Saturday, 31 December 2011

Highlights of 2011…..

So much has happened during 2011 that it’s quite a hard to summarise it all in one complete blog post! Therefore we’ve created a video and included in it everything we think deserves a mention! We plan on creating one of these each year, so that in the future we can look back on what we managed to achieve! Something to show the Grandkids!!

To view the video, please click here it’s best viewed on a large screen, which can be selected at the bottom of the right hand screen.

We’ll post our annual ringing totals in the New Year.

All the best…

Kane & Co!

Monday, 26 December 2011

Festive Ringing….In Brief…..

Having a few days off work on the run up to Christmas, has allowed us to get out & about to do quite a bit of ringing. Time that was set aside to finish off Christmas shopping went out of the window, as we travelled around catching.

So in brief this is what we’ve been up to -


Tufted Duck have started to become more bolder, resulting in us catching & ringing 7 birds.


Whilst catching Black-headed Gulls at Southport McDonalds (!) we placed a potter trap out and managed to catch several Starling!


As well as hand catching a Common Gull.


We’ve been busy netting the feeding stations in Atherton Woods, trying to catch Blue Tits for Zac’s dissertation project.


We were eager to get out to start catching Black-headed gulls for the darvic’ing project. With 23 new birds caught this week + 1 Swedish control.




2A00 fresh in from Oslo! Seen at Bowness on Windermere on Christmas Eve!

Species Total.
Black-headed Gull 23
Common Gull 1
Coot 24
Canada Goose 9
Starling 4
Blackbird 1
Blue Tit 14
Great Tit 10
Coal Tit 1
Chaffinch 1
Bullfinch 1
Reed Bunting 1
Tufted Duck 7
Thanks to Gillian & Ciaran for the above photos….

Monday, 12 December 2011

Arrivals & Departures.

We’ve had a number of sightings sent to us over the last week, which involve our colour ringed Black-headed gulls. As previously reported 2A00 has come back to winter at Bowness on Windermere after summering in Norway. 2A05 summered in Lithuania and has be reported back at it’s ringing site at Preston Docks, yesterday by Jonathan Scragg.


2A07, an adult bird which was captured at Killington Reservoir, Cumbria in June this year has been reported by Gavin Chambers at Loch Ryan in Stranraer, Dumfries & Galloway.


This now being the second recovery of one our our Black-headed Gulls at Loch Ryan. The other being 2A64 which was ringed as a chick at Killington in June this year & sighted by Chris Baines in Dumfries & Galloway.


Finally, just as we were giving up hope on hearing back from more of our colour ringed chicks. Manuel Figueiras e-mailed myself & Ciaran to tell us he’d sighted 2A44 at Quilmas, A Coruña in Spain. This also being a chick that was ringed at Killington in June this year.


2A44 ringed on 08/06/2011. Sighted on 11/12/2011 in Spain.1358km SSW in 186 days.


According to BTO Online, only 104 British ringed Black-headed gulls have been recovered in Spain. So our catching is starting to pay off! It’s great to be able to capture & mark continental birds, British breeders & British bred chicks.

Many thanks to Gavin, Chris, Ciaran & Manuel for the above photos and to everyone who has reported colour ringed birds…….

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Recent Ramblings…….

Being off work for most of the week due to my wisdom teeth ‘erupting’ I was rather looking forward to getting out this weekend to do some ringing. After work on Thursday I left Martin Mere to give a presentation to students at Manchester University on bird ringing, before travelling to the airport to fly to Edinburgh. However most people will have heard or even witnessed the ‘code red’ weather warnings and I was told that my flight to Edinburgh had been cancelled! I was travelling to Scotland to, hopefully catch & colour ring more Coot as it had recently turned cold up there.


Several phone calls & discussions with Flybe staff saw that I could actually get into Scotland, and that I had to fly to Glasgow instead! I managed to persuade Gillian to drive to Glasgow to collect me & an hour later after the most horrendous flight ever, I arrived in Glasgow to be greeted by the Dinsmorag , who was waiting in arrivals with my supper – how kind is that!?

So Friday morning we got to work and managed to bag a rather nice catch of Coot & Black Headed Gull. Now there’s even more Scottish ringed Coot out there with their shiny new bling on! The Black Headed Gulls showed a great interest in our offerings and we managed to get 8 new birds & one control from Poland!


‘At my happiest with a bird in the hand, even happier if I’ve got both of my favourite species in the hand!’


