Tuesday 29 December 2020

Brackenhurst - Monday 28 December

Another socially-distant session for Jim, Tom and me at the feeders on a cold, still and rather misty morning. The catch was dominated by retrap Blue and Great Tits once again, though seven Blackbirds was high for the site and a suggestion of immigration. 

We handled 42 birds (12 new / 30 retraps) as follows: Blackbird (7/0), Blue Tit (2/10), Dunnock (1/4), Great Tit (0/12), Redwing (2/0), Robin (0/4).

As on the previous visit, the majority of the retraps were from this and last winter. Exceptions were Blue and Great Tits from the winter of 2016/17, a Dunnock from 2017/18 and another Great Tit from 18/19.

Yellowhammers were notable by their absence and the only other records of note were three Woodcock flushed from the bottom of Orwin's and some Pink-footed Geese calling up above the clouds. 


Sunday 27 December 2020

Humphrey Dobinson

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of the group's founder, Humphrey Dobinson. He died peacefully at his home in Norway on 21 December, just about making it to the group's 50th anniversary.

Several members visited him at home in 2018 (see pic below) and the trip was blogged about here:


Wednesday 23 December 2020

Recent recoveries

Tom has been out reading colour rings again, and TMW5, the Polish Black-headed Gull (ringed in Feb 2019 in Gdansk) is back for the winter at Trent Bridge again, last seen on the 20/12. A new Norwegian bird has also been seen (JMH5), ringed in Oslo in 2019, this bird was seen in November and was still at Trent Bridge on 20/12. Dutch E5NK, first seen by Tom at Stoke Bardolph in 2017 is also back at the usual spot surviving on a diet of bread. This bird was ringed in Zoetermeer in 2011.

A Reed Warbler caught at Holme Pierrepont in July this year was caught a few weeks later on 18th August at Rutland Water.

The Lesser Redpoll recoveries keep pouring in, with Mick’s site in Bestwood proving somewhat of a hotspot for this species. It will be interesting to see how the influx continues throughout the winter, as so far all recoveries have been within the UK. Perhaps some may get picked up overseas? And as natural food resources run low, will birds seek out gardens as a food source, in which case birds may begin to be recovered in ringers gardens? (Wishful thinking?)

The most recent Redpoll recoveries are as follows:

A bird ringed at Bestwood on 8 Oct was caught at Thorpe Marsh (S.Yorks) on 7 Nov, and a bird ringed at Thorpe Marsh on 2 Oct was caught at Bestwood on 20 Nov.

A bird ringed at Thornton (Leics) on 7 Nov was caught at Bestwood on 2 Dec. On the same date birds were caught that had been ringed at Brockholes NR (Lancs) and RSPB Geltsdale (Cumbria).

Finally, on 15 Dec, a bird was caught that had been ringed at Anglers CP in Wakefield (S Yorks).


Wednesday 16 December 2020

Brackenhurst - Saturday 12 December

It was a damp, grey morning during which Jim, Christian and I felt as if we were sitting in the clouds for much of the time. Fortunately, it was still and the dampness rarely enough to stop us netting. 

The catching was steady and dominated by retrap tits. As has become the norm, a good number of Chaffinches were caught, but released due to the widespread Fringilla papillomavirus. Thrushes were regular overhead, but only a few could be lured down to the vicinity of the nets.

A total of 51 birds were processed (14 new / 37 retrap), comprising: Blackbird (2/0), Blue Tit (2/19), Bullfinch (1/0), Chaffinch (0/1), Coal Tit (0/2), Dunnock (0/1), Great Tit (2/10), House Sparrow (3/0), Redwing (3/0), Robin (0/2), Wren (1/0), Yellowhammer (0/2). 

The majority of retraps were from the last two winters. The exceptions being Blue Tit, Great Tit and Yellowhammer from winter 17/18, and a Robin from 14/15.


Tuesday 8 December 2020

Pykett's Farm, nr Newark - 5 & 6 December

Jim, Christian and I visited Pykett's Farm over the weekend. On Saturday night we set up two lines of nets ready for the morning and put up an owl net. We also had a go at using the thermal imaging camera, finding a surprising number of small passerines at roost, along with larger birds like Pheasants and Moorhens and several rodents crawling around feeding on haws and other berries. We caught a single Barn Owl and watched another pair of Barn Owls through the camera circling high above us.

In the morning we trapped half a dozen Redwings and a tit flock, including a Great Tit ringed in January 2018 by Liz and Geoff on the neighbouring Devon Farm.

Towards the end of the morning a flock of about 300 Pink-footed Geese flew over heading west. 

In total we processed 29 birds, comprising (new/retrap): Barn Owl (1/0), Redwing (6/0), Blackbird (1/0), Robin (1/1), Goldcrest (2/0), Long-tailed Tit (11/0), Great Tit (2/2), Blue Tit (1/1).


Tail & wing of a young Redwing showing a very striking fault bar and a moult limit in the greater coverts. (P. Leonard)