Sunday, 20 January 2013

Mission accomplished

Got a day off work and my sole mission for the day was to catch and ring a female Blackcap that’s been using my garden for the past few weeks. It’s managed to avoid the mist net several times over the last couple of weeks but today it didn't!

I’ve also stuck out a load of apples in case of a thrush invasion but at the moments I’ve had several hundred over the garden but none actually in the garden. A few more days of minus temperatures might tempt them to make use of all the grub I've put out for them. Only time will tell...

Saturday, 19 January 2013

The white stuff

My gull watching efforts were rewarded last Wednesday when a rather smart 2nd winter Iceland Gull dropped in. It was rather obliging and instead of disappearing after five minutes, (which is what normally happens) it stuck around long enough for a few people to get down and see it. No sign of since however, which is annoying as I didn’t have my camera at the time so this picture taken with my phone (through a scope though!) will have to do. Although, saying that, I can't seem to up load any photo's for some reason! I'll just leave a gap to fit it in later.

Starting to make this a bit of a habit but better photo’s can be found on Brett’s blog. (I wrote that last sentence before I discovered I couldn't upload a photo but it will make sense once the photo's in...)

Yesterday saw more white things turning up at Radipole, this time snow flakes! I always get excited when snows forecast for Weymouth as I should bring in good numbers of birds. Today was no exception and I tallied up a total of 1528 Skylark, 1420 Golden Plover with smaller numbers of thrushes and finches. The big surprise of the day was the lack of Lapwing. The last two snowy occasions, Lapwing have been pretty much top of the totals list but today count was a dismal six! No decent ducks and the only goodies to be found was a single Woodlark which went over first thing and an odd glimpse of a Black Redstart flying over the reedbed heading for Westham. A very memorable day indeed!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

A duo of Buntings

Took advantage of cold weather this morning and popped out to Charminster to pop a net up. My last visit to this garden site produced a nice range of species and today was no different. Unfortunately the wind made the net a little obvious but 24 birds managed to blunder into it. Was very nice to catch two new species for the site, a Yellowhammer and a Reed Bunting, the latter something of a surprise. Yellowhammers are frequent at the site but not Reed Bunting.

Adult female Yellowhammer

2nd calendar year female Reed Bunting.

Friday, 11 January 2013


I happened to be in Wareham for a meeting this morning so the lure of Waxwings just 10 minutes drive away was too much. Considering I originally stuck the news out on the bird news services and ended up in a local paper talking about them, all a result of a phone call to Radipole by a Lychett Matravers resident, I thought it rude not to go and actually see the little beauties.

Unfortunately I forgot my camera but luckily my mate Brett happened to be there when I swung by. He's also blogged about them so please refer to his website for a much more interesting post about Waxwings... 

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Greenfinches Galore

Well… sort of. My garden isn’t exactly the busiest of places to ring. My feeders usually only entertain a few Blue Tit but a few days ago I noticed a small flock of Greenfinch helping themselves. I made the most of yesterday’s weather and stuck the net up for a few hours  and managed a grand total of 7 Greenfinch! Pretty good result for my garden.

This morning I went out to clouds hill to do a bit of routine maintenance and thought it would be rude not to stick up a few nets whilst there. Winter is usually very quiet at the site and today was no different but I did catch a pair of Song Thrush which were a surprise as usually I only this species in the autumn when they pass through on migration. One of them was distinctly greyer than the other which I suppose could suggest continental origin?

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Probably a bit late to be wishing readers a happy new year but there you go… I probably should have made it a new year’s resolution to blog a bit more often but I failed to do that but at least I’m updating now.
Firstly, I’ve got a bit of interesting news just before Christmas from Tony Taylor who I ringed with on Lundy last October. You may remember me posting a photo of an eastern type Chiffchaff which we though looked pretty good for a Siberian Chiffchaff (tristis). It conveniently shed a small feather which made its way to Aberdeen (I think) where the clever people there concluded that the feather did indeed belong to a Siberian Chiffchaff (at least in its Maternal ancestry).
Here’s the little critter. Obviously a hybrid can't be ruled out but its certainly halfway there.

Christmas was a rather wet one so ringing was limited and birding was non-existent! Managed to ring two out of the four local Cygnets ringed with the help of my mate Rich who also joined me at my uncles garden for a bit of mist netting on what was probably the only suitable day throughout the whole festive season! A respectable 30 birds were caught which was made up of 10 species including Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Jackdaw. The latter being the first I’ve ever had go into a mist net and stay there long enough to get hold of! Here’s a photo of me sitting on a swan…

No swans were harmed in the making of this blog and this is by far the safest and easiest way of holding onto a swan for ringing unless you’ve got one of them swan jackets which I didn’t have.

This morning I visited a new garden ringing site in Charminster near Dorchester. Conditions looked good with no wind and overcast skies however the temperatures didn’t particularly feel at all wintery so birds weren’t flocking to the feeders. Caught a reasonable  39 birds in total including a control Blue Tit which was ringed down in Martinstown, 2 Blackcap and a Starling which isn’t a species I see very often in the hand. Was also really nice to catch a few House Sparrow which is again a species I don’t usually get a most of my other ringing sites.
Here’s mister and mrs  Blackcap.