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Posts Tagged ‘blackbird’

…enabling us to venture out and put some nets up.

Woolley Firs was the destination Saturday morning, ringing and bird box relocation planned. A foggy journey along the M25 had me taking extra care with visibility badly compromised.

By the time I arrived nets were already set up in the fields, some full height nets along the hedge line and some single panels in the field for Skylarks. The first couple of hours proved to be quite slow with only 10 birds caught; a single Chaffinch, 3 Blue tits, 2 Blackbirds, a Goldcrest and 3 Yellowhammer

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Male Yellowhammer

Alas the Skylark nets didn’t attract any birds.  Around 10am we decided to move our focus from the fields to the feeders located near the trust buildings, this proved very productive with a further 57 birds processed, 45 Blue tits, 9 Great tit, 2 Coal tits and a single Chaffinch. One of the retrap Blue tits was one of our chicks ringed last summer.

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With a steady flow of birds finding our nets we carried on ringing until 2pm at which point we set down and prepared for the second part of the day’s activities, relocating 4 tit boxes, the boxes in question had produced hardly any young during the previous few seasons, either undesirable location or predation. We moved them to an area recently cleared by the trust.

We left site about 3pm satisfied with the days efforts. The journey home was delay free, probably down to the Rugby at Twickenham.

 

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Boxing Day

Having checked the weather for the Christmas period I noted that boxing day was the only day the wind was predicted to be calm and the promise of a frost. I decided to try a session over on Tadworth Meadows.

I enlisted the help of my mate Dave and set a 0700 hrs start. We set a line of single panels, 45’/60’/60 for the Skylark and we put a 30′ 4 panel net across the hedge that dissects Tadworth Meadow.

The Skylarks were not really flying about the field, probably conserving energy, and only took to flight if flushed. All was not lost with a single bird eventually ending up in the net. The 30′ was a little more productive with 8 birds caught; 5 x Blue tit, 2 x Great tit and a single Blackbird.

We set down at 1000 hrs and headed home for a cuppa.

New Years Eve

I was intending to have another go for the Skylark, but having had a chat with Carl was persuaded to go over to Woolley Firs and try for Yellowhammer and Redwing.

We arrived at 0700 hrs to frost covered fields and a light freezing fog. We split into 2 teams of 2 to set-up.

It was a quiet morning bird wise with just 19 birds processed, we did however catch a Yellowhammer and Redwing.

Redwing

Redwing

 

I left early at 1000.

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My first 3 solo  sessions of garden ringing took place on the 10th, 13th & 21st with a total of 20 bird processed, the usual suspects as far as species; Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin and Goldcrest.

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Mist net – first session in the garden

I have to say, although I’ve been ringing  now for 0ver 3 years I did find these initial sessions on my own quite taxing, not having my trainer within earshot of a ‘help’ for the first time was quite a different feeling. I understand fully now why the initial first sessions need to be in your garden!

Initially at the beginning of April I had 3 boxes with activity; a Great tit sitting in one of the chambers of my Sparrow box, a Wren building a nest in one of the roosting boxes I have up and a Blue tit building a nest in a Blue tit box, by the end of April things had changed somewhat with the Blue tit and Wren both abandoning their nesting attempts, a neighbours cat probably the reason for this as I’d caught it stalking both boxes. The Great tit box the only one showing any signs of life with 7 chicks present,  I estimated them to be 5-6 days old and planned to ring them within the following few days.

Great tit

Female Great tit (ringed) entering box

This is mum entering the nest box, note the ring on the right leg, It’s great to have two generation of the same family already ringed, will be interesting to see if I can catch them again over time.

I also carried out my first visit to check on my other bird boxes in the wood down on the farm, I have 5 boxes in place at the moment and all boxes showed signs of occupation with a feather lined cup visible in 4 and the other, a cup without feathers. Further visits planned for early May.

LS 01 - Lined and ready for laying

LS 01 – Lined and ready for laying

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Its turning out to be a right old busy year so far work wise, I seem to be spending more and more time in front of a monitor doing work and not doing fun. As a consequence the blog as suffered with a lack of post.

So in between the last post and this a few things have happened in my world, most importantly as far as I’m concerned is my ‘C’ permit upgrade, after 3 years, countless early mornings and over 1500 birds processed I’m now qualified to ring on my own.

Sessions since last post:

Woolley Firs 08/03/14

  • Bluti (Blue tit) 2
  • Greti (Great tit) 2
  • Grefi (Greenfinch) 2
  • Blabi (Blackbird) 1
  • Meapi (Meadow pipit) 3
  • Robin 1
  • Golfi (Goldfinch) 5
  • Skyla (Skylark) 1
  • Redwi (Redwing) 1

GMP 23/03/14

  • Bluti (Blue tit) 2
  • Chiff (Chiffchaff) 2
  • Sonth (Song Thrush) 1
  • Blabi (Blackbird) 1
  • Lotti (Long-tailed Tit) 1
  • Robin 1
  • Blaca (Blackcap) 1

Woolley Firs 29/03/14

  • Bluti (Blue tit) 1
  • Yelha (Yellowhammer) 1 – a new bird for me.