The Dinsmorag with two Black Headed Gulls.

After finishing we left for McDonalds to use their bathroom to cleanup (!) and then we headed south, were after a rather long but enjoyable drive we arrived in Bangor ready for a cannon netting session on Saturday! Saturday went something like this – up at 5am, on Bangor Harbour beach by 05:30, nets set by 7am, 10am a catch of Redshank, a few Dunlin and 10 Bar Tailed Godwits was looking possible, 10:05 a Buzzard flew over the flock…… they spooked and didn’t return! However the team over at Beaumaris pulled off a rather nice catch of around 400 Dunlin & 6 Turnstone – which was good experience at extracting waders from cannon nets. 

Gillian & I left the team processing the birds as we had to be back in Manchester by early evening, but not before calling into Bangor McDonalds to use their bathroom for cleaning up! They’re handy!

Today after waiting for the rain to pass, we decided to net the Shakerley feeding station for the first time this winter. A rather enjoyable afternoon had, catching around 60 birds – mostly new. This included a new species for Shakerley in the form of a Treecreeper! Four Willow Tit & several Bullfinch also made it onto today’s data sheets.


A large group of Long Tailed Tits decided to play ‘if ones in we’re all in!’ which kept us on our toes for a short while!


We also caught this Blue Tit with a rather long lower bill! It seemed to be coping rather well though!

Cheers to Gillian for a cracking weekend & for using her photos! Also thanks to Zac for allowing us to stay with him and to the SCAN team for Saturday………

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Welcome back 2A00!

Thanks to Peter Bainbridge I finally received the news that I’d been waiting for, that ‘our boy’ 2A00 has returned back to Bowness-on-Windermere after spending the spring & summer in Oslo, Norway. Just 23 days after ringing, 2A00 was sighted by Morten Helberg in Norway and throughout the summer 2A00 has been seen and photographed at several places in Oslo.


The Migration Atlas suggests that UK wintering Black-headed Gulls appear to be very site-faithful. Studies in London (Widgery 1970, Christmas 1986, Gosling 1988) have shown that birds use the same feeding & resting sites over several years, irrespective of the age of the bird or the countries from which they originated from.

With 2A00 being the first bird we darvic’d as part of this project, we’re very fond of him! Up to now we’ve only darvic ringed 6 adults and three of these have been seen since ringing. This goes to show how useful these rings are and any darvic rings on any species can be reported to

Ciaran is home very soon, so I’m rather looking forward to getting out with him and starting to catch some more adult birds as part of this project.

Whilst I’m on about a gull species. Luka Jurinovic has asked me to post a link to the up and coming International Gull Meeting taking place in Croatia in February. For more details of this, please visit here.

Thanks to Carsten Lome for the above photo.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Crazy for CANGOs!

Gillian & myself are just back from an aborted SCAN session, where we joined Zac & Matthew Bruce and the rest of the team in Bangor Harbour this morning. It was an early start for us all this morning as we set the nets in the dark and retreated away and hid in the bushes (!) out of view of any peering eyes as the high tide started to push good numbers of Redshank, Dunlin & Shelduck up towards the catching area.


Unfortunately, however – something spooked the birds, possibly a female Peregrine that was hunting Black Headed Gulls nearby & the birds didn’t come back in time for us to fire into a suitable catching area, as the high tide had reached it’s highest point, we decided to call it a morning & pack away the gear.

We then left for Manchester calling in at Abergele on the way back where we managed to read two Black Headed Gull rings – EG41185 & EX43734 and impressively Zac managed to catch an adult bird (he’s been closely watching the master Black Headed Gull catcher – Ciaran – in action!).


Back in Manchester - Gillian & I decided to have a bit of a mad Canada Goose catch and just as the light was starting to fade we called it quits and finished the day on 50 new Canada Geese ringed! We also managed to catch 3 new Coot & 2 more Black Headed Gulls.



As Gillian was busy ringing the geese I was keeping the Black Headed Gulls around us entertained, by feeding them in closely. This allowed me to read several rings including a Finnish & Danish ringed bird. We also read the ring of EY02115 which sounded like a familiar ring sequence and especially with the ring being on the left leg. Upon arriving home we confirmed our suspicions that this was a Killington ringed chick that Zac ringed at the Cumbrian colony in June this year! 90km distance from Killington to the Manchester park.


