Friday, 30 November 2012

Whooooo... your crest is on fire!

As the Kings of Leon sang...

Trapped and ringed two Firecrest in the garden this morning. There have been a few around for the past few weeks. A nice calm frosty morning prompted me to pop up a net at my feeders in the hope of them being busy. For some reason my garden feeders weren't at all busy so the Firecrests made up the bulk of the catch this morning however a male Bullfinch made it into the totals.
Here’s a proper picture of one of the little chaps.

As part of work I’ve been keeping an eye on some Peregrines in Dorchester which put on a brilliant show. Took this the other day.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

A busy day

It all started at 5am when we (Steve, his trainee Teresa and myself) headed off to Seaton for the first canon net catch of the winter. A few visits to the catch site by Axe Estuary group volunteers a few days ago revealed a reasonable number of ducks using the site. Overnight frost must have brought in a few extras as the catch was a very respectable 105 birds. Just three species were caught but whose complaining when there’s plenty of Wigeon and Teal to go around!

After a mighty breakfast in Seaton we headed back to Weymouth and before we went our separate ways talked about the possibility of catching a few wagtails this evening. As you can gather from my last post, my last attempt didn’t got that well so I was very pleased to pull off decent catch with Teresa and Steve. 41 Pied Wagtails caught, 39 of which now have colour rings. Also got a re-trap Cetti’s Warbler and a new Robin.
I’ve finally sat down with a cup of tea though I’m pretty sure I’m going to get dragged away from the computer any second to watch the Strictly dancing rubbish.

Thursday, 8 November 2012

An interesting Wagtail catch

This evening I decided to give the Pied Wagtail roost at Radipole a try as they have recently been roosting a few hundred yards from my current net site on the reserve. The evening went really well except for the lack of wagtails in the net. In fact, I only caught one! They insisted on roosting in their favourite spot... a few hundred yards from the nets. However, I did catch in the 50 minute session 2 Cetti’s Warbler, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Robin, 2 Wren, 1 Reed Bunting and this rather handsome chappy.

There were plenty in the area so might try a few more evenings as Bearded Tits are something of mystery with their movements so the more with the rings on the better. They are still showing signs of dispersing which I think is quite late in the season for this to be happening still. A few more evenings targeting the wagtails is certainly on the cards as well, especially as there were over 300 there this evening. A good size catch will really help our colour ringing this autumn!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

A last flurry of finches

Have been managing to get out on the fleet most mornings this week before work though visits haven’t been particularly productive. Ringing totals certainly suggest that we are pretty much at the tail end of the autumn migration though Finches have still been trickling overhead. Abbotsbury produced 4 Redpoll yesterday morning and Clouds Hill produced another one this morning. All Lesser Redpolls though but nothing wrong with that!

A couple of Redpoll tails, firstly one belonging to a 1st winter bird. Secondly, one of an adult. Note the rounded tips on the adult and the pointy tips on the 1st winter bird.

Bramblings still seem to be going over in numbers, this morning another 12 went over which was a fair percentage of the mornings finch migration. Haven’t managed to catch any though!
This morning saw a couple of scarcities at Clouds Hill. The morning started with a very early rising Lapland Bunting which appeared to have spent the night in the adjacent field (suppose they roost on the ground?) before heading off up the fleet. Then later a female Long-tailed Duck flew past the ringing station towards the Swannery but clearly didn’t make it that far as I flushed if from the edge of the fleet whilst taking down a net later in the morning. It unfortunately if went straight over the beach and out to sea so must apologise to duck for disturbing it.
No photo of the Duck but here’s a Chaffinch as compensation...

Monday, 5 November 2012

Brambling along...

All a little bit quiet on the ringing front this morning which was somewhat of a surprise given the light NE wind and a large bank of cloud through the English Channel which would have stopped anything thinking about heading over it. Caught 4 new Robins and a Song Thrush on the first net round not long after first light and then all went quiet except for a few of the resident Wrens and a Dunnock later on. Overhead passage was largely made up of finches and it was quite busy. Between 6am and 8am an impressive 35 Brambling in total went over plus several which roosted overnight in Clouds Hill. About 250 Chaffinch also went over, plus at least 80 Goldfinch and about a dozen Redpolls. Meadow Pipits were also on the move. Highlight of the morning was a Firecrest which avoided the nets. They are quite scarce at Clouds Hill compared to nearby Abbotsbury Swannery though the habitats are quite different so perhaps that’s not such a surprise.
Hopefully more to report over the next few days.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Can't beat a bit of bully

Despite a pretty dodgy weather forecast I ventured out onto the fleet a little bit before first light in the hope of doing a bit of ringing. Some net rides were fairly sheltered so I decided to give it a try though distant thunder and lightning had me a little concerned but thankfully it passed me by but managed to hit Portland where I’m sure there were several eager ringers waiting for the weather to pass.
The morning proved worthwhile as just under 30 birds were trapped, not all new birds as the resident Long-tailed Tit flock arrived with several carrying rings from last Autumn. Nice to know they are still about. A Bullfinch (which I forgot to take a photo of) was a nice capture, my first there this autumn (not that I’ve been at clouds hill much this autumn) but little else in the way of new arrivals. A few Chiffchaff and Goldcrest were also caught but all the Robins from Tuesdays visit were long gone. As had the Ring Ouzels and other thrushes. Strong westerlies look set in for a next week so probably no big arrivals of finches or thrushes are on the cards.
A shot of one of the Chiffchaffs this morning. Would have been a picture of the Bullfinch which would have been much more fitting given my choice of blog title but as I said early, I forgot to get the camera out! Chiffchaffs are nice though...