Friday, 31 December 2010

End of 2010!

Well another year has passed by & it’s that time of the year again, to update my annual ringing totals. I realised at the start of 2010 that I would be travelling around quite a bit, & not at home at key times such as the breeding season. So with this in mind I wasn’t expecting to ring anywhere near the same number as in 2009. However after grabbing every opportunity to get out ringing this year, I’m delighted to say that I’ve had my best year yet, ringing 2830 birds of 57 species.

Not only have I had my best year, but also the ringing group have(Loghan Hurst RG) with annual record breaking totals. We’ll blog about these totals in the New Year, when we’ve collated all the ringing data together.

KB totals 2010

Species New (2010) Total (All)
Barn Owl 9 12
Blackbird 57 145
Black H Gull 201 253
Blue Tit 365 678
Brambling 13 13
Bullfinch 65 84
Canada Goose 136 336
Chaffinch 133 164
Coal Tit 15 16
Collard Dove 3 7
Common Gull 2 2
Coot 634 959
Dunnock 19 57
Gadwall 1 1
Goldcrest 9 10
Goldfinch 224 461
Goosander 1 5
Grasshopper Warbler 1 1
Greenfinch 85 140
Greylag 1 14
Great Tit 221 392
Great S Woodpecker 4 5
House Sparrow 5 13
Jackdaw 2 6
Jay 2 5
Lapwing 5 6
Lesser BB Gull 1 2
Lesser Redpoll 5 5
Long Eared Owl 3 3
Long Tailed Tit 49 74
Magpie 2 6
Mallard 2 61
Meadow Pipit 1 12
Mistle Thrush 1 9
Moorhen 1 6
Mute Swan 88 350
Nuthatch 9 17
Red C Pochard 1 1
Redwing 1 2
Reed Bunting 22 42
Reed Warbler 58 64
Robin 33 66
Sand Martin 3 3
Sedge Warbler 3 8
Song Thrush 25 45
Starling 60 364
Stock Dove 3 10
Swallow 23 91
Tawny Owl 4 9
Treecreeper 1 2
Tree Sparrow 91 176
Tufted Duck 67 89
Waxwing 36 36
Whitethroat 5 11
Willow Warbler 12 13
Wood Pigeon 6 26
Wren 6 26
57 Species 2830 5449

With special thanks to Steve Christmas for encouragement & keeping me supplied with rings for another year! Ciaran Hatsell, Craig Brookes & Chris Bridge for their hard work in assisting me. To everyone who has allowed me to join in with their ringing work in the UK but also in Iceland, France, Germany & Romania. And finally to all the landowners who have granted me permission to ring on their land…….

So that’s 2010 – here’s to 2011, were it starts all over again tomorrow!!

Happy New Year!!

Luxury Ringing!

Several weeks ago Kieran Foster of Merseyside RG, had an e-mail from a member of the public, who wanted some Redpoll ringing in his garden. So Kieran passed on their details to us, as we where the nearest ringers to their Worsley garden.


Today we were invited along to Michael & Mary’s garden to place a single 30ft net up in front of their feeders and before too long the Redpoll arrived & the nets started to fill.


In total 84 birds were caught & processed of a good variety of species, including 37 Lesser Redpoll.


Species Total
Lesser Redpoll 37
Goldfinch 2
Greenfinch 1
Blue Tit 18
Coal Tit 4
Great Tit 3
Long T Tit 7
Blackcap 1
Robin 2
Starling 2
House Sparrow 4
Blackbird 2
Collard Dove 1
Watching the nets from the comfort & warmth of Michael & Mary’s house, being fuelled by several cups of tea & coffee – was a perfect way to end the year…
Thanks to both Michael & Mary for having us along. And to Kieran for putting us in touch…

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Coot to Cornwall!

I received an e-mail from Nigel Climpson this afternoon, with a sighting of a cr-ringed Coot - which makes it our furthest mover since the start of the project!!

Pink,BTO,Green,Green was ringed at Southport Marine Lake, just 26 days ago by me & Ciaran. It was sighted on 28/12/2010 by Nigel at Par Beach Pool in Cornwall – 390km from Southport

It would be nice to think that this bird is now in-line for crossing to France!

