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Posts Tagged ‘Kestrel’

The long planned ringing demonstration at BBOWT Woolley Firs took place on Saturday 13th February, however the weather let us down again and we were not able to open any nets due to the persistent rain.

We’d planned to net the fields beforehand, 0600, hoping for some winter thrushes, the weather on arrival was dry with a borderline wind speed, but we were able to use the hedgerow to protect the nets and any birds we caught. We only managed to catch 8 birds in total, 6 Redwing and 2 Song thrush before the rain started.

Although still raining we decide to set up a 30′ net next to the feeders, the net was furled (rolled up and unable to catch any birds) but ready and in place should the rain stop. Alas the rain didn’t stop. At 0900 Carl slipped off to do a pre-planned radio interview for BBC Radio Berkshire. By 0930 the activity centre was buzzing with people, unable to show any birds being ringed Carl decided to go and explain what ringing was all about. It was obvious the rain was set for the day so at 1030 we packed up and headed home.

On Sunday I was over on LBF farm, in the wood repairing three tit boxes which had been damaged by the squirrels last summer, all three had the entrance hole enlarged. All are now set for this year’s breeding season, 11 tit boxes, a Treecreeper wedge, Kestrel box and a Tawny owl box.

2016-02-14 12.59.12 2016-02-14 12.32.00 2016-02-14 12.22.26

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The weather continues to be dominated by the wind with storms rolling in off the Atlantic on a regular basis, this in turn is dominating my ringing activities with very few opportunities to get out this month. My only session held in the garden on the 21st, with 15 birds processed including a small flock of 10 Long-tailed tits.

The 30th saw me over in the counties of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire with Carl, Paul and Sarah continuing our work as members of the Bisham Barn Owl Group (BBOG) checking & cleaning out nest boxes ready for this years breeding. Owls will often use boxes outside of the breeding season to roost in, especially when the weather turns colder, so there’s always the possibility of us catching birds during these rounds, alas we didn’t find any BO’s this time.

Following on from the last two seasons of monitoring, ringing and nest recording, this year we are starting a RAS scheme (Retrapping Adults for Survival) one of only 4 such schemes being carried out in the UK this year. More information on RAS here.

We also have Tawny Owl, Little Owl & Kestrel boxes in place and we caught this Little Owl roosting in one.

Little Owl

Little Owl

Little Owl

Little Owl

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy New Year, here’s to a nature filled 12 months!

The blog posts drifted off towards the end of last year mostly due to a lack of ringing activity, the relentless windy weather the main cause and frustration.

After a promising early catch of Lesser Redpoll in October/early November, 165 caught in just 3 sessions on Chobham Common before the aforementioned wind took hold and put paid to my ringing for the remainder of the year.

Redpoll001

Lesser Redpoll – Chobham Common

 

I was able to get out over the Christmas break to put up a Kestrel & Tawny owl box over on the farm (thanks to my mate Dave for holding the ladder!).

Kestrel Box

Kestrel Box

Kestrel Box

Kestrel Box

Tawny Box

Tawny Box

Tawny Box

Tawny Box

 

Some equipment maintenance was also carried out, re-soldering of speaker wires, net repairs etc. all ready for this year’s ringing activities (should the wind finally die down!)

 

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The first week of June, 3rd & 7th, saw Paul and myself out and about in Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire checking our owl boxes on behalf of Bisham Barn Owl Group

Barn owl pulli

Barn owl pulli

A week on the Isle of May 13th – 20th

Having missed out previously, it’s a very popular location for photographers, artists and ringers alike, and with limited space, a team of us, Carl, Paul, Marie, Tonia, Stuart and myself managed to secure a week on the ‘May’ in June.

The Isle of May boasts Scotland’s oldest Bird Observatory, which was founded in 1934, and is home to hundreds of thousands of seabirds, including Puffins, Guillemots, Razorbills, Shags, Cormorants and terns, it is also a stop-off point for many migrating species.

Transfer out to the island was courtesy of Roy, aboard the RIB “Osprey”, an interesting and rather exciting 25 minute journey due to the wind and a choppy swell which had us all thankful for the supplied waterproofs!
Osprey

 

The island has two accommodation area’s; the main block which is home throughout the season to the reserve staff and volunteers who monitor the vast and varied wildlife and the Lowlight Lighthouse which is where visiting ringers, birdwatchers and artists stay, duration is limited to one week.

 

Lowlight - IoM

Lowlight – IoM

The accommodation is well-appointed considering it’s an old lighthouse stuck on a rock, a recently added block consisting of 3 bedrooms, toilet and a solar-powered shower have really added ‘stars’ and a level of comfort previously missing, it’s not quite living off-grid but pretty close!

The six of us quickly settled in to island life and found a routine that suited all.

As always with ringing the weather plays a major factor in activities and that was certainly the case on the ‘May’, and as you’d expect the wind played its part and at times hampered our mist net deployment, however, there was plenty of other ringing to be had which the wind didn’t affect.

Throughout the week we were involved in various ringing activities; we helped catch and ring Puffins, part of one of the schemes being carried out on the island

Puffin

Puffin

we were able to ring Shags, Razorbills and Guillemots

 

 

Shag

Shag

 

Razorbill

Razorbill

 

Guillemots

Guillemots

along with some pulli ringing which included, Oystercatchers, Herring & Lesser black-backed gulls.

