Monday, 30 November 2009

Moxey on a Monday

I had a very rare afternoon to spare some time to get out and about, a combination of wagging Uni so that I could teach my Yr8's about Adaptations and the pm session at Edge Hill being cancelled. Woop Woop!

Anyhow, I headed down to the Canal, no Coot coming to bread, so I headed down to Crosby Marina to freeze my Jacob's off! I didn't see the Grey Phalarope, but to be honest I wasn't looking too hard. I'm a half-arsed birder at the best of times. I was more interested in the Coot, loaf of bread in hand I headed down to the boating lake. A combination of Canada Geese, Black-headed Spitfires and some pesky dog walkers left my bonfire well and truly pissed on! Think that will be an early-morning job! However it was good to bump into Tony Duckels as he went to Phind the Phalarope!

Moxey (not at Ince), down with the kids!

Anyhow, Moxey was able to get out to Ince for an hour:

Blue Tit: 8 (7)
Great Tit: 3 (9)
Coal Tit: (1)
LT Tit: 3 (1)
Dunnock: 1
Chaffinch: 1
Blackbird: 2

Total: 18 (18)

That means in November we have ringed 504 birds between Crosby Hall and Ince. With The Woodhams now in opperation, we're hoping to build on this early promise!

Paulo Tenriero - Portugals Sexiest Anilhador (Bird Ringer) comes to Liverpool on Thursday! Watch this space!

Sunday, 29 November 2009

The birds made up for the footy!

We headed out for a brief morning session at Crosby Hall this morning, ahead of the lunchtime clash between The Mighty Blues and the other team from Merseyside. As is Everton's look these days, the reds won the game despite being completely outplayed by the boys in blue! If only I hadn't skipped footy practise to go to the sewage farm with my dad.....

The weather forecast looked grim (a recurring theme this month - I can't remember a day without some form of precipitation!), but before dawn it looked clear. Picking Moxey up on the way we set the usual nets at the feeding station, tempted to add more, but deciding not to spread ourselves too thin incase the weather turned.

Catch rate was steady but almost exclusively titmice, an apparent absence of anything finch-like. A male Sparrowhawk booted it over my shoulder at one point, unfortunately no-where near a net. The rain kicked off about 11am so we packed up with the following totals:

Blue Tit 28 (6)
Great Tit 24 (11)
Coal Tit 2 (2)
Chaffinch 1
Greenfinch 1
Robin 2
Blackbird 1 (1)
Total: 59 (20)

Following packing up, we headed home to pick up more bird food and some feeders to set up the feeding station at The Woodhams. There has been a significant amount of habitat 'alteration' since we were last there and slightly less cover as a result. The northern station is untouched however and there were plenty of birds around. Now that a fair few of the Pheasants have been shot out, it should be safe to net there in the next few weeks. A few noisy Curlews flew off the stubble amongst the legions of Wood Pigs.

Todays total brings us to 486 birds ringed this month!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Blast from the past.....

I received an email from the Canadian Wildlife Service the other day with details of two recoveries of birds that I 'banded'. One being a White-throated Sparrow, found dead on 12th May 2007, only three days after being banded, the bird was found underneath a window 5km from the banding site.

More impressively however is the recovery of the Magnolia Warbler 2480-04825, banded on 2nd September 2007 and again, found dead on 12th September 2007 near Cleveland in Ohio. A distance of 210km over ten days.

Monday, 23 November 2009

On a (Red)wing and a prayer.....

Sunday 22nd November

With showers forecast we knew that we might only get a few hours of clear weather to have the nets open. We arrived at Ince at dawn and got some nets set up pretty quickly, the feeders had been filled the afternoon before so we hoped the birds were hungry!

There was a lot of activity early on at the feeding station, catching good numbers of Blue Tits and Great Tits, but it wasn't too long before we got the first shower of the day, so we closed down the nets and sat it out. The rain lasted about 45 mins, so we sat it out in the car, with a flask of coffee for company. When the rain eventually subsided, Moxey whizzed round (yep, Moxey can still 'whizz' round) to open up the nets bringing back a fistful of birds. The catch rate was relatively steady through the day, dominated by Great Tits, and brightened by a single Goldcrest and two Treecreepers.

On the matter of Goldcrests, there seems to be a significant lack of Goldcrests in the country at the moment, both Hilbre and North Lancs have commented on dramatically low numbers. Given the ecology of the two sites we are operating at the moment we would expect to see more.

Earlier in the day we had seen Redwing repeatedly near the old hall, so we whipped an 18m up in the vicinity and we were rewarded late on for our efforts with a nice adult bird.

Adult Redwing

Treecreeper 2
Long-tailed Tit 13
Wren 1
Goldcrest 1
Redwing 1
Blackbird 5
Robin 2 (1)
Coal Tit 3 (2)
Great Tit 45 (40)
Blue Tit 23 (39)
Chaffinch 2 (1)

TOTAL: 98 (83)

Over the next week we'll set up the feeding station at The Woodhams in time for the arrival of Paulo Tenreiro in ten days time. We will be presenting a brochure and poster about the Association of Portuguese Ringers (APAA) at the BTO Conference in Swanwick.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

South-West Lancashire Ringing Group re-brand!

