Friday, 29 June 2012

A wanderer from Wales?

Just back from Lodmoor having seen my second Dorset Gull-billed Tern.  This bird is presumably the one which has been present in South Wales the last few days so nice of it to wander down here. Forgot the camera but thankfully I’ve still got  a picture of one from 2010 which was present on the fleet at Abbotsbury and nearby Abbotsbury beach.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Back to the Breakwater

A year ago we had our first voyage to Portland harbour breakwater to ring gull pulli. This year’s visit was somewhat unsure earlier in the year, largely due to that sailing competition that’s happening in a few weeks’ time. Despite all that we were allowed back over this ‘summer’ which was sure to be an interesting visit due to the recent awful weather. There were plenty of nests about but chicks were few and far between. Herring Gulls seemed to have suffered quite badly with several cold eggs in nests but Great black backed Gulls seemed to fair better. However, last years visit was something of a learning curve in finding gull pulli. So the fact that more pulli were found this year compared to last could just a case of the team being better at finding them! They get into some rediculous cracks and caves in the rock armour.

This was one of the Great black backed Gull pulli.

And they bite!

Over 70 Great black backs were ringed in total with a lot fewer Herring Gull. In fact, I believe it could be less than 20 but I haven’t got all the data. A good number of both species were colour ringed but I rather stupidly didn’t take a photo of the rings we were using. The GBBG’s were white rings with Red codes. They start with the letter P followed by one of these, :, then two numbers and a letter.  The Herring Gulls are black rings with a three digit numerical white code which we also use on hand caught fully grown Herring Gulls in Weymouth.

Huge thanks for the Harbour Authority and Terry Coombs for arranging the visit. Finally here’s a shot of the team before we got covered in gull poo!

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Ain't it sweet!

Just when you thought this blog had completely gone off the rails I go post a gem of a picture like this!

It’s a House Martin pullus (baby chick to most) which was one of seven ringed from artificial nest boxes on a house in Dorchester. If you don’t believe me (absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t though…) here’s a picture of me up a ladder!

Also I’ve recently been gauping at a few nice Orchids. I managed to locate an ‘atrofuscus’ Bee Orchid on Radipole which has been known at the site for the last four years but the one I found was at a completely new location to where they’ve occurred before. Two more have since popped up at two other locations on the reserve. I also found another variety on a roadside verge very close to Radipole. Its apparently called ‘belgarum’ which is basically more yellow than a normal Bee Orchid. Nice to see but give me birds any day!

Here’s the atrofuscus

And here’s the belgarum.

Off ringing some Gull pulli tomorrow so look forward to photos of me covered in gull crap!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Its too hard to think of a title

This isn’t going to be a particularly long blog given that I could fall asleep at any second following a weekend at my first music festival of the summer. T’was a rather quiet festival compared to some I’ve been to but still very enjoyable none the less.  A conversation with the current lead singer of Hawkwind was a memorable moment as was discovering the Irish legends that are the Saw Doctors. How the hell have I managed to miss these. Damn my age!

Anyway, just before I set off last week I met up with fellow ringer Andy Daw up at Kingston Maurward to follow up a visit we made a few weeks previous to check some Barn Owl boxes. A few boxes had eggs last time so we were hopeful of a few chicks. As you can see there were some!

Six were ringed in total from two nests plus we ringed a couple of Stock Dove which had moved into some of the boxes.

One box contained Kestrel eggs last time and this time it contained 5 rather small Kestrel chicks. They weren’t big enough to ring so we’ll have to pop back in a couple of weeks.

That’s I’m afraid.  I’m off for a nap!