Many thanks to Nigel for the sighting & the above photo.

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Ringing Round-up

-A quick update on our recent ringing activities…..

We’ve had a few days off from ringing during the festive period, but with only a few days left of the year – we’re now back out catching & ringing.

Over the last few days we’ve made trips to Lake Windermere, Southport Marine Lake & Crompton Lodges – mainly ringing wildfowl and gulls.

Black H Arnhem

At Windermere we caught 14 Black Headed Gull & 1 control (above). Plus a new species to be ringed at Windermere – a Common Gull!



Meanwhile today at Southport the thaw seems to have set in (at last!) and we continued with the good run of Coots, catching 30 new birds & recapping 2. Whilst Ciaran concentrated on catching Tufted Duck (9 caught), I also caught & darvic’d 10 Mute Swan for the North West Swan Study.


Finally - during two days at Crompton Lodges we caught 31 new Coot & recapped 5, which had colour rings fitted…


Thanks to Ciaran, Craig, Sam Bayley & Callum Hatsell for their help during the last few days…..

Monday, 20 December 2010

More Waxwings!


OK – this post is just an excuse to get more photos of these wonderful little birds onto the blog!!

6 more birds caught today, along with 6 Blackbird (+2 recap) and 1 Starling.



P1080713 Ciaran with his favourite bird!

Also caught today – 14 Coot, 19 Black Headed Gull & 1 Common Gull.


Sunday, 19 December 2010

Well they arrived!

I awoke this morning to the sound of Waxwings outside of my bedroom window. So jumping up & pulling back my curtains I was amazed to see around 100 Waxwings outside! I quickly grabbed some apples & made a makeshift apple tree in the garden & to my surprise around 20 birds came to feed on them!


Throughout the remainder of the day, the birds commuted between ours & a neighbours garden, with the birds coming down just low enough to catch – we placed a net up & caught 12 birds this afternoon, along with 9 Blackbirds.

With there being so many in the Greater Manchester area, we’ve been expecting them for a while here in Atherton & at long last they arrived!




Unfortunately we did find three dead birds, which were results of window strikes. Recovery rates for Waxwings are quite high mainly due to these collisions, so it’s well worth checking any dead Waxwings for rings!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Gull Grabbing.


I was dropping Ciaran off in Preston this afternoon, so we decided we’d take a quick look at the docks for Black Headed Gull rings. When we arrived we were greeted by lots of gulls which were eager to have a feed before they went off to roost. It was obvious the gulls were going to be easy to catch, so we decided to catch a few…. after 1hr 30mins of catching/ringing, a few turned into 41 new birds & 1 control – that of a Norwegian ringed bird!

For any ring readers at Preston Docks, or birders who are going to see the Iceland Gull, who maybe interested in giving ring reading a go. All the rings start with – EX541**. All the juvs were ringed on the left leg, the reason for this is because there is a Danish ringed juvy, ringed on the right leg & it'll allow Ciaran to easily pick this bird out, and hopefully read the full ring code.


Sunday, 12 December 2010

First interchange between studies!

Several weeks back Chris Batty sighted a cr-ringed Coot at Preston Docks & reported it to me. However it seemed the bird was missing a colour ring & therefore we couldn’t pin this down as an individual. So mentioning this to Ciaran, who lives nearby – he was sent on a challenge to try & read it’s BTO ring, easier said than done at Preston Docks!!

However after much bread throwing this morning, Ciaran managed to persuade the bird out onto the ice & after several attempts he managed to read the metal ring – GC59952, not a metal ring we recognised!

A quick e-mail to our ‘‘Coot Colleagues’’ Craig Ralston & Steve Huddleston in Yorkshire, who also cr-ring Coot, revealed that it was one of their birds! The first interchange between the two studies & hopefully not the last!!


Blue – North Duffield, Red – Preston = 117km

GC59952 had been ringed on 23/10/2008 on autumn passage as a juv female at North Duffield Carrs in the Lower Derwent Valley NNR, south east of York!

