Posts Tagged ‘robin’

…on the 17th April. A clear bright morning with a light WNW breeze.

A modest 31 birds processed with a 14/17 new/retrap split and a good number of species caught including:

  • 8 Blackcap
  • 2 Willow warbler
  • 1  Whitethroat
  • 1 Lesser Whitethroat
  • 1 Sedge warbler
  • 1 Chiffchaff
  • 3 Song thrush
  • 6 Dunnock
  • 5 Long-tailed tit
  • 2 Robin
  • 1 Blue tit


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With this year’s CES (C4) done and dusted we now turn our attentions to other areas of Wraysbury and other sites in general.

Sunday 6th September

Still at Wraysbury but in a different area to our CES, C6, a total of 45 birds were caught with a 34 new/11 retrap split.

Saturday 19th September

Wraysbury C6 again, slightly better numbers than the previous week with a total of 71 birds caught and a 54 new/17 retrap split. The first Meadow pipits of the autumn for the site being the highlight of the session, 10 new birds caught in total and all this hatched this year.

Saturday 26th September

Another visit to Wraysbury C6. Numbers down from previous visit with a 51 new/6 retrap split. Still plenty of Blackcaps on site with 24 caught, all hatched this year and a few more Meadow pipits also all young birds.

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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.




I left early at 1000.

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with another early visit to Woolley Firs looking to catch more Redwing, a 0600 hrs start saw 4 of us in the fields setting up in the dark. The weather forecasters haven’t exactly been on top form of recent so we took a slight chance that the wind wouldn’t be as forecast. However it was and this had a big impact on our catch with only 10 birds caught, but at least we did catch a 5 Redwing! Also caught; Yellowhammer, Jay, Great tit, Blue tit and Long-tailed tit. However, I missed most of the action though due to the quick onset of a headache shortly after set-up which had me in the car popping pills (headache remedy pills!).  I was in two minds whether to go home but thought it best to let my pounding head subside first. I didn’t really want to leave because we had plans to ring Tawny and Barn owls later in the day.

Yellowhammer carefully being ringed

Yellowhammer carefully being ringed






The wind continued to cause issue, most of all making the nets very visible to the birds, the decision was made to set-down around 1045 hrs after a couple of rounds without birds. I was able to help with take down as my headache was finally easing, which was a relief as this meant I would be ok to ring the owls.

We left site and headed for a cafe for a spot to eat before heading over to Bisham wood and the owls, a very tasty full English was consumed which helped banish the remnant of the headache.

Over the past two years a few members of our ringing group have been taking part in the reinstating of an owl project in some of the woods in and around Berkshire. Initially we had to establish the locations of the boxes and gps them, once this was done we had to clear the boxes out, removing multiple layers of nests or old squirrel dreys, then remove the boxes we considered to be surplus to requirements and relocate in new locations. Many of the boxes have been in place for 10 years so there was also plenty of repairs to do.

So our first port of call for the owls was Bisham Wood,  a couple of Tawny owls had been seen roosting in one of the boxes the previous week and we had high hopes they would still be using the same box, it turned out that they had moved residence but fortunately only along to the next box. We carefully retrieved the Owls and checked to see if they had been ringed before, they both hadn’t so we ringed them. A thorough examination of the wing feathers had us determine they were both adult bird with both having 3 generations of feathers, a wing length was recorded and a weight taken and a few photographs of the open wing for the records before we released them back into the wood.

Tawny Owl

Tawny Owl

The second location, Little Marlow, where we hoped to ring a couple of Barn owls, was just a short 10 minute trip from Bisham wood, a private family house with a Barn owl box in a tree in the garden. A camera was installed in this box so we where able to confirm the owls where in residence with a quick phone call before setting off. This box had had a breeding pair in the summer who had managed to fledge 5 from a brood of 6, which is a very good outcome for Barn owls, the young birds had all been ringed before they’d fledged. Now the box was being used as a roost possibly by the breeding pair. Again we carefully retrieved the birds and ringed them. These two did indeed turn out to be an adult male and female.

Barn Owl

Barn Owls

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

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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!)


wf 027

Meadow pipit




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Woolley Firs again this week with ringing and bird box cleaning planned.

A damp and misty start meant leaving slightly earlier to allow for the slower journey to site.  A five strong team arrived on site for the 0715hrs start.

A quieter session than of late with 35 birds processed, we did put a percentage of this down to the empty feeders which usually are kept topped up. At 1030hrs myself and Roj started the task of checking and removing this years nest material from the 40 plus bird boxes we have in the nearby wood, the task took the best part of 2 hours with all but a couple completed. The next visit we’ll be moving some of the less productive boxes and repairing a few that need a little attention.

Birds spotted, c70 Redwing, 3 Mistle thrush, 11 Lapwing and 3 Skylark, Red Kite.

We left at 1345hrs and, pub, pint, chips, home, followed.

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…for this season.


Although wading through the thick mud of the reed beds at GMP can be very hard work (the water levels have been very low this year) the last visit of the year is always tinged with a little sadness knowing it will be 6 months before we again don our waders and step out into the reeds.

Having completed the CES last visit we were able to set more nets in different locations this time around, our main area of concentration this week was the NW corner. The catch for the session was 35 with a 24/11 new/retrap split, highlights of the day, a Cetti’s warbler first ringed April 2011 and a first year Grey Wagtail.

Grey Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Unfortunately for Carl having replaced one of his 60′ nets a few weeks ago after a Canada goose went through it, twice! the same thing happened again, another costly hole.

The last visit of the year also means gathering up all the poles, ties and potter traps for removal from site for repairs and safe keeping.

It’s been a most enjoyable season on the pond and the customary after session pint and chips at The Beehive will be missed. All that’s left to do now is crunch the numbers and see what sort of year it’s been statistically.

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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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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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