Sunday, 24 January 2010

Suprise on a Dull, Damp Saturday

With the forecast for Sunday looking rather moist, a Friday night call from Moxey switched our ringing session to Saturday. The feeding stations have been pretty active over the last three weeks, especially so since the cold snap - very often artificial feeding is what keeps these birds going through periods of harsh weather. We feed a variety of foods, a mixture of black sunflower and sunflower hearts from feeders, peanuts from feeders with fat balls and homemade suet coconuts/blocks.

Catch rate was steady through the day and in total 132 birds were caught, which was good, especially considering the foggy, cool conditions. Interestingly, the morning session was dominated by Blue Tits which became scarce in the afternoon, the opposite was true of Great Tits.

The debate ensues.

The lack of Chaffinches and Thrushes was painfully obvious however, only one Blackbird caught and only one Chaffinch heard. The resident Nuthatches were in good voice however and a retrap was caught at the feeding station. Two Jays also made a noisy and rather painful appearance but did give us some cause for debate on their ages - I do love a good debate!

The suprise of the day however, was the appearance of a young male Kestrel in the middle of the wood, much dancing on the spot and woop, wooping followed.

Young Male Kestrel

Kestrel - 1
Blackbird - 1
Coal Tit - 3 (7)
Blue Tit - 20 (35)
Great Tit - 6 (39)
L.T.Tit - 1 (4)
Goldcrest - (1)
Dunnock - 1 (2)
Jay - 2
Robin - 5 (3)
Nuthatch - (1)

TOTAL: 40 (92)

It was encouraging that one of the three Goldcrests ringed at Ince in 2009, made it through the recent cold snap. It has been a particularly poor winter for Goldcrests across the country so it is reassuring to see that the few that are around are managing to survive.

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Good Times

Another early start for Moxey and me as we headed off the Crosby Hall for a session in the woods. Right from the start there were plenty of Pink-footed Geese airbourne with the over-active Jays adding to the racket! The Blackbird activity of the other week had completely subsided however and we were unable to catch a single bird. The theme of the day was 'steady' with a constant stream of birds from the feeding station supplemented with a reliable abundance elsewhere in the wood. Of the six Chaffinches, two were already ringed and on the left leg (an instant indication that they weren't 'our' birds).

Juvenile female Nuthatch

Early afternoon we spotted a weasel scampering along the hedge at the side of the wood, my first for the year. Despite the lack of Blackbirds, we were still able to collect biometrics on the secondary species (Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Robin) which kick-started the project.

Adult male Nuthatch (notice the bold chestnut on the flanks and under-tail coverts).

Blue Tit - 34 (17)
Coal Tit - (2)
Great Tit - 2 (18)
Chaffinch - 4 ((2))
Goldfinch - 1
Greenfinch - 1
Robin - 4
L.T.Tit - 9
Goldcrest - 1
Dunnock - 2
Treecreeper - 1
Nuthatch - 1 (1)

TOTAL: 60 (38) ((2))

Thursday, 14 January 2010

More Tufties!

Moxey and Thomas headed down to Southport Marina again at lunchtime to have a go for more Coot as part of Kanes colour ringing project. Unfortunately the Coot weren't that interested however that didn't deter Thomas from getting his arms wet (and rather cold). Using grain in the slip-way, the pair were quite successful with the Tufties! I'll have to wait until Saturday for my chance!

Tufted Duck: 24
Mute Swan: 1

Total: 25

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

A Tuesday Morning Coot Party!

With conditions good for snaffling a few Coot, Moxey and Thomas (my younger, bigger brother) headed off to Southport Marina this morning, stopping by L20 before I left for school to pick up the colour rings, G's and sheets.

While I drove bleary-eyed and jealous through the Mersey Tunnel, Moxey and Thomas were heading up the A565 to stalk the margins of the marina (at the posh end of Sefton). My colleague David (a Sandgrounder himself) couldn't really fathom the depths of my lament, however I had GCSE Chemistry Revision with Year 11 to liven my spirits (?).

