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…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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Saturday 1st August

I was finally able to attend another CES session over at Wraysbury. A team of 5 turned out for CES 9. A rather calm session wind wise considering this year’s continued windy weather conditions. In addition to the CES nets we added a further 5 x 60′ nets. The total processed for the day was 131 of which 67 were CES.

Saturday 8th August 

Wraysbury again for CES 10. A cool start with a gentle breeze early on giving way to sunny cloudless skies by mid morning with a light gusting breeze. A total of 114 birds processed with 94 new and 20 retraps.

Sunday 9th August

A busy day was planned for what turned out to be a very pleasant day weather wise, the sun showing for most of the day after a fairly chilly start.

Paul and myself were over at Woolley Firs first thing, a second attempt to catch a juvenile Firecrest and prove they are breeding in Berkshire. We set 2 40’s in the wood and played Firecrest at one net and Blackcap at the other, we didn’t have to wait long for our first bird, on our first check round.

Friday 21st August

A trip to Rutland Water for the Birdfair 2015 accompanied by Carl.

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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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Saturday the 25th saw a team of 8 turn out for a 0645 start.

The weather was as predicted; cloudy at first with little wind giving way to clear skies and a breeze around 1030.

64 birds processed in total with 58 new;  21 Meadow pipit, 21 Goldcrest, 7 Long-tailed tit, 5 Lesser Redpoll (first of the autumn) 2 Wren and singles of Blue tit, Coal tit, Reed Bunting and Jay. We’re still waiting for the larger flocks of Redpoll to arrive and hopefully we’ll see some Redwing & Fieldfare too, apparently there are already c1 million Redwing in the country!

We left site about 1230.

No bird pictures from the session but here’s one of a very nice egg & bacon sandwich I had on the way home, purchased from a nice little cafe I spotted last time.

2014-10-25 12.59.18

 

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A couple of visits to Chobham Common so far this month, Thursday 2nd & Sunday 5th.

The Thursday session saw 5 of us turn out for a 06:15 start, a cloudless morning started of with a slight chill in the air but the sun was soon bathing us in warmth. We initially set 2 singles along a tree line just off the open area of heather and a 3 net box for Meadow pipit adding a single panel net for Dartford warbler later on. All but the Dartford net caught and at the end of the session we’d processed an excellent 74 birds with 42 Meadow pipits making up the lions share.

 

Meadow pipit

Meadow pipit

 

 

Having had such a productive day on Thursday we decided to go again on Sunday, a similar day weather wise and a similar net set-up with one extra net for Dartford warbler which paid dividend with a juvenile male ringed. 50 birds processed with Meadow pipits leading the way with 18 followed closely by 15 Reed Buntings, 7 of which were caught in one net at the same time which is rare for us and this gave us the opportunity to do some ageing and and sexing reed bunting comparisons in the hand and take some good photographs of heads, wings and tails, the results of which can be found here  Ageing and sexing Reed Bunting

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Dartford warbler

Dartford warbler

Chobham Common

Chobham Common

So a very respectable 124 birds processed over the 2 sessions.

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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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

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It’s my favorite time of the year on the Common, the autumnal colours are stunning, especially at sun rise on a clear and crisp autumn morning.

We start to visit the Common more regularly in the autumn after all the CES’ have finished for the season, we do visit during the summer but that’s mostly in the evenings when we are trying to catch Nightjar.

Thursday 24th October.

A clear chilly morning; a rather large team of 13 ringers turning out. There was a little concern that there might not be enough birds caught to satisfy such a large team but our fears were laid to rest within a few minutes of set-up with Redpoll leading the way. It turned out to be very productive morning  with a total of 110 birds processed.

Species                        new    r/t    total
Meadow pipit                25      2       27
Wren                             1                 1
Dartford warbler            5                 5
Blue tit                          1                 1
Greenfinch                  14                14
Goldfinch                       1                 1
Common redpoll            4                 4
Lesser redpoll             48        1      49
Reed bunting               5         1       6
Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll

 
Saturday 2nd November.

Clear skies early on but the wind picked up around 10am which caused an early set-down. This session proved to be a little less productive than the previous with only 16 birds in total processed, I did however get to ring my first Dartford Warbler, the last bird of the day to be caught, which was fantastic.

Species                     new    r/t    total            
Meadow pipit               2       1      3
Dartford warbler          1               1
Goldcrest                     1               1
Long-tailed tit              3       2      5
Coal tit                        1               1
Blue tit                        3              3
Lesser redpoll              1              1 
Reed bunting              1              1
 
 
Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warbler

Saturday 16th November.
 
Another crisp morning and another army of ringers, 14 in total. 
 
Species                     new     r/t   total            
Meadow pipit               1       1      2
Wren                          2               2
Robin                          2               2
Dartford warbler         2      1       3
Goldcrest                    1              1
Long-tailed tit            3       2      5
Coal tit                               1       1
Blue tit                     1                1
Lesser redpol          27      2     29
Common redpoll        2              2
Reed bunting            3              3
 
 
 

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