Monday 30 August 2010


Spending time with family & friends, relaxing & carrying out the odd bit of bird ringing is what Bank Holiday weekends are made for! It's been a great weekend to catch up & spend some decent time with my family after my travelling - especially the little two above!

We've just put an order in for 500 G rings & 100's of colour rings - ready for this winter's Coot catching season! So along with Craig & Ciaran we decided to get back into the swing of things today & test our reflexes for catching Coot! But before this we headed to Doffcocker Lodge in Bolton to check on the birds there & was surprised to find Red, BTO, Red Black - yet another Southport colour ringed Coot! <36km ESE to Doffcocker>

We then paid a visit to Crompton Lodges, where upon arriving we soon realised we wouldn't be catching much! The whole place was packed out with families enjoying feeding the ducks in the Bank Holiday sun. So the birds were pretty much full & loafing (excuse the pun!) around on the water. We decided we would try some ring reading.

Let's cast our minds back to this post. Yesterday I was in Stoke-on-Trent & decided to call into Westport Lake to see whether I could see cr-ringed Coot - White, BTO, Dark Blue, Pink. I searched through a flock of around 120 birds but to no avail! So I left pondering what had happened to this bird. Imagine my surprise when we saw it back at Crompton Lodges this afternoon!

29/10/2009 - Crompton Lodges
28/02/2010 - Crompton Lodges
09/03/2010 - Westport Lake - 60km.
30/08/2010 - Crompton Lodges

I'm really glad all the time & effort going into colour marking these birds, is beginning to pay off. Hopefully more ringing of this species, will help us to get to grips with it's movements.

Onto other things - Me & Steve met on Sunday evening to try the Swallow roost again. 84 new birds ringed, now taking the total to over 300 birds caught at the roost this year.

And I've received some information on the Swedish ringed Black Headed Gull - that I saw at Pennington Flash last week.

Ringed on 14/03/2003 as an adult at Pildammsparken, Malmo & seen on 19/11/2007 at Pennington Flash also.

View Black Headed Gull - 6407062 in a larger map

Thursday 26 August 2010

Lunchtime Ring Reading.

Just before I went away to Romania, I called into Pennington Flash briefly to meet some friends. We had a quick glance at the Coot around the public feeding area & spotted Red BTO, White White. This bird was ringed at Southport Marine Lake on 16/01/2010.
Today I decided to spend my lunch hour down at Pennington to see whether I could spot any more colour ringed Coot. Around 100 birds were in the feeding area, helping themselves to free handouts, when I spotted a colourful Coot in the water. This was Red BTO, White Orange. Again this bird was ringed on Southport Marine Lake on 12/02/2010 (Distance 36kms). There seems to be a bit of movement between Pennington Flash and Southport as I've controlled 3 birds ringed by the Leigh Ringing Group at Southport in previous years.

View Untitled in a larger map

I also managed to read a Swedish ring on a Black Headed Gull (6407062) so I'll post more details on this bird at a later date.

Wednesday 25 August 2010


It's good to be back home and out ringing so soon after landing back from Romania last night! This evening along with Steve, Jenny & Justin Garner from the South Manchester RG we planned to target a Swallow roost at the local reedbed. We arrived at 19:45 & soon had the nets up. The roost built to around 150-200 birds as they quickly descended into the reeds. Not long after, a net round bagged 76 Swallows, 1 Sand Martin, 1 Wren & 1 Willow Warbler!

Steve has had several attempts at this roost over the last 2 weeks & now has caught over 230 new birds, recapped 2 (from previous years) & controlled 1. Depending on the weather hopefully we can have another go at the roost later in the week.

Tuesday 24 August 2010

International Ringing Camp.

Me & Kane have just arrived home after spending two weeks ringing & bird watching on the Danube Delta in Romania. Although the hot temperatures & mosquitoes took a bit of getting use to after spending a month in Iceland, we had a cracking trip and caught some brilliant birds.

