Sunday 28 June 2009

A Few More Sylvias...27th June

Another ringing session at 4.00 a.m. today in the plantation at Moss House Farm and the order of the day was definitely more Sylvias. In total we ringed 32 birds and retrapped 14. New birds and retraps for each species were as follows:

Blackcap - 3/0
Whitethroat - 12/8
Chaffinch - 1/1
Garden Warbler - 1/0
Coal Tit - 2/0
Great Tit - 1/0
Blue Tit - 4/0
Blackbird - 1/0
Willow Warbler - 3/3
Treecreeper - 1/0
Robin - 2/0
Reed Bunting - 1/0
Wren - 0/1
Sedge Warbler - 0/1

We had two trainees with us this morning so the above birds kept us busy and because of this I didn't note much from a birding perspective other than a single singing Quail. Below are pictures of Treecreeper and juvenile Coal Tit.

In the afternoon we met at Fleetwood Marsh Nature Park to clear the net rides in preparation for our ringing demonstration on 4th July. We cleared net rides to enable us to put up five nets totalling 260 feet in length.

Harriers...26th June

Today I had the opportunity to assist with the ringing and wing-tagging of a brood of three Hen Harrier chicks and I must thank Dave and Richard for the opportunity. Mind you the nest was extremely inaccessible and as such as I am not the most athletic person in the world the walk to and from the nest almost killed me! Mind you it was worth it!

On the way to the nest we had a juvenile Ring Ouzel that was fresh out of the nest and this was my first Ring Ouzel of the year. The Hen Harrier nest contained two males and a female. We ringed all three chicks, but only wing-tagged two as the third bird was going to be fitted with a radio/satellite transmitter.

On the way back to our cars we came across two Curlew chicks which we ringed. A nice end to a cracking morning.

Saturday 20 June 2009


I could watch Gannets all day as I think they are fantastic birds. I could have watched them all day today at Rossall Point if the wind hadn't veered from westerly to west-northwesterly and killed the passage. I had 24 past Rossall Point this morning and some were exceedingly close in. The plumage variation in Gannets is stonking and this morning I had anything from 1st summers through to adults, but I must admit most were sub-adults.

The only other seabird I had was a single Manx Shearwater, one of my other favourite birds. There were 48 Oystercatchers feeding as the tide ran in and I had my first returning waders in the form of 3 adult summer Dunlin. The usual Atlantic Grey Seal was bobbing just beyond the surf.

Friday 19 June 2009

Sylvia Fest...14th June

During the week Phil and I cleared the net rides in the plantation at Moss House Farm ready for our first ringing session of the autumn. Autumn! Hang on a minute it's only 14th June, but yes it is autumn in the bird world!

After meeting at 3.45 a.m. we put 8 nets up with our bleary eyed trainee who hadn't been to bed, having spent all night with his girlfriend and straight to the ringing session. The youth of today! We managed to ring 24 birds including 11 Whitethroats, Garden Warbler, 2 Goldfinch, Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Coal Tit and 3 Willow Warblers. We also retrapped 9 birds including 2 Willow Warblers, 4 Whitethroats and a Sedge Warbler.

Below are some pictures of some of the birds we caught.

Willow Warbler

Whitethroat - male

Goldfinch - female

Garden Warbler - nice!

Sunday 14 June 2009

More Pulli is the Ordr of the Day...7th June 2009

Over recent weeks my weekends have slotted in to a routine of checking nest boxes with Craig and Gary at the Boar Park and then off to Barnacre and today was no different. As usual the first port of call was the Boar Park where we ringed 15 Pied Flycatcher pulli (brood of 8 and 7) and a brood of 5 Blue Tits.

Pied Flycatcher chick

It was more of the same at Barnacre where we ringed 16 Pied Flycatchers consisting of a brood of 7, 3 and 6. We then called at some farming friends of mine near Esprick and checked the outbuildings for Swallows. We found 6 broods of Swallows and only one nest had young big enough to ring which was a brood of 5. In addition to the Swallows we ringed a brood of 2 House Sparrows and 6 Wrens.

Monday 1 June 2009

More Boxes

On Saturday (30th) we checked our boxes at the Boar Park and Barnacre expecting to ring some Pied Flycatchers. However, the Pied Flys weren't ready as yet and it will be next weekend when hopefully we will be able to ring over 50 pulli.

The only birds we ringed at the Boar Park were a brood of 4 Chaffinch and a female Pied Flycatcher that we lifted off the nest. In one of the boxes we found 6 dead Blue Tits that were virtually fully grown. In fact there were 8 birds in this brood, so it is possible that 2 had already fledged. It's hard to tell what had happened. There had been some wet weather during the week and perhaps the adults had been struggling to find food. Or, perhaps one of the adults had been killed and the remaining parent was struggling to find enough food for 8 large hungry chicks. It's tough being a Blue Tit!

At Barnacre I had my first Cuckoo of the year. It's very sad and illustrates how this bird is struggling that my first bird was as late as the end of May. Let's hope we can work out what's happening and halt the decline of this charismatic species soon. A summer without Cuckoo's isn't worth contemplating.

On the way back we called in at Myerscough College to ring a brood of three Kestrels in a natural tree site that Craig has been monitoring for a while.

We also ringed a brood of 8 Blue Tits and 6 Wrens that had converted an old Swallow's nest into a desirable Trog residence.

Back at home the garden moth trap only revealed Brimstone Moth, Garden Carpet and a very worn Clouded Drab.

Painted Passage

I hope you have been catching up with the amazing numbers of Painted Ladies passing through at the moment. Last Friday (29th) between 1500 and 1930 I had 270 whizzing north through my garden. None of them were stopping to feed, they were just motoring away.