Sunday, 24 January 2010

It's all happening in Leicestershire

After tip offs from local birders of a lone Whooper Swan in a field in Leicestershire, Julie from Watermead CP went in search to see whether it was our bird - Z3G. Apparently the location was not accessible on foot, so Julie along with a friend sailed to the location. Using binoculars, Julie found the Whooper Swan which seemed ''wild'' and after getting closer the bird got out of the water - revealing a nice shiny yellow darvic ring - it was Z3G!

Although in the company of two Mute Swans, he's now doing what a Whooper Swan should be doing - eating grass and not begging for handouts!

For the record, heres what we have on his movements.
25/05/2009 - 22/10/2009 - Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria.
30/10/2009 - 03/11/2009 - Kingsmill Reservoir, Nottingham.
11/11/2009 - 17/12/2009 - Watermead Country Park, Leicester.
24/01/2010 - 24/01/2010 - Near Cossington Mill, Rothley, Leicester.
Thanks as always to Julie (and others) for keeping us posted on this bird and for the above photo.

At last....some mist netting!

At risk of turning this blog into a diary all about Coot & Tufted Duck, heres a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Caught this week along with - (Recaps in brakets)

Blue Tit - 10 / (4)
Great Tit - 4
Long T Tit - 5 (3)
Bullfinch - 2 (1)
Chaffinch - 2
Goldfinch - 16
Greenfinch - 4
Robin - 1

BUT spurred on by this weeks 167km movement......I couldn't resist trying....

and I did get out to catch some Coot (18 new) and Tufted Duck (3 new) this week.

This morning I spent a few hours with Kieran Foster of Merseyside Ringing Group, aiming to catch Coot in St Helens. Coots were not playing ''ball'' and we ended up with a Tufty instead.
Meanwhile Craig & Ciaran came down to help paint 50 nest boxes that are going up at a site near Lake Windermere - a new project for 2010 aiming to attract Pied Flycatchers. Thanks to Craig & Cia for their help this week....

Friday, 22 January 2010

Whooper to Watermead and now Coot to Watermead!!

Many thanks to Dr Colin Hewitt for getting in touch with me with a sighting of a colour ringed Coot. Whilst Colin and Garry Barker where out catching Coot & Mute Swans at Watermead County Park in Leicester yesterday, they noticed a colour ringed Coot - Red over BTO / Black over Light Blue in the water. This bird was ringed just 9 days ago at Southport Marine Lake making it a distance of 167km to Watermead Country Park!

Sunday, 17 January 2010

The week of the Coot & Tufted Duck!

What a week! With catching conditions good for catching Coot and Tufted Duck throughout the week, both myself and Steve have been out on most days catching the above species. With ice covering most of the major ponds / lakes - most of the birds moved onto the bigger waters, but now with the thaw setting in, these birds are moving on.

We've never had such a good week for catching Coot and Tufted Duck but it's not all been fun - bites and scratches covering our hands, getting sore/chapped knees and having my mother on my back for ''coming home again covered in Coot mess'' - I suppose it's all part of the job!

We end the week on 132 new Coot + 6 recaps caught & 56 new Tufted Duck + 3 controls.

Ducks ready to be crated up before ringing.
Today I had a nice morning out with Seumus, Craig and Ian of Fylde Ringing Group. We spent a few hours catching Coot and Tufted Duck in Stanley Park, Blackpool. It was great to recapture or control (in Seumus's case) one of my Coots from Southport Marine Lake that I ringed in 2007 - it's now sporting nice bright colour rings

Meanwhile back at home two Moorhens have been feeding in the garden - will they find the potter traps?!.....

Friday, 15 January 2010

Black Headed Gull.

The Black Headed Gull ring that I read at Pennington Flash the other week was ringed on 01/07/2008 as a pullus on the west coast of Finland at Luoto municipality.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Super Duper Southport - Another 50!