The South-West Lancashire Ringing Group have rebranded with a new logo designed by myself. You can see the new logo here.

If you are interested in having a logo created, get in touch via the blog.

Ince Pies?

Sunday 15th November:

Another belter weekend with Moxey and Tineke down at Ince Blundell left us all with big smiles and a sense of achievement. There was a bit more variety this week as we opened up another two net lanes to bring a different mix of birds. There were a few Redwing knocking around, Grey Wagtails and Brambling were also heard, although unfortunately they didn't find their way into our nets!

Moxey upon his throne keeping an eye on proceedings

The feeding stations have started to establish themselves, but I can't help thinking that with all of this mild weather, there are still more birds to find their way into the woods when the weather gets harsh.

Blue Tit 31 (18)
Great Tit 35 (7 )
Coal Tit 3 (4)
L.T.Tit 14
Blackbird 6
Robin 6 (1)
Chaffinch 5
Nuthatch 1
Goldcrest 1
G.S.W. (1)

TOTAL: 102 (31)

First-year male Goldcrest

Monday, 9 November 2009

Monday Madness with Moxey

I found out last night that Moxey was planning a cheeky afternoon down at Ince Blundell following on from the success of Saturday, rubbing it in while I was stuck in school! He seemed to have a steady afternoon though and my jealousy arose when we had the following conversation:

Moxey: Have you had a good day?
Me: Nah, Year 8's were a pain in the arse. Anyway, how did you do?
Moxey: Well, you're not going to like this.
Me: What?
Moxey: Guess what I caught?
Me: Oh no, not a Firecrest?
Moxey: No, bigger.
Me: Sparrowhawk?
Moxey: Think long bill.
Me: Woodcock? *expletives*

So Moxey got a Woodcock, a bird that I have never seen in the hand in this country. Gutted. But made up for Moxey! Shame he forgot his camera though.

Coal Tit 3 (5)
Blue Tit 16 (8)
Great Tit 9 (2) ((2))
Wren 1
Robin 1
Dunnock 1
Chaffinch 2
Tree Creeper 1
Woodcock 1

Total 35 (15) ((2)) - ((controls))

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Feeding Frenzy!!!

Saturday 6th November

With the pressures of teaching mounting up, I took a day off from lesson planning and assignment writing to do a spot of ringing with Moxey and Tineke. The weather forecast wasn't looking great, but we went ahead anyway, our proximity to the nets at the feeding station allowing rapid closedown if necessary.

We set up the feeding station at Ince Blundell two weeks ago and Moxey has been keeping an eye on it since, so we decided to give that a go first of all, with the option of splitting up and one of us staying on and the other heading to Crosby Hall.

We hadn't even got the nets open before we were catching, birds everywhere! We were catching at a great rate, around lunchtime me and Tineke booted over to CHET to see what we could lay our hands on, while Moxey remained at IB. We were only ringing about two hours at CHET when the weather closed in and we had to head for home.

Ince Blundell

Blue Tit: 70
Great Tit: 34
Coal Tit: 10
Long-tailed Tit 3
Chaffinch 7
Blackcap 1
Nuthatch 1
Woodpecker 1
Goldcrest 1
Dunnock 1

Total: 129


Blue Tit:
20 (3)
Great Tit: 7 (2)
Coal Tit:
2 (2)

Total: 29 (7)

First-year Male Great-spotted Woodpecker

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Setting up a Bird Observatory in Canada

This coming Friday (6th November) I will be giving a talk to the Liverpool Ornithologists Club in Bootle about the two years that I spent in Canada trying to set up a bird observatory. There will be loads of cool photos taken by either myself or Moxey of around 100 different species of North American passerines.

If you wish to attend, get in touch with me via the blog for details.

Back in the game!

Finally managed to get out, time and weather permitted, so me and Moxey got out to CHET yesterday morning, having set up the feeding station last weekend, Moxey reported good activity during the week when he went to feed up. We also set up a new feeding station in Ince Blundell last week and we're expecting to ring there for the first time next week.

We could only operate for a few hours yesterday as we both had tickets for the Everton vs Aston Villa game and a lot of talk was of our excitement for the game on Wednesday against Benfica, a game I have been waiting for my whole life. I digress. It was a good initial session, especially considering the weather has been so mild and there is an abundance of natural food. Walking through the park between net rounds, we commented on how late the fall is this year, loads of leaves are yet to turn, but with the weather set to change this week, the trees could take a battering.

Blue Tit 12
Great Tit 13
Coal Tit 3 (1)
Chaffinch 3
Robin 2
Blackbird 1
Total 34 (1)

Juvenile Chaffinch female, showing three retained greater coverts.
Click on image for high-res view.