Sunday, 12 June 2011

Busy Week!

I’ve had all of this week off work, and at the start of it, it didn’t look too promising weather wise for much ringing. A little worrying as we had lots of ringing planned! However it seemed ‘they’ got it wrong and we managed to squeeze all our ringing activities in without being pestered too much by rain or strong winds!

Monday kicked off with a Kestrel nest box inspection at Shakerley, were I managed to lift the female out of the box. She was feeding 5 chicks and I decided to leave the ringing of the chicks for later in the week, as I knew Zac was coming & this would give him some experience with getting to grips with the talons of birds of prey!


A brood of three Lapwing were found on the walk back from the Kestrel box so these were duly ringed before they up sticks and leave the nest scrape!


Tuesday the weather was looking awful during the morning, however as planned I went to collect Chris & Zac from the train station and we drove to Killington Lake in Cumbria for our annual Black-headed Gull roundup. We arrived mega early and before the rest of the team so decided that a cup of coffee was in order at Killington Services. But on arrival we were greeted by these…..


and it wasn’t long before two of them were in the car and ready to be ringed! Followed by another 3, which were all darvic ringed… (Well done to Zac for hand catching his first gulls!)



One of the advantages of having a glass roof top car, allowed us to get the birds on top of it & do a spot of ring reading through the glass!! With two BTO rings read – EX51401 and EG41030. (Anyone recognise these ring numbers?!)



After our enjoyable half hour of catching, speaking to people about ringing & glugging down our coffee – it was time to meet Steve & Aidan and to get ready for the colony ringing. Unfortunately not many pictures were taken due to being so busy on the island. In total we caught 477 chicks, with 80 of these getting an additional darvic ring.


We awoke early on Thursday to glorious sunshine, just what we needed for a day of nest box checking at WWT Martin Mere. We arrived early in order to spend more time checking boxes & ringing chicks. It’s a hard slog getting around these boxes, but well worth it in the end! 100 Tree Sparrow chicks ringed (colour ringed), 1 Stock Dove, 4 Chaffinch, 4 Swallow, 2 Moorhen and 1 Coot.


(Above & below photos by Zac Hinchcliffe)


And finally Friday morning was spent in the reed-bed checking 43 Reed Warbler nests & ringing 30 Reed Warbler pulli.

IMG_3745 . IMG_3742

before returning to Shakerley to ring the Kestrel brood and for a spot of mist netting…


catching two Grasshopper Warblers & two Whitethroat.


Of the Groppers one was a new bird and the other was a retrap, it being from the nest I ringed the other week! Nice to know they’re still around…


Thanks to Steve, Aidan, Chris & Zac for their help this week.


  1. Best week of the year? Or was that the 100 Coot Days? Awesome stuff.

  2. excellent catches Kane, I was wondering how do you catch the black-headed gulls? Do you just hold food out and catch them?

  3. Thanks Jack. Yes all our gulls are captured by hand. Simply by holding the bait in one hand & catching with the other! Can be quite effective, but the birds have to be in the mood & hungry!! Cheers...