Went to Southport again today with another 50 G rings and a box full of colour rings - met Sean there as he had come over to give me a hand. Southport is turning out to be Coot catching mecca with another 53 birds caught today making it 100 new birds ringed during two days!!

We were joined by another two ringers, when Peter and Thomas Fearon turned up which made processing the birds much quicker. We normally take full biometrics on the Coots but with it being quite cold at the moment - we only took wing measurements.

Tufted Duck were quite tame and feeding off corn that we placed into the shallow areas for them and allowing us to catch them quite easily, resulting in 23 new birds being caught and controlling 2 birds (i.e ringed by another ringer away from Southport).

Thanks to all who help out and thanks to Sean for coming all the way over from Yorkshire - always a pleasure to work with him.

Meanwhile Steve has been out catching today and has also managed to catch several Tufted Duck. People always ask me how I manage to catch the birds and one reason is that I've had a good teacher!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Super Southport!

I had a good feeling about this morning when I awoke and as planned I went to Southport Marine Lake armed with 6 loafs of bread, colour rings and 50 G rings for a spot of ''before work ringing'' - I did not expect however, to use all 50 of the G rings!

50 new Coot caught and colour ringed and 1 Tufted Duck caught too. Surprisingly I did not recapture any of our previous metal ringed Coots.

This cold weather has certainly forced the birds onto Southport Marine Lake, over 1000 Coot, 200 Tufted Duck, 50 Pochard, 80 Pintail and Little Grebe all seen.

''Coot Control''

With todays rings, this now brings the total to 221 colour ringed Coots since October 2009. As always sightings of these birds can either be sent to me at kanebrides''@'' or to

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Brrrrr - It seems to be getting colder!!

Not much ringing carried out during the week due to the weather. However I started off yesterday by nipping up to Crompton Lodges in Bolton to catch a few Coot. I also took time out to count the birds and read some colour ring combinations. 93 Coot where on the Lake and of them 45 already had colour rings, 6 new birds had colour rings added + 2 metal rings read ''in the field'' or ''on the ice!'' - so out of 93 birds at least 53 of the Coot carried rings.

I then nipped into Shakerley to feed the birds and noticed it was quite busy - so off home I went to fetch the poles and net. I decided to only have the nets up for an hour & half to allow the birds to feed. 37 birds caught of which 24 were new and 13 recap.

Back at home, Steve called and so after a quick conversation we went to a Lake in Wigan - catching 3 Mute Swans, 2 Canada Geese and 4 Coot.

This morning I met Michael Miles and Clive Richards from South Manchester Ringing Group to allow them some experience in wildfowl ringing. We met at Redesmere Lake and managed to catch a few Coot and Tufted Duck.

Seumus Eaves and Craig Brookes from the Fylde Ringing Group faired far better at catching Coots this morning - which they colour ringed. Many thanks!!

** If you're awaiting a reply/email from me regarding catching Coot - I've not forgotten! I'm just trying to work my way through a backlog of e-mails!**

Friday, 8 January 2010

Pottering about.

No mist netting this week but being at home has allowed me to take the potter traps of their safety mode. I've baited them up and caught a number of Blackbirds, Robin and a Song Thrush this morning.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Snowed in!

This was the view that greeted me this morning when I opened the curtains!

So no ringing for a short while to allow the birds to feed in peace.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

A spot of ring reading.

I decided to take my Niece and Nephew to feed the ducks at Pennington Flash this morning, so whilst they were happily feeding the quack quacks I tried to read a few rings on the Coot.


GN22752 was ringed at Pennington Flash on 30/12/1999 as a 4M by the Leigh Ringing Group. So he's now over 11 years old!

GN34594 was originally ringed at Pennington Flash in 2003 and 12 days ago I caught it and colour ringed it in a park 2km away from Pennington Flash. The pond where I had caught it was totally frozen over this morning.

Also managed to read ST250073 (from Finland) on a Black Headed Gull - so not a bad morning!