Posts Tagged ‘jay’

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.




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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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.

2014-04-10 19.05.45

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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…get to ring any birds on Saturday,  when we arrived on the Common at 0700hrs the wind was far too strong for mist nets so it was decided to go and recce another part of the Common for future sessions. We found some good locations but didn’t see many birds about!

I was home by 093o hrs so decided to go out over the farm for a walk and survey, although the sun was out and it was rather pleasant the wind also strong here and I think this contributed to a low bird count. I did see  a lone Fieldfare the first one I’ve seen on the farm this autumn.

  1. Woopi (Wood Pigeon) x c200
  2. Goldf (Goldfinch) x 12
  3. Lotti (Long Tailed Tit) x 10
  4. Rook x c250
  5. Magpi (Magpie) x 6
  6. Chaff (Chaffinch) x 2
  7. Grswo (Great Spotted Woodpecker) x 2
  8. Buzza (Buzzard) x 2
  9. Kestr (Kestrel) x 1
  10. Bluti (Blue Tit) x 3
  11. Greti (Great Tit) x 1
  12. Blabi (Blackbird) x 1
  13. Field (Fieldfare) x 1
  14. Pheas (Pheasant) x 4
  15. Skyla (Skylark) x c60
  16. Starl (Starling) c 7
  17. Nutha (Nuthatch) x 2
  18. Jay x 1
  19. Robin x 2



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…started a little later this week, a 0615 met in the car park giving everybody an extra 15 minutes in bed!

The team consisted of 5 ‘A’ ringers, 3 of which being trainers, 2 trainee’s and 2 soon to be trainee’s. It was rather misty when we arrived and stayed that way until the sun finally burnt it off, this did have an effect on the birds initially so we had a slow start once we had set up but once the mist went the birds came out in numbers. There was a steady catch throughout the session and by the end we had ringed 0ver 100 birds, the highlight of the morning was a Nightingale http://www.rspb.org.uk/wildlife/birdguide/name/n/nightingale/index.aspx

The session produced 3 new species for me, a Goldcrest, Chaffinch and Treecreeper, my full list:

  1. Chiff (Chiffchaff) x 7
  2. Bluti (Blue Tit) x 2
  3. Blaca (Blackcap) x 6
  4. Jay x 1
  5. Goldc (Goldcrest) x 1 species first
  6. Dunno (Dunnock) x 1
  7. Chaff (Chaffinch) x1 species first
  8. Meapi (Meadow Pipit) x 2
  9. Greti (Great Tit) x 2
  10. Treec (Treecreeper) x1 species first
  11. Robin x 2
  12. Goldf (Goldfinch) x 2




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…a walk over the farm to try to photograph the Little Owl that I know frequents the area, I spent over 2 hours in my hide and didn’t see it once, I did however see a Jay at close quarters, it landed just in front of me on an old tree stump no more than 2m away I froze and watched it for 20 seconds or so then slowly tried to refocus my camera but it saw the movement and flew off, so no photograph! Jays are beautiful birds with a very colourful plumage.

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…nearly stopped the ringing session this morning before we started but held off in the end! I was able to ring 4 birds today, Blackbird (♂), Song Thrush (♀), Green Woodpecker (♂) and a Jay (♀), the Jay was a retrap first ringed in Sept. 2006

The Jay and Green Woodpecker are the largest birds I’ve ringed so far and they certainly were harder to handle with much stronger beaks to nip you with and larger claws with which to grab your fingers, tightly!

Already looking forward to the next session!

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…this beautiful Jay on the feeding station tucking into the peanuts, taking two at a time to a nearby tree to eat before returning for more. The Jay is a very timid bird, this one has been building up courage for a week or so!

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