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02/03/13 Woolley Firs

An early 0600 meet for this one with Yellowhammer in mind, a flock of c70 plus a possible sighting of a Corn Bunting had been reported by the staff at WF. We split into 2 teams and set up. I had to leave early at 1000hrs for a planned visit to Leicester to see my parents.

My contribution

Blabi (Blackbird) 2
Dunno (Dunnock) 1
Robin 1

09/03/13 Wolley Firs

Another early start 0630hrs again with Yellowhammer the target species but alas the same result as last week with them proving to be just as elusive. Another overcast morning with just one short light shower around 1000hrs. We moved the nets to the feeders about 110ohrs for a couple of hours there. The catch proved to be quite low with just 14 bird processed.

Just the one for me this session

Chaff (Chaffinch) 1

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Saturday 19th January

Woolley Firs again for a snow-covered session.  Just Carl and myself  for this one, arriving on site for 0800 we quickly set up 3 nets, a 20ft, 30ft and 40ft around the feeders, the hope was that the cold snowy weather would bring the birds to the feeders.

A reasonable catch of 14 birds was recorded, mostly re-traps with just 3 new. I processed all 14.

Bluti (Blue tit) x 7
Coati (Coal tit) x 1
Greti (Great tit) x 3
Nutha (Nuthatch) x 2
Robin x 1

Sunday 20th January

I decided to set up my hide in the garden and take advantage of the concentration of birds due to the snowy conditions and all the seed and fruit I’d put out.

Plenty of the usual suspects, Blue, Great Long-tailed and Coal tit, Robins, Dunnocks, Wren, Chaffinch, at least 8 Blackbirds and a real treat a couple of Fieldfare, a winter migrant from Northern Europe, this is indicative of the tough conditions the birds are facing at this time.

Chaffinch

Chaffinch

Fieldfare 04

Fieldfare

Fieldfare 03

Fieldfare

Fieldfare 01

Fieldfare

Fieldfare 02

Fieldfare

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Chobham Common Sunday 6th January

A team had been successful on the common on Saturday 5th trying to catch Dartford Warbler with a 6M ringed, whilst there flocks of finches had been seen including Redpoll and Goldfinch along with a flock of Reed Bunting so a planned trip to Woolley Firs on Sunday was cancelled in favour of a return to Chobham.

It was a foggy start to the morning with heavy moisture in the air. We split into 2 groups and set up our nets in 2 locations. After a few rounds without any birds it was decided to set one more net up in an area where 2 Stonechat had been spotted.

The fog continued throughout the morning and didn’t clear until midday, there were birds flying about most of the morning but not to the same levels as the previous day, the weather having a major effect on movement. It was turning out to be quite a disappointing morning after many net rounds without any birds. At 1130 it was decided to do a final round and then take-down, we’d checked one set of nets and still no birds, while the second set of nets was being checked I went over to check the Stonechat net and was happy to see 2 birds, a Wren and a Stonechat, at least this was going to make all the effort worth while. On my return to base my happy level was elevated even more, another 25 birds had flown into the second set of nets!

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Stonechat

My processed list for the day:

Goldc (Goldcrest)             1
Lesre (Lesser Redpoll)   3
Reebu (Reed Bunting)   2

 

Woolley Firs Saturday 12th January

The weather forecast wasn’t reporting ideal conditions for Saturday but we had bird box maintenance and GPS’ing to do if the weather did indeed turn out to be wet. As it happened very little in the way of rain turned up and we had no interruptions to our ringing.

Just 3 of us for this session saw us met at 0730. Just 2 30ft nets were put up near the feeders, we still had the weather reports in mind and didn’t want to over do the nets.

It was a slow to start numbers wise but the quality was not to bad, the first bird of the day was a Siskin followed by a Blackbird, Coal tit and Blue tit. A Mistle Thrush was spotted atop a tree so it was decided to try to lure it to the net by playing a tape lure, we had little success to begin with but about 10am our patience paid off and we managed to catch it. A double first for me with both an extraction and a ringing process.

We were reduced to just 2 at 1030 having caught just 2 more birds, Coal tit and Blue tit, we decided to call it a day at 1130 and headed off to the nets to take down, this however was put on hold with the discovery of 13 Long tailed tits in our second net.

So by the end of the session we had a total of 22 birds processed.

Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush

My processed list for the day:

Blabi (Blackbird)              1
Bluti (Blue tit)                 2
Coati (Coal tit)               1
Lotti (Long-tailed Tit)     12
Misth (Mistle Thrush)     1

We managed a little box maintenance, moving a tit box from high up in one tree to a more accessible position in another and GPSing a few others.

We retired to the pub for a well-earned meal and a pint.

Great start to the year!

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