Many thanks to Chris for the original sighting, to Ciaran for putting the effort in (well done!) and to Craig & Steve for the ringing information.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Coot Movements.

Red-White White

Photo taken by Steve Seal

Now we’ve loaded all the latest Coot data into IPMR, we can now update the blog on some of the recent & interesting movements, that were noted during the cold snap.

GC87855 – 4M 29/10/09 – Hill Top Walkden, Grt Manchester.

30/10/09 - Hill Top Walkden

09/01/10 – Crompton Lodges, 2km NNE.

30/08/10 – Hill Top, Walkden

03/12/10 – Stanley Park, Blackpool – 51km NW

GR05424 – 6 11/01/2010 – Southport, Merseyside.

10/10/10 – Netherley, Merseyside – 19km S

12/10/10 – Stanley Park, Blackpool – 19km N

03/12/10 – Southport Marine Lake – 326 days.

GR05471 – 6M 12/01/2010 – Southport, Merseyside.

21/01/10 – Birstall, Leicester – 167km 9 days

04/02/10 – Birstall, Leicester.

03/12/10 – Southport Marine Lake – 325 days.

GR05851 – 6M 07/02/10 – Redesmere, Cheshire.

20/03/10 – Redesmere – 41 days.

30/11/10 – Sefton Park, Liverpool, 50km WNW 296 days.

GR25171 – 4 12/11/2010 – Pennington Flash, Manchester

01/12/10 – Seaforth, Merseyside – 32km W 19 days.

GR25179 – 4 16/11/2010 – Ainsdale Lake, Nr Southport.

29/11/2010 – Doffcocker, Manchester – 37km E 13 days.


Photo taken by Tony Disley.

GR25043 – 4 30/11/2010 – Southport, Merseyside.

02/12/10 – WWT Martin Mere – 10km ESE 2 days.

GR25056 – 4 30/11/2010 – Southport, Merseyside

11/12/10 – Preston Docks – 21km ENE 11days

GR25270 – 4 03/12/2010 – Southport, Merseyside

08/12/10 – Seaforth, Merseyside – 20km S 5 days

Many thanks to everyone who has reported colour ringed Coot over the last few weeks….

Monday, 6 December 2010

Brambling find Shakerley!

P1080678 Having a little rest from Coot (actually waiting for more colour rings to arrive!) so I thought I’d spend my lunch hour at the Shakerley feeding station today. Definitely worthwhile as in my first net round, 5 Brambling were sitting patiently awaiting extraction!



After an hour of the net being up, I decided to take it down to let the birds carry on feeding. 50 birds caught of which 30 were new & 20 recaps. Surprisingly no new tits ringed today!

Species New Recap
Brambling 8  
Goldfinch 9 2
Greenfinch 7  
Chaffinch 3 1
Bullfinch 1 6
Reed Bunting 2  
Robin   3
Blue Tit   6
Great Tit   1
Dunnock   1
Totals 30


Also observed - 10 Waxwings flying low over Shakerley!

Friday, 3 December 2010

500th Coot of the year!


Well we certainly didn’t think that this would be todays’ blog title, so soon after blogging about ringing our 300th bird! But with catching conditions nigh on perfect this week, along with stacks full of enthusiasm, we’ve managed to ring over 200 new Coot during the last 5 days. Of the 235, 106 of these were newly ringed today at Southport Marine Lake.


With the cold snap continuing, it was important for us to keep handling of the birds to a minimum. Therefore birds were caught, colour ringed, wing measured & released, as quickly as possible to ensure no unnecessary stress was placed upon the birds.


Most of the catching this week was carried at Southport Marine Lake (209 new birds), with a small amount of catching being done in Greater Manchester (15 new birds). Southport is especially good for catching Coot, when the weather is cold, since it holds a large wintering population but twinned with incoming birds from local lakes & ponds when they freeze over.


When not ringing the birds, our time & attention was devoted to reading colour combinations of previously ringed birds. This proved worthwhile since we’ve recorded several returning birds and/or cold weather movements, which we’ll blog about soon.