Casting an eye over our 50th darvic ringed Coot!

Thanks to Zac for putting us both up for the evening! Good luck to the SCAN team for a more successful catch tomorrow! And finally it was great to meet new trainee Matthew Bruce during today's ringing events!

Thanks to Gillian for the above photos!

Monday, 14 November 2011

Coot, Conference & Coal Tits!

As I type this I’m currently sat on a train at Edinburgh Waverly station, heading back to Manchester. Chris Bridge & I have had a long weekend up in Scotland with Gillian. We’ve been rather busy doing various things mainly attending the Scottish Ringers’ Conference but also we’ve colour ringed the first Scottish Coot!

Friday started early for Me & Chris as our train left Manchester Piccadilly at 5am. By 09:30 we were pulling into Linlithgow where we were greeted by Gillian in her wellies, old scrags and waterproofs and she quickly whisked us off to Linlithgow Loch.


It didn’t take long for Gillian to capture the first bird which was duly darvic ringed, measured & weighed before being released. 20 more birds followed making Friday’s total 20 new Coot & 1 recapture – that of a bird ringed by local ringers.


We noted several Black-headed gulls already sporting rings, several of these being foreign rings. So we attempted to catch any already ringed birds, resulting in the above Swedish ringed bird being controlled.

We left the Edinburgh area via a rather nice chippy were Gillian treated us both to the delights of a deep fried Pizza! Mmmmm! And then left for Stirling to check on whether any Coots would play ball with us at Airthey Loch at the University of Stirling. It turned out non of the Airthey birds wanted shiny darvic rings so we captured this rather smart male Goosander instead!



After a quick coffee and meeting the rest of the Dinsmore family, we headed up to the Cairngorms National Park to the lovely Carrbridge Hotel to participate in this years Scottish Ringers’ Conference.


The conference went down a real treat! Hosted by the Grampian Ringing Group a fantastic selection of talks were presented to the conference congregation. I rather enjoyed those talks given by Raymond Duncan on Waxwing ringing, by Jane Reid on the movements & ecology of Shags & talks by Ewan Weston and Clive Mckay were both very interesting. A fantastic evening quiz, along with several videos made by Euan Ferguson & Calum Campbell kept us all entertained on the groups catching methods! Most impressed we were by Calum & Euan’s gull catching methods (quite different to the method used by us) that Chris will be trying attempting the Scottish method in Wales over the coming week!

During a free period from 1-4pm on Saturday all three of us took the short trip down to Loch Garten to see Crested Tit. A visit made especially for Me & Gillian to add Cresties to our invisible lists! We watched several of the adorable little critters until we realised that around 20 tame Coal Tits we could come to feed from our hands! They stole the show I’m afraid……




We left the ringers conference earlier than most on Sunday as I was giving a talk to several students at Stirling University, about the Coot Ringing Programme.


Today we toured around several other sites around the Edinburgh area to look for Coot. Several more birds were captured along with 13 new Black-headed Gulls & a Tufted Duck at St Margaret's Loch.


Thanks to Gillian for a super weekend & for doing most of the driving. Thanks must also go to Gillian for sorting out most of the site permissions before hand, and to those ringers who allowed us to use their sites to catch & colour mark a sample of Coot. Lastly a big thank you to the Grampian Ringing Group for hosting a most enjoyable ringers’ conference…..

Tonight we’re back in Manchester and then heading south again to Slimbridge tomorrow morning. Rather looking forward to getting back to Slimbridge in the morning to see the newly arrived Bewick’s Swans, now over 100 for us to look at! Also knowing that when I’m in my office tomorrow I’ll only be several hundred meters away from 13 Spoon Billed Sandpipers!! Click here to read a blog post written by WWT’s Head of Species Conservation – Baz Hughes.

Thursday, 27 October 2011



A batch of recoveries came in from the BTO yesterday, revealing that our old Canada Goose that we blogged about last year – has been found dead with an injured wing. At the grand age of 18 years & 254 days. Although this bird was ringed as an adult in 1993 so is older than 18yrs!

Several other Canada Goose recoveries were also included in this batch, all mainly involving local movements. A Reed Warbler pullus that I ringed at Pickmere this year, was captured by ringers 43days later at Rostherne Mere (10km). And confirmation came through of the UK’s first recovered Portuguese ringed Sand Martin!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

A Bit of Cooting!


‘Angel of the North, maybe!?’

