult) male was only the second I have ever ringed and the first for the group since 2017, and as a bonus I neither got bitten nor clawed!