Saturday, 30 November 2019

Barn Owl - This is Your Life

Whilst unsuccessfully searching for Long-eared Owls last Sunday evening, Don Pritchett and I caught a local Barn Owl for which we now have an interesting life history:
  • 2014 – ringed as chick at Gamston, Nottingham
  • 2016 – bred and reared 3 young ringed in Orston
  • 2017 – bred and reared 2 young ringed in Orston
  • 2018 – bred with 6 small chicks/eggs (next check was delayed so not sure if she failed, but may explain move in 2019)
  • 2019 – caught twice breeding at Elton Park by another ringer
  • November 2019 - netted in Orston
As is often the case, we tend to know a bit more about the females as we catch more regularly in nestboxes.

Whilst out we also noted hundreds of thrushes roosting in the hedges, and several Woodcock and Snipe were nearby.


Monday, 25 November 2019

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 24 November

Fourth visit of the winter to the feeding site today. The team consisted of Holly, Sue, Duncan, Mick T and me. The weather was calm and very overcast. We again tried the Redwing tape first thing and it attracted a great number of birds into the copse but unfortunately most would not drop down low enough to catch. There were hundreds of thrushes passing overhead in parties during the first hour or two after dawn. The site was quiet again and catching was slow but fairly steady throughout the morning and we did get the first Great Spotted Woodpecker of the winter.

We ended with a catch of 33 including 14 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Great Spotted Woodpecker 1/0, Redwing 8/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/2, Blue Tit 5/5, Great Tit 1/6, Coal Tit 1/0, Chaffinch 1/1, Greenfinch 1/0, House Sparrow 1/0, Reed Bunting 0/1. The oldest retrap was a Blue Tit from 2015.


 Blue Tit & Great Spotted Woodpecker (S. Lakeman)

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Sutton Bonington, Sunday 17 November

We made the third visit of the winter to the feeding site today. The team comprised Holly, Sarah, Duncan, Mick T and me. The weather was calm and very overcast with intermittent drizzle. We tried the Redwing tape first thing which produced a couple of birds but generally the site was quieter than it had been for the last two visits. Catching was slow but fairly steady throughout the morning and we did get the first Coal Tit, Reed Bunting and Woodpigeon of the winter.

We ended with a catch of 37 including 20 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Woodpigeon 1/0, Redwing 2/0, Robin 0/1, Dunnock 0/1, Blue Tit 3/7, Great Tit 2/10, Coal Tit 1/0, Chaffinch 3/0, House Sparrow 5/0, Reed Bunting 0/1.

A Brambling was hanging around the top of the trees near the copse but we could not persuade it to come down to the feeders even with the use of a sound lure. The oldest retrap was a Reed Bunting from 2016.


 Coal Tit (K. Hemsley)

Monday, 11 November 2019

November so far...

Sutton Bonington
We made the first visit of the winter to the feeding site on 3 Nov. A few of us had put the feeders up and baited the site a couple of weeks previously. We were not expecting much as the forecast the previous day was not good but for once the forecast was incorrect and the weather was settled and calm. Quite a while after dawn we looked towards the copse and saw a Barn Owl heading across the field and into the trees but of course it avoided the nets there! Catching was steady throughout the morning including plenty of Blue Tits and Great Tits including a leucistic individual. 
We ended with a catch of 54 including 2 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Robin 1/0, Blue Tit 25/2, Great Tit 11/0, Long-tailed Tit 9/0, Chaffinch 4/0, Goldfinch 1/0, Greenfinch 1/0. The oldest retrap was from 2017.
The second visit was made on 10 Nov, again in good conditions. The first round was very quiet but it picked up slowly as the morning went on and we finished on 56 including 27 retraps, made up of (new/retrap): Robin 1/1, Dunnock 1/0, Blue Tit 10/14, Great Tit 4/8, Long-tailed Tit 6/3, Chaffinch 2/0, Lesser Redpoll 2/0, Greenfinch 0/1, House Sparrow 3/0. Most of the retraps were from the previous week but the oldest was a Long-tailed Tit from 2014.
The teams for these two visits comprised Maria, Alex, Holly, Sarah, Duncan, Mick T, Gary and me.
Ramsdale Park Golf Centre
On 6 Nov Mick T and I made a visit here to try for a few more Redwing. Absolutely perfect conditions but not so many birds around. Catching was slow but steady and we finished on 37 including 1 retrap, made up of (new/retrap): Redwing 19/0, Song Thrush 1/0, Blackbird 5/0, Wren 2/0, Robin 1/1, Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 2/0, Greenfinch 2/0, Bullfinch 1/0. The only retrap was a Robin from 2018. Overhead passed 100+ Pink Feet heading south.
 partially leucistic Great Tit, Sutton Bonington, 3 November (K. Hemsley)

Brackenhurst, Saturday 9 November

We made our first visit of the autumn to Brackenhurst on Saturday. We were Sophie, newbie Ella and myself. A slightly late start, but we managed 63 birds. About half of them were juvenile tits, perhaps  suggesting a good breeding season this year. We catch few Bullfinch or Coal Tit here, and today's birds were the first since 2015. Worryingly, we had a Bullfinch with papillomavirus (see picture); it was released unringed. Away from the nets, there were plenty of ‘winter’ thrushes knocking around and pleasingly several Bullfinch.
Oldest retraps were a Chaffinch & Great Tit ringed in 2016, both were adults then and will have been born in 2014 or earlier.
Birds handled included (new/retrap 57/6): Blackbird 3/-, Blue Tit 14/1, Bullfinch 2/-, Chaffinch -/1, Coal Tit 1/-, Dunnock 4/-, Goldcrest 3/-, Goldfinch 2/-, Great Tit 8/4, House Sparrow 5/-, Long-tailed Tit 1/-, Redwing 4/3, Robin 4/-, Treecreeper 2/-, Wren 1/-.


 Bullfinch showing symptoms of Fringilla papillomavirus (J. Lennon)

Thursday, 7 November 2019

Mapperley Wood, Derbyshire, Sunday 27 October

I returned for a second year to Mapperley Wood near Stanton by Dale, just into Derbyshire; my winter ringing site. Located just ten minutes from my home, this site is mix of semi-ancient woodland and wet woodland and is home to Nuthatches, Water Rail and Tawny Owls.

The site is managed by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust and they provide seed during the winter months – topped up by myself.

I only set two nets, one 12m and one 6m close to the feeder. For a quick three hour session I was rewarded with 22 birds of 10 species, including the first Nuthatch of the winter and second-year male Sparrowhawk that blundered into the net not long after putting them up.

Totals (new/recapture): Blue Tit 2/1, Bullfinch 1/0, Coal Tit 1/0, Dunnock 2/0, Great Tit 6/2, Long-tailed Tit 1/2, Nuthatch 1/0, Robin 1/0, Sparrowhawk 1/0 and Wren 1/0.