Back in the great NW for the weekend and after taking delivery of a rather large batch of G and darvic rings, I couldn’t wait to get out and start using these.

So a trip to Redesmere Lake & Westport Lake this morning, bagged us 17 Coot in total, 16 new & one recapture – which was previously a colour ringed bird, however it had lost a colour ring, therefore the bird was issued with a swanky new darvic ring.


Apart from the Coots the net has been up in the garden & caught 20 Goldfinch along with a number of Chaffinch, Great Tit & Greenfinch.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Rounding Up Mutes……

On Sunday along with Wes, Charlie and Heather McGinty we headed up to the Lakes for our annual Mute Swan ringing day. Starting off at the usual Bowness-on-Windermere and working our way round, before finishing off with an awkward brood of cygnets on Coniston Water!


In total we caught around 40 birds, most mainly non breeding adults and very few cygnets!! Although some cygnets were being ‘stubborn’ and wouldn’t come anywhere near us!! They weren't for changing their attitudes, not even for the Lake District’s finest bread – so therefore went unringed!!!

I was hoping for a sneaky Goosander or a Black Headed Gull or two, but that was not to be!

P1040317   P1040328

Charles looking like a Leprechaun, whilst gluing a darvic! And Heather stands in as scribe come cellotape hand’er’outer


All ready for release with it’s shiny new bling!

Any sightings of blue darvic’d Mute Swans in the NW can be sent to Wes Halton at info’@’

Monday, 10 October 2011

Today I Bumped Into A Fellow Northerner!

Walking through the Big Pen in the grounds at Slimbridge casually observing the Coots, I was rather shocked when a flash of yellow & pink caught my eye!!


This is getting spooky! It’s like they’re following me! Yup this is a Southport Marine Lake bird. Ringed there in November 2010, sighted 29 days later 6km away at Ainsdale by Stephen Menzie. It was then sighted at New House Pond in Stockport, Grt Manchester (64km ESE) on 28/03/2011 & 29/03/2011. The next sighting is at WWT Slimbridge on 07/10/2011 and today – 217km south in 311 days!

Slimmers  Coot


It’s not bothered about bread anymore! More like relishing on the daily grain handouts by staff & visitors!!

Now I’m waiting for the ‘‘You ringed this at Slimbridge’’ & ‘‘ you’re transporting them between sites’’ comments! :)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Hello Again D4A!


I’ve been waiting to see this nasal saddled Teal again here at Slimbridge to get some photos of it! However I haven’t seen it since! So the above photo will have to do!

My colleague Steve Heaven first sighted D4A on the Rushy Pen at Slimbridge on 10/09/2011 and I eventually caught up with it a few days later! So why do I say ‘hello again’? Well I’ve seen this bird many times before on my old stomping ground at WWT Martin Mere, Lancashire!

It was ringed on 15/01/2010 at Reserve du Duer, Sarzeau in France and first sighted at Martin Mere on 19/10/2010, it returned back to it’s ringing location in France, being sighted there on 24/01/2011 (presuming escaping our cold weather at the time!?). Then the next sighting was on 08/04/2011 at Lewes Brooks in Sussex before being sighted at Slimbridge on 10/09/2011 and 12/09/2011!

D4A Movement

It’ll be interesting to see whether D4A is sighted back at Martin Mere over the coming winter! This bird proves how attractive WWT sites are to waterbirds!!

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Good day for Gold & Grey in the Garden!

Upon arriving back to Manchester last night, I was told how the garden was alive with Goldfinches earlier in the day, with around 40 counted from the living room window. I awoke this morning & peering out of my bedroom window I was amazed to see around 70 Goldfinches on the feeders & covering the ground!


So up I got and started to get the net ready with the help from Chris, no sooner had we got back inside and the net started to fill with Goldfinches, with 15 in the first net round & we ended the day on 42 new birds & 2 recaptures.


We were aware of several Grey Wagtails hanging around the lane and were rather surprised when one found it’s way into the net! Unfortunately this happened just as Steve Christmas left the house! As he’d been round dropping off rings (thanks Steve!)


Don’t think a Wren has ever appeared on this blog before!! So here’s one to settle that……


We ended the morning on catching 50 birds – 47 new & 3 recaps.

Goldfinch 42 new & 2 recaps
Grey Wagtail 1 new
Coal Tit 2 new
Blue Tit 1 new
Wren 1 new
Dunnock 1 recap