Saturday, 31 December 2011


I can’t quite believe that I’ve managed to keep this blog going a whole year. This time last year I was contemplating the idea of starting one of these ‘blogs’ that everyone kept on about. I must admit that it’s been a blast being able to share with all my readers my antics (if you can call them that) and I hope that you’ve enjoyed reading it.
So what will 2012 bring? Before that starts I’d better round up the last few days. I’ve been in Wales for Christmas and all its done is rain except for one and half days during which I managed to do some ringing. About 60 birds caught though to my delight (not!) they were all tits. A Goldcrest bounced and a several Redpolls thought about coming into the feeders but thought better of it. The sessions were useful in that several retraps from 2010 were caught including a Coal tit and a Long tailed tit. Both species I’ve only ringed in fairly small numbers in the garden. All the retraps have made it through two very cold winters so congrats to them!
I didn't take this recently, its from a while ago at a lovely welsh nature reserve called Silent Valley and I did fill up the feeder when I left!

So 2012, well its hopefully going to start with a bit more canon netting, fingers crossed I get some good weather so I can get some good catches from my finch  feeding site in the fleet and I am really hoping to get some more Woodcock and snipe though I really need some cold weather for that to happen.
I won’t go through all the 2011 highlights but something I did do earlier was go through and read all my past posts and it really reminded me that 2011 hasn’t been a bad year.  So thanks again for making the effort to click on me blog now and again, I really appreciate it!
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Bells are ringing at Radipole

Bells are ringing at Radipole
I was desperately trying to tie in today’s Ring-billed Gull at Radipole with this Christmas malarkey that I keep hearing about, so the title had to contain something bell related as they ring which also describe the bill of the gull. A little tenuous but it will have to do.
Managed to miss this bird on Sunday afternoon when my mate Bret found it standing on Radipole car park whilst out shopping with his missus. Thankfully, I managed to find it this morning whilst in the company of Brett who was pretty sure it was the same bird as Sundays. Other sites in the UK it would be very safe to assume it would be the same one but Radipole has a good track record with this species. A few weeks ago, a different individual was on the car park and we had another adult last winter.
I even managed a picture.

This will probably be my last post until after Christmas so would like to take the chance to say merry Christmas and all that...

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Not quite a Woodcock

With the moon not rising until late in the night, I’ve started going out with the lamp again. Warm weather hasn’t really encouraged me to get out as Abbotsbury usually only gets Woodcock in extreme cold conditions. However, two visits this week has revealed that one Woodcock at least is using the meadows. It’s managed to avoid capture on both occasions but did catch a Lapwing tonight which wasn’t bad compensation.
This morning I met Terry down at Radipole to see if any non colour ringed Coot fancied getting its own lovely ring but sadly non obliged. I did manage to catch four Tufted Duck and a Mallard so the morning turned out to be a decent one.
Don’t have any pics at present but I may get hold of a picture of tonight Lapwing which I’ll add in due course.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Back to the Axe

This morning I found myself back on the Axe Estuary in Devon at first light waiting for a loud bang followed by the ringing of plenty of lovely ducks. This was the first catch of the winter following a cancellation due to low water levels. Plenty of birds came up onto the bank which lead to a catch of 63 birds. Unfortunately, the catch comprised of a decent number of Canada Geese which allowed several smaller ducks to escape but everyone was still happy, especially those who got to ring a goose. (Was I being sarcastic in the last sentence? Make your own mind up...)
I took a bit of a step back from ringing as there were lots of eager trainee’s keen to get stuck into some new species but I did get tempted by a few Wigeon. It’s been nearly a year since the last wigeon I ringed so today was a good reminder with regards to aging them.
It’s pretty easy to tell an adult male! That bloody big white bit gives it away.

And here’s his head.

I can’t forget the ladies. (Or should that be ducks?)

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Tufty Trio

This mornings plan to catch and colour ring more Coots were quickly ruined by the fact that nearly every coot that came within a metre of me already had a colour ring on! Instead, I started grabbing what ever came near and ended up three Tufted Duck and a Mallard. Not bad for 20 minutes catching. The Tufted Ducks were presumably newly arrived birds as they were clearly not aware of our intentions.
I have not featured a Mallard picture on the blog (I think) so this should rectify that.

This Tufty took a real dislike the old geezer sitting on the bench.

Notice my hand in the corner struggling to stop the duck from attacking.
I’ve also (literally!) just been sent this picture of me trying to catch Black-headed Gulls this afternoon. Managed one before they realised what I was doing and flew to other side of the lake. I have had some good returns from Black-headed Gulls at Radipole car park. One of the first I ringed was sighted in Denmark and I’ve had a Belgian  control which I caught last winter.