Monday, 8 February 2010

Slightly less foggy...

Following a foggy morning at Crosby Hall on Saturday, we headed out to Ince on Sunday morning to reap the bounty that our feeders may provide. I swear the birds in our area are the best fed in the land (that applies to the Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Great Tits etc)!!!

Bird 'Flu makes a comeback

The catch rate was steady and as usual it was dominated by titmice but there were more Chaffinches around compared to the last time we ringed at Ince. The fog rolled in temporarily and soon lifted, with temperatures much warmer than the day before, it was a whole lot more comfortable all round.
It is good that we are starting to catch more Chaffinches and Robins (boosting the numbers for the Blackbird Project) but we are still looking for new sites that may offer us a different species diversity to our current woodland sites.

Here are the totals for Sunday:

Great Tit - 9 (30)
Blue Tit - 21 (45)
Coal Tit - 1 (9)
L.T.Tit - (1)
Treecreeper - 1
Goldcrest - (1)
Robin - 4 (4)
Chaffinch - 5 (2)
Blackbird - 1
Dunnock - (1)

TOTAL: 42 (93)

Saturday, 6 February 2010

Through the fog...

One word summarises today perfectly - grey! Following highs of 10 degrees yesterday, the overnight frost will have taken a significant amount of body mass from the birds - so we predicted a certain level of activity at the feeders at Crosby Hall.

The early sunshine soon disappeared and the fog rolled in, our expectations of a bumper catch started to wane. My experiences in Canada and Portugal have always been that during misty/foggy conditions, the birds are reluctant to move around. Luckily though the birds in Liverpool don't pay much attention to their foreign relatives and the birds were quite active around the feeders.

A male Sparrowhawk was seen keeping a watchful eye on the feeding station as the Jays squawked through the Rhodies - still yet to catch either of these species here at CH.

Having only caught two Greenfinches here before, it was pleasing to catch five today, two of them being controls! We'll have to wait for that data though!

We were visited this morning by members of the Blundell family and young Matthew revealed himself as quite an expert with the Blue Tits! The sight of a youngster letting their first bird go from their hands, the expression of delight and wonder will never get old! New trainee maybe?

Blue Tit - 14 (26)
Great Tit - 3 (7)
Coal Tit - (3)
Robin - 3 (5)
Dunnock - (2)
L.T.Tit - 1 (5)
Greenfinch - 3 ((2))
Goldcrest - (1)
Blackbird - 1 (2)
Chaffinch - 3
Nuthatch - (1)

TOTAL: 28 (52) 2 controls

Tomorrows plans are to head to Ince early on and stick it out there, weather permitting.

Monday, 1 February 2010

A change in diversity.

Having hoped for a double-header this weekend, but being unable to get out on Saturday (despite perfect conditions) due to a combination of Girl Guides and pigeon shooters, we finally got out to the Woodhams on Sunday morning. I must point out that these were seperate events and not 12-gauge toting Brownies!

Moxey keeps a watchful eye out for any sneaky Girl Guides with sniper rifles!

After some over-night hail left the ground rather crunchy and the roads rather slippery, at the corner of the wood, a Ford Ka had fancied doing a bit of off-roading quite unsuccessfully - didn't look like anyone was hurt though!

From the offset there was a lot more Chaffinch chatter than we had experienced the week before at Ince which gave early promise but there wasn't much thrush activity in the woods. Although we were catching a lot of titmice, they were mainly retraps with some movement in between the woods.
One of three Goldcrests caught

It was promising to catch three Goldcrests in total, one retrap from before the cold snap and two new birds - this is our highest single day total this winter, unsuprising given the low numbers that have been found in the UK this winter.

Great Tit with a tick

I'm not an expert with parasites, but conversations with farmers while we have been ringing the Barn Owls have highlighted the influx of ticks into certain areas (predominantly sheep farmed areas). It seems that maybe these ticks are now finding their way into woodland areas as we caught a young male Great Tit with one feeding under its eye. If anyone has any more information about these ticks I would be interested to hear from you.

Song Thrush - 1
Blackbird - 2 (2)
Blue Tit - 3 (33)
Great Tit - 4 (13)
Coal Tit - (3)
L.T.Tit - 12 (5)
G.S.Woodpecker - (1)
Treecreeper - (1)
Goldcrest - 2 (1)
Chaffinch - 7 (3)
Goldfinch - 6 (1)
Dunnock - 4
Robin - 4 (2)
Wren - 1

TOTALS: 46 (65)

The Blackbird Project is now in full swing with data starting to be collected in decent quantities - we're looking for as broader geographic spread as possible, so if you can help, get in touch!