Gull egg hatching

Gull egg hatching

 

Oystercatcher pulli

Oystercatcher pulli

 

Gull pulli

Gull pulli

 

Gull pulli

Gull pulli

We visited the 4 heligoland traps a couple of times a day throughout the week

Heligoland trap

IoM scenic

Heligoland trap

and deployed mist nets when we could, these turned up a few species between them including; Rock pipits, Nightingale, Starling, Chiffchaff, Robin, Willow warbler, Pied wagtail, Dunnock, Songthrush, Blackcap, Lesser whitethroat, Garden warbler and Wren.

A fantastic week came to an end far to quickly and after a big clean up of the accommodation we packed and headed off to the boat, the trip back to the mainland was rather less wet and we were able to take in final views off the island as we departed, before we knew it we were back on the mainland and packing the car ready for the journey home.

I will return…

Photo gallery –

IoM scenic

IoM scenic

 

Guano cliff

Guano cliff

 

Fulmar

Fulmar

 

Lighthouse by Robert Stevenson

Lighthouse by Robert Stevenson

 

Razorbill

Razorbill

 

IoM scenic

IoM scenic

 

Puffin on the wing

Puffin on the wing

 

DSC00600

Midnight on the ‘May’

 

IoM scenic

IoM scenic

 

Monday 22nd June

Back to one of our Kestrel boxes to ring a couple of pulli.

Kestrel pulli

Kestrel pulli

 

Friday 26th June

A very enjoyable chat by Mark Avery at the Surrey bird club.

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It’s still hard to believe that half the farm I do my ringing and birding on is now the location for England’s First World War Centenary Wood . Today was the first planting day, the first 10,000 trees of the target 400,000.

The weather couldn’t have been better with sunny blue sky’s throughout the day, this probably helped with the turn- out.

My friend Dave a I ventured over at 1030 hrs armed with our spades and enthusiasm,  we then spent the next 2.5 hours digging small holes, planting saplings, staking and fixing protective sheaths, we managed to plant over 100 trees between us before backache finally took hold and forced us to stop.

It was amazing to see the transformation of the field in such a short period of time. We left at 1445 hrs happy with our contribution. There were still people arriving as we left and it will be interesting to see just how many trees were planted on the day.

A leisurely walk back enabled me to do a little spotting, there were plenty of thrushes about including Redwing, Fieldfare, Blackbirds and Song thrush, I also spotted a Kestrel and Rook engaged in a dogfight and pushed a few Skylark up whilst crossing Tadworth Meadow.

LBF Tree planting 01

LBF Tree planting

LBF Tree planting 02

LBF Tree planting

LBF Tree planting 03

LBF Tree planting

 

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/first-world-war/locations/england/


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Having spotted c70 Redwing last week at Woolley Firs it was decided that we should have a go at catching some this weekend. This did mean a really early start as we needed to get the nets in place before first light. With a 0600 hrs meet time agreed and a 40 mile journey to site I set my alarm for 0420, I also factored in time to thaw the car as a -3°c frost had been forecast for Epsom Downs!

A small team of 4 arrived on site at the designated time and we set about setting up, splitting into 2 teams we soon had the nets in place.

The first round was key to our Redwing success and we weren’t disappointed with 9 caught. After we’d processed the initial catch we added some double panel nets in the hope of catching Skylark, a few had been spotted by the staff during the week.  Subsequent rounds throughout the morning didn’t yield any more Redwing, or Skylark for that matter but we did catch a good number of other thrushes, 11 Blackbird (a session record for the site beating the previous high by some margin) and a single Song thrush. Other species on the day; 4 Great tit, 3 Blue tit, a Robin, a flock of c20 Meadow pipits were seen in a tree near by late on, so with a quick change of bird call on the players we managed to encourage 6 to the nets, however the c20 Yellowhammer we also spotted couldn’t be tempted!

We ringed our last bird at 1230 hrs, bringing the total to 35, and proceeded to set down. With another successful session in the bag we retired to the local for a well earned meal and a pint.

Other birds of note spotted; Red Kite, Buzzard, Kestrel (sat atop one of the net poles!)

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wf 027

Meadow pipit

Redwing

Redwing

 

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Sunday 16th February

A small team of four met at 0700 hrs at Woolley Firs. We set a 20′, 30′ and 2 x 40′ nets up next to the 3 sets of feeders which have been kept topped up this winter by the WF staff, although there’s been more than ample amounts of natural food available this winter which means less of a need to visit the feeders.

31 birds processed of 8 species, this was my first session out since my ‘C’ permit upgrade conformation and I personally processed 11 birds.

Chaffinch x 2, Goldfinch x 2, Wren x 1, Great tit x 3, Blue tit x 3

We also took the opportunity to GPS all the boxes again with my new Garmin Etrex 20; this was the first time out using the unit on a large number of boxes and it worked really well, quick , accurate and easy to input data.

 

Sunday 2nd March

Another session at Woolley Firs this morning with Carl and Paul, meeting at 0645 hrs. We set a 20′, 30′ and a single 40′ at the feeders with 2 additional 40’s just off the track leading to the fields, Carl had spotted Pied wagtail in the area yesterday. I was tasked with looking after these nets as the track is popular with dog walkers. I did see a few Pied Wags but I didn’t see any in the nets! A 50 strong flock of Redwing were seen atop the trees near to the nets but again nothing came down.

The weather was fair with broken cloud cover for most of the morning turning slightly cloudier later, light winds to start with picking up towards lunchtime.

24 birds processed in total. My contribution:-

Blue tit  x 4,  Dunnock x 1

After we’d set down and packed away had one other task to carry out, apparently Kestrel boxes have a better chance of occupation if they have a few inches of soil in them, so we’ve increased our chances now!

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