Other birds caught whilst out ringing this week were 5 Black Headed Gull & 3 controls, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Canada geese & 1 Gadwall.


Since the start of the project in October 2009, over 750 Coot have been individually colour ringed at a number of sites, across the North West. The use of colour rings, has certainly emphasised the need to place additional marks, other than a standard metal ring on this species. The sightings of these colour marked birds have certainly increased the annual Coot recovery rate for 2010.

Subsequently we are beginning to understand more about the movements of this understudied & often overlooked species.

With thanks to – all ringers involved, especially Ciaran, John Gramauskas for loaning us his colour rings, when we were short! Len Golby & Steve Irwin at Southport Marine Lake for their kind assistance. And to Craig Brookes for driving 90 miles to collect BTO rings when we were running low!!

and finally thanks to Tesco for their value bread!


Sunday, 28 November 2010

300th Coot of the year!

We reached a milestone today whilst out ringing Coots at Westport Lake in Staffordshire. We ringed our 300th Coot of the year, which means 2010 has been our best Coot year, totals wise since our group started ringing this species. Our previous highest total stood at 211 in 2008.

This now means that we’ve colour ringed over 550 individual birds since we started the project in October 2009.


Anyhow today along with Chris, Craig & Ciaran we planned on catching Coots at Redesmere Lake, however when we arrived at 8am the whole lake was frozen over! So we headed off to Westport Lake in Stoke-on-Trent, where we caught 16 Coot, 9 Canada Geese (+2 controls) and 2 Black Headed Gulls which were expertly caught by Ciaran (below)


Most people don’t like the cold weather, but us Coot catchers love it! Since the birds are more easily catchable when it’s cold. Certainly we’ll be making the most of the cold snap over the next week or so.

On returning home we quickly put a net up in the garden, before returning inside to warm ourselves up! In total we caught 9 Goldfinch, 1 Chaffinch & 2 Blue Tits.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Two new species for Shakerley!


A visit to the Shakerley feeding station was on the cards for this morning, however watching the garden feeders whilst having breakfast, we almost abandoned the planned visit to Shakerley – as the garden was alive with finches!

We reluctantly left the warmth of our house & headed to a very cold (–3!) Shakerley. We were glad we made this decision as the first net round produced a new species for the Shakerley ringing list, in the form of a Redwing. Although we see lots of Redwing at the site, we never seem to catch any – we must put more effort in catching this species at Shakerley.

The above photo is for our Icelandic friend, Sverrir Thorstensen – who has in the last month, caught over 700 Redwings in his garden in Akureryi, along with Iceland’s first ringed Barred Warbler, lots of Redpolls, Wrens & Goldcrests. Although not quite 700, we were happy with just the one!!


Also caught this morning was another new species for the ringing list, this time another Goldcrest! Along with the Redwing & Goldcrest – 31 new birds were caught, with 16 recaps.

Species New Recap
Bullfinch 5 1
Chaffinch 5 1
Goldfinch 3  
Greenfinch 6  
Blue Tit 4 8
Great Tit 2 3
Willow Tit   2
Dunnock 1 1
Goldcrest 1  
House Sparrow 1  
Robin 2  
Redwing 1  
Totals 31 16


Thursday, 25 November 2010

Controlled Crest!


Having neglected the Atherton Woods feeding station for over a week now, we decided to leave the comfort of our beds and pay an early morning visit to the wintry woods. 

Having set the nets and organised our ringing station, we gave it 15 minutes before the first net round produced the star bird of the day: a Goldcrest which was already carrying a ring! The bird (DCV398) was processed and released leaving us happy having had our first control for the woods.


During the mornings session Tits dominated the catch, however it was encouraging to see that Chaffinch have started to use the feeding station; with seven caught. A summary of birds caught this morning is as follows:


Species New Recap / Control
Great Tit 13 19
Blue Tit 15 9
Coal Tit 2 2
Long T Tit 1  
Goldcrest 4 1 control
Chaffinch 7  
Robin 2 1
Dunnock 1  
Nuthatch   1
Total 45 33


Ciaran Hatsell, BBC news, Atherton woods.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Garden Ringing!