Moxey and Thomas had company, with Kane and Sean Gray also present, according to Moxey it was just as well because these guys were pro's when it came to grabbing Coot. I only wish I could have been there so that to learn from The Master!

Sean and Thomas (and a bunch of Tufties)

'It wasn't me Officer'

Thomas with an auld Coot

Many thanks to Kane and Sean for showing the better-looking Fearon Duo how to do the business with the Coot, early plans are to go out again tomorrow before the ice melts.

With both Kane and Sean's updates already posted, this could possibly be the most-blogged about ringing session in recent times!

I just wish I had a job that offered more flexibilty!

Monday, 11 January 2010

Emberizidae Ringing Supplies is Launched!

A new cottage industry is hatched!!! My partner and I have now launched Emberizidae Ringing Supplies and are ready to accept orders on a range of items.

At the moment we are able to offer bird bags in a range of sizes and we also accept orders to suit your specifications. Over the coming months we will be adding a number of additional products to our catalogue, so keep checking back for the latest gear!

You can visit the page here.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Feeding Up!

Over the past week we have made efforts to make sure we've maintained food in the feeders at the feeding stations - during this cold weather the birds need as much of our help as possible! Driving to the feeding station at The Woodhams there were Fieldfare in the hedges scrounging for food, we flushed two Snipe off the tarmac-ed road surface - they must be hungry!

The wintery conditions at Crosby Hall

Here are some pictures from the ringing session at The Woodhams on 3rd Jan:

Juvenile female Goldcrest

Adult Redwing

A rather chilly Tineke

Friday, 8 January 2010

Winter Break Update

It has been a while since I updated the blog so I'll post the totals and observations for the time being.

21st December - CHET (Moxey's Birthday Party)

L.T. Tit - 1
Treecreeper - 1
Chaffinch - 3
Blue Tit - 17 (19)
Great Tit - 12 (8)
Coal Tit - (2)
Robin - 2 (1)
Blackbird - 11 (1)
Greenfinch - 1

TOTAL: 48 (31)

On the 21st, there was a large influx of Blackbirds at Crosby Hall, feeding on the abundance of berries and apples (courtesy of Marshalls, College Road, Crosby!).

28th December - Ince Blundell

Blue Tit - 9 (21)
Great Tit - 7 (25)
Coal Tit - 4 (2)
Chaffinch - 2
Robin - 6 (1)
Dunnock - 1
Nuthatch - 1

TOTAL: 30 (49)

A relatively quiet day for Moxey (I was otherwise engaged), operating just one of the feeding station sites. Observations of Mistle Thrush, however no Redwing or Fieldfare were heard during the ringing session.

31st December - CHET

L.T. Tit - 3
Wren - 1
Chaffinch - 2
Dunnock - 1
Coal Tit - 1 (3)
Great Tit - 5 (16)
Blue Tit - 9 (15)
Blackbird - 12

TOTAL: 34 (34)

We tried experimenting with a few new net locations through the rhododendrons to captilise on the abundance of Blackbirds and other thrushes (although not as many were around compared to the week before). The experimentation worked, another twelve Blackbirds, falling just outside the sampling period of the Bloackbird Project. Golden Plover were heard in passing as well as small numbers of Curlew.

3rd January - Woodhams

Blue Tit - 6 (20)
Coal Tit - (2)
Great Tit - 1 (16)
L.T.Tit - (1)
G.S.Woodpecker - (1)
Nuthatch - (1)
Jay - (1)
Goldcrest - (1)
Blackbird - 3 (4)
Redwing - 1
Song Thrush - 2
Robin - 3 (2)
Dunnock - 4 (1)
Chaffinch - 4 (1)

TOTAL: 24 (51)

A low yield for the first session of the calander year, but a good range of species were caught. With 50-odd Redwing flitting around the wood, it was disappointing to only catch the one, but along with the two Song Thrushes two new species for the site were added to the ringing totals. About 70 Golden Plovers we spread across the fields, Barn Owl was hunting in broad daylight (not a good sign) and Buzzard was 'kee-ing' overhead.