Monday 31 May 2010
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).
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.
Monday 24 May 2010
Saturday morning saw us in Atherton woods checking the boxes, the wood along with Lilford wood houses some 250 boxes (mainly tit boxes + owl/stock dove) but getting round to all 250 boxes in a day is very hard. However we did check around 80 boxes, with most of them containing nesting Blue Tits, Great Tits and one box having a family of Nuthatch (below).
Blue Tit - 115 + 1 recap
Great Tit - 22
Nuthatch - 6
After checking the boxes it was time for a quick beer (to cool down!) and then we decided to try our luck for Swifts at the local reedbed - but none where around - so we had to make do with Swallow instead
Sunday evening I met up with Steve at Botany Bay Woods to check his boxes, which resulted in a few Blue Tit & Great Tit being ringed. After box checking we had a drive around the fields and caught 4 Lapwing chicks (below).
Also ringed this weekend - 5 Song Thrush pulli + 1 adult.
As I sit here I can hear fledged Starling chicks, it's that time of the year again - I'll have to get the traps ready!!
Tuesday 18 May 2010
Ringer in training - not quite old enough yet!
Sunday 16 May 2010
Saturday 15 May 2010
Mute Swan -
(6) 30/12/2008 Southport
x 01/04/2010 Denbigh - 57km
Black H Gull -
(5) 25/02/1983 - St Jame's Park, London
vv 02/03/2010 - St Jame's Park - 27 years.
(6) 28/03/2001 - Bowness on Windermere
vv 10/03/2010 - Whitecross Bay, Windermere - 5km
Canada Goose -
(6F) 09/01/2010 - Wigan
+ 23/03/2010 - Soyland Town, Ripponden - W Yorks - 50km
(3) 08/11/2009 - Doffcocker Lodge, Bolton, Grt Manchester
vv 23/03/2010 - Lowerhouse, Burnley - 26km
(4) 11/01/2010 - Southport Marine Lake
x (car) 07/03/2010 - Singleton - 21km
(4M) 30/08/2009 - Swinton, Grt Manchester
x 07/04/2010 - Barton - 3km
x - Found dead
vv - alive / rings read in field.
+ - shot or intentionally killed by man
Thursday 13 May 2010
Andreas, along with his colleague Bianca Alert, want to study orientation and learning mechanisms of Robins. It is known that the birds learn the rotational fix point of the star (normally the north star) as north. However it's not known how long the birds have to see the sky for this and it's unclear how they can detect the rotation. Andreas tells me there are two possibilities: they can either see the rotation or the other possibility would be a time-delayed pattern comparison. So to test each hypothesis against each other, Andreas & Bianca will hand raise young Robins that have not yet experienced the star pattern and will present a rotating artificial sky to them, as well as a sky that will ''jump'' the pattern every hour.
So over the last few days we've been searching for nests around Oldenberg and I'm pleased to say we managed to locate a number of Robin nests - with many of them at the right stage to be collected from the nest later this week. However I must say that I found finding the nests quite a challenge, as they were not as easy to find as they are in the UK!
Yesterday we took the afternoon off, so that Andreas could demonstrate to me how he catches gulls and wildfowl using nooses. We set up in the harbour at Wilhelmshaven, where we were greeted by a number of hungry Herring Gulls, Lesser Blacked Back Gulls & Black Headed Gulls. After a wait and a much persuading (with bread!) Andreas quickly caught a Herring Gull. By this time, the other gulls had seen what had happened and disappeared sharply! We also caught Mallards in the city parks around Wilhelmshaven, using the same method with the nooses.
Sunday 9 May 2010
Week totals (Atherton, Grt Manchester) -
Blackbird - 5
Blue Tit - 4 (4 recaps)
Goldfinch - 1
Great Tit - 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 1
Mistle Thrush - 2
Song Thrush - 3
Starling - 6
Stock Dove - 1
Tawny Owl - 3
Great Spotted Woodpecker caught in the garden today, it's broodpatch below. Think this bird maybe nesting on the bowling green, just a few minutes away from the garden.
6 Starlings colour ringed as part of the RAS project.
Saturday 8 May 2010
I’m not actually carrying out the RAS fieldwork until 2011, for a number of reasons. But I’m colour marking the birds this year to get as many marked individuals into the local breeding population.
Wednesday 5 May 2010
Over the weekend, phone calls back to home alerted me that a Bullfinch was seen in the garden carrying nesting material, so I was pretty excited to get back home to have a scout around. We're doing quite well for nesting birds in the garden this year - with both boxes containing Blue & Great Tit, Blackbird in the front garden & Song Thrush sat on eggs to the rear of the house. Goldfinch are setting up home in a conifer which they have previously bred in and the Bullfinch... well I did find their nest which they are still building. Fingers crossed all succeed in hatching and raising their broods!
So back to those pulli that needed rings! Me and Craig were out working in Atherton Woods this evening, monitoring nest boxes and ringing anything we could catch.
First stop was a Tawny Owl box - 2 pulli & adult ringed.
Then checking other owl boxes, catching an adult Stock Dove
2 adult Blue Tits were also ringed + 1 recaptured (ringed in 2009)
3 pulli Song Thrush ringed
2 pulli Blackbird ringed.
We also managed to find two Blackbird nest (complete with 4 eggs each), Chaffinch (incubating female / 4 eggs) and a Collard Dove with 2 small young.
Tuesday 4 May 2010
Here's what we have on his movements to date -
25/05/2009 - 22/10/2009 - Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria.
30/10/2009 - 03/11/2009 - Kingsmill Reservoir, Nottingham.
11/11/2009 - 17/12/09 - Watermead Country Park, Leicester. 222km
24/01/2010 - 24/01/2010 - Near Cossington Mill, Rothley, Leicester.
10/03/2010 - 15/03/2010 - Near Cossington Mill, Rothley, Leicester.
27/04/2010 - 04/05/2010 - Bowness on Windermere, Cumbria.
Thanks to Sheila & Mac Cooper for reporting him at Windermere and Thanks to Julie for the above photo.