The ringing camp is situated near the humble village of Sfântu Gheorghe which is a 5 hour sail away from the nearest big town of Tulcea. The camp is now in it’s third year of operation and is being coordinated by Fabian Scheider who is the head of a young Swiss bird ringing group. It really is a fantastic site and the turnover of birds is staggering! During our 10 day stay we caught over 700 new birds of 39 species & observed well over 100 species in and around the camp itself!


For us the highlights were catching some species that we had never seen up close before, and some that we hadn’t seen at all! Below are the totals for the trip, with a few photos thrown in.



Green Sandpiper1
Grey Wagtail1
Thrush Nightingale52
Song Thrush1
Barred Warbler22
Garden Warbler29
Lesser Whitethroat35
Sedge Warbler3
River Warbler2
Reed Warbler12
Marsh Warbler37
Great Reed Warbler24
Icterine Warbler2
Olivaceous Warbler21
Willow Warbler83
Wood Warbler3
Spotted Flycatcher30
Red-Breasted Flycatcher5
Pied Flycatcher2
Collard Flycatcher18
Great Tit10
Blue Tit8
Long Tailed Tit4
Red Backed Shrike206
Tree Pipit1
Golden Oriole4
Tree Sparrow7
Reed Bunting1
13/08/10 – 22/08/10704 new.












Both Kane & I would like to say a big thank you to Fabian for having us along & to all the other ringers at the camp who made us feel so welcome. If any ringers are interested in visiting the camp, then they can contact Fabian. They are always on the lookout for ringers willing to help out.

We're both home now for several weeks, before our next overseas trip - so we are very much looking forward to digging out our BTO rings & pressing on with some UK ringing!

Ciaran Hatsell.

Saturday 7 August 2010

Iceland 2010

We’re just back from our month long trip to Iceland. Yet again it’s been another amazing adventure for us, we’ve covered quite a bit of the country, met some really nice people & seen/handled some cracking species!

We’ve made the above slideshow which lists our totals for the trip & posted some photos of the main species below. And if you want to see more photos from the trip see here & here (but be warned most of them are non ringing related!) but there are some nice photos of Gyr Falcon (which shows how close we got to two birds!)

Now for Me & Ciaran, we’ve got a quick turn around of getting clothes washed, saying hello & goodbye to our families and heading back to the airport. We’re flying out to an International Ringing Camp in Romania to spend three weeks there. It’s very unlikely that we’ll have Internet connection out there – so we’ll update the blog on our return.

Flicking for Phals.

Thanks to Steve & Tim for bringing their wader nets with them, this allowed us to have several flick netting attempts – most wonderful fun & well worth the effort!

P1060182 P1060358






Fishing for Fulmars.

When the weather permitted us to sail off the island, we often went fishing to catch some grub for our dinner. A nice afternoon off from ringing & a light spot of fishing we thought! But a nice quite afternoon of fishing soon turned into a small off shore ringing expedition, when the Fulmars started to surround the boat!

P10605707 men in a boat, 2 nets & 2 fishing rods & lots of Fulmars!

Whilst half of the team concentrated on catching the bait, the other half did the catching (see video above), Aevar was on gutting duties & Sverrir did the ringing!






Lots of Fulmars ringed (Also Kittiwake & Arctic Tern too!) it was time to wash down (anyone who has handled Fulmars will know why!) then Ciaran & Craig made a superb evening meal! 



Out ringing till 3am on most mornings, drinking Gin with the locals & attending barn dances (amongst other things, which we wont mention!) soon took its toll on one member of the group!! 

Pulling up Puffins.

P1060211    P1060242

P1060249   P1060248






P1060298  P1060304





P1060770  P1060844

me & whop






Finally, after 24 years of ringing Whooper Swans with Yellow darvic rings (both in Iceland & the UK) we used the last yellow ring & this year started to use Red darvic rings.



This wee guy was the first to have a Red darvic ring fitted!



The things we’ll do to ring birds! Well OK we did really want to get half naked and run around a lake catching swans! We didn’t need much persuading!