Monday, 31 May 2010

Out of the office & into the field....

This last week has been a real busy one with being out ringing almost everyday of the week, resulting in ringing 234 new birds, recapping 3 and controlling 1. Most of these birds have been pulli, but we did set the nets at one of our reed bed sites one morning and had quite a good session. Regular readers of this blog may notice that I don't catch many warblers - so this week has been a nice change in terms of catching & ringing a few Acros & Phylloscs

The week started with a handful of juvy Starlings caught in the garden potter traps, with a small number of adults also being trapped & colour ringed as part of my RAS project. By then end of the week 40 new birds caught & 1 recapped.

Then Chris Bridge came over to help me with some ringing, so we decided to start early on Thursday morning at one of our reed bed sites. Nets up the night before, furled and opened at 04:30am = 17 new birds & 1 control.

Sedge Warbler - 3
Reed Warbler - 9 + 1 control
Long Tailed Tit - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Reed Bunting - 1

Then after ringing two broods of Willow Warbler (6 + 6), brood of Song Thrush (4), brood of Blackbird (5), Blue Tit (6) and Great Tit (5) we donned our waders and headed into the reed bed to look for Reed Warbler nests. 2 hours & 25 Reed Warbler nests later we left the reed bed after ringing 16 pulli and recording the contents in the other nests (small young + eggs).

Friday morning Chris left for Seaforth to see a White Tailed Plover, whilst I headed to WWT Martin Mere. There I met Steve Birch and monitored a couple of Tree Sparrow boxes = 29 pulli ringed. After a quick cuppa & slice of birthday cake (not mine, someone else's!) I met back up with Chris at Burscough Bridge, then onto meet Craig in Atherton for a weekend of ringing!

Friday evening was spent catching Starlings in the garden, before we went to Hagfold and managed to catch a Grasshopper Warbler. We got onto discussing Long Eared Owls and that Craig had never had a good view of one in flight during daylight. Well he was in for a treat! Over the last 2 weeks I've been watching a pair of Long Eared Owls hunting at a private site and you could guarantee that at bang on 20:30 each evening one would appear! 20:30 came and I glanced at my phone - no sign of the owls, another quick glance 20:32 - ''It's there!!'' someone shouted!

Over the last 2 weeks - I've been trying to track down a nest at this site, even staying till 02:00am some mornings - just to hear the unique squeaky gate call of the young owls (I didn't hear any!) and by Friday I'd almost covered the whole site by looking for a nest in hedgerows, bushes & conifers. There was one bit of the site that I had not checked and so me, Craig & Chris decided that one final check wouldn't do any harm. As I walked into a small wooded area, I glanced up at an old magpie nest & instantly knew this was the one! I climbed up a neighbouring tree and confirmed what I suspected, as the female's beady orange eyes glared at me!! I climbed the tree to find four Long Eared Owl chicks and not wanting to keep the female off the nest too long we retreated back to the car & arranged to meet up with Steve & Wes to ring them on Saturday evening. A brood of 5 Whitethroat & 6 Great Tit also ringed at this site during the evening.

The adults gave exceptional views whilst we were ringing the brood!

Week totals
Reed Warbler - 25
Sedge Warbler - 3
Willow Warbler - 12
Whitethroat - 5
Grasshopper Warbler - 1
Reed Bunting - 6
Starling - 40
Blackbird - 8
Song Thrush - 4
Great Tit - 27
Blue Tit - 65
Long Tailed Tit - 3
Tree Sparrow - 29
Wood Pigeon - 1
Lapwing - 2
Long Eared Owl - 3

With this weeks 234 new birds - this now brings my total up to 1034 new birds for the year.
Thanks to all the ringers who have helped me this week & thanks to Wes Halton for the above LEO photos.

This will be the last post from the UK for a few weeks, as I’m migrating north again. I’m flying out to Iceland tomorrow to work with Icelandic and Danish bird ringers, aiming to capture.......... no not Whooper Swans, no not seabirds or waders – you’ll have to wait until I get back for a full blog post. :-)

I’m now going to be out working in the field for the next 25 days and so there probably won’t be any blog updates or access to e-mails until I return back to Manchester (Volcano/flights permitting!)

1 comment:

  1. You have been working hard , this week. Now, you're not going to get withdrawal symptoms in Iceland, are you? You'll be pleased to get back and handle "wee sma burdies" again! Best.