Monday, 31 May 2010

Fun times at Fazakerley!

Now that the sizzling barbeque weather seems to have backed off, we took advantage of getting down the Fazakerley to do some Swifts and Hirundines twice this week.

Wednesday saw Moxey kick off the proceeding in the drizzle whilst I was at work. A quick dart home to change and negotiations of the traffic through Walton and I got there in time to ring some of the Swifts.

Swift - 97 (9)
House Martin - 9
Swallow - 8
TOTAL - 114 (9)

Due to being in work Mon-Fri, Moxey is often opperating on his own for all or most of the ringing session. On Saturday I finally had a chance to fully contribute to the proceedings at the sewage farm. To most people, the weather would be considered to be foul, cool and drizzling with clouds of midges buzzing around your head, to me and Moxey, this is perfect!

It was very much a day for House Martins and the majority of the trade was done in static nets while Moxey was flicking for the Swifts which were much more thin on the ground. Swallows were around in good numbers throughout the day whereas the Swifts seemed to peak early and late on. The advantage of the extra help was clear as all birds were fully processed, of particular significance with the Swifts, with so few being ringed in the UK each year. I found myself stooped at the boot of my car for the majority of the day, taking breaks to empty the nets. Moxey struck a more bedraggled pose, emptying nets and flicking where possible.

Swift - 51 (2)
Swallow - 35 (1)
House Martin - 157 (9)
Starling - 1
Magpie - 1
TOTAL: 245 (12)

Hopefully the weather will remain dull and damp and we'll be able to get out and do some more! We've now ringed over 300 Swifts for 2010, to do 500 would be awesome!

Tuesday, 18 May 2010


Last year, all of the Swifts ringed on Merseyside were ringed by SWLRG, primarily by Moxey, but with help from myself when I could. Our totals ringed usually make up 25-30% of the UK total of Swifts and so it is a significant project for us.

My oldest memories of ringing (skipping out on footy practice - I still think I could have played for Everton!) were at the Homer Green sewage farm, where Moxey, The Mothership and others ringed epic numbers of Swifts and House Martins. For as long as I can remember, they have been a favourite bird of my Dad's and some of that has rubbed off on me.

So far this year, we've had a good start:

Swift - 163 (14)
Swallow - 8
House Martin - 30
Starling - 15 (1)

Brook Vale

I picked up a new site at Brook Vale this spring/summer, courtesy of the Sefton Council Ranger Service. The site used to be ringed by the ringing group up until about five years ago and since there has been little work done there.

So far, three ringing sessions have provided the following:

Reed Warbler - 5 (1 control)
Sedge Warbler - 2
Bullfinch - 2
Whitethroat - 2
Blackcap - 4
Robin - 2
Chiffchaff - 2

Here are a selection of photos of some of those:

Sedge Warbler

Reed Warbler

Male Bullfinch

Female Bullfinch

Male Whitethroat

We will continue to ring early morning sessions at Brook Vale until late July (when I go to Portugal) and resume at the end of August/beginning of September to take advantage of the autumn passage.