The garden hasn’t seen a mist net for several months now & so after cutting back the vegetation and arranging a new feeding station, I was eager to give it a go! I decided as I was working from home on Monday morning, then I could work & keep an eye on the net at the same time. So 06:30 Monday morning saw Me in my PJs & wellies, putting a net up at the bottom of the garden – in a totally new position, never tried before! Although most of the birds caught, were tits – it was nice to get 16 Goldfinch & a House Sparrow! In the end I finished on 51 birds. 41 being newly ringed & 10 recaps.


As I was home for the day, I was on school picking up duties & on returning back from collecting my Niece & Nephew – Kye was insisting that I opened the net again to catch him a bird!


I’ve been up & down the country this week, so not really had much time to do more ringing. The only other outing we’ve had was on Tuesday morning at Southport Marine Lake – aiming to catch Mute Swan cygnets for the North West Swan Study Group. Along with Ciaran & Laura Dalton we managed to catch 20 cygnets, 1 Canada Goose, 1 Coot & 1 Moorhen.

Of the cygnets 19 were new & 1 controlled. A cygnet ringed 56km away from Southport in Septemeber 2010 at Hest Bank, Lancaster.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Recent Recoveries.

Some interesting recoveries (below) from our recent batch sent from the BTO….


Black Headed Gull

EG06392 – 1 – 20/06/1999 – Upper Barden Reservoir, N Yorkshire

Found dead at Killington Reservoir, Cumbria - 23/06/2010 – 56km.

Mute Swan

ZY1398 – 5F – 18/09/2009 – Spike Island, Widnes, Halton.

Sighted at Aber Ogwen, Bangor, N Wales – 25/07/2010 – 91km.

ZY1380 – 3F – 08/09/2009 – Mossley Hill, Liverpool

Sighted at Glasson Dock, Lancashire – 12/07/2010 – 70km.

ZY1404 – 1F – 31/07/2009 – Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire.

Sighted at Pennington Flash, Grt Manchester – 05/09/2010 – 98km.


L190649 – 1 – 06/06/2010 – Worsley, Grt Manchester

Caught at Woolston Eyes, Warrington – 14/08/2010 – 15km


Some information on the Black Headed Gull rings, that I read this week.

S6439 – 1 – 15/06/2008 – Radzu Pond, Jekabpills, LATVIA.

Ring read at Crompton Lodge, Grt Manchester – 11/11/2010, 1518km

EL78572 – 1 – 12/06/2005 – Cerny Wick, Gloucestershire

Ring read at Pennington Flash, Grt Manchester – 12/11/2010, 207km


Onto today's ringing. I thought the weather was supposed to be bad for today, so I didn’t plan any ringing. However I was up at 7am & when peering out of the window – it seemed pretty decent, so I got up and went to Atherton Woods.

A single 40 foot net up at the feeding station caught – 65 birds of which 51 were new & 14 recaps.


I then packed up and spent an hour at Shakerley, before the rain stopped play & I called it a day. 23 birds caught – 19 new & 4 recaps.

In total 88 birds caught today – 70 new & 18 recaps.

Great Tit - 26 / 7
Blue Tit - 3 / 8
Coal Tit - 2 / 1
Long T Tit - 14
Goldcrest - 3
Treecreeper - 1
Nuthatch- 1 / 1
Robin - 1 / 1
Jay - 1
Chaffinch - 9
Goldfinch - 5
Greenfinch - 3
Bullfinch - 1


Friday, 12 November 2010

Returning Coot.


Taken by Peter Alker.

Steve had a batch of recoveries through from the BTO today, some nice ones which I’ll post over the weekend. One of these was of an interesting Coot movement.

The bird (GR05848) had been colour ringed at Redesmere Lake in Cheshire in January 2010 & had been sighted at the Lake up until March 2010. It then disappeared, until we started re-sighting it again at Redesmere from August onwards. We now know that GR05848 was 107km away from Redesmere – presumably breeding (?) at Great Pool in Westwood in Worcester!

A nice recovery but also a nice returning movement to the wintering site!

Today I met Peter Alker at Pennington Flash to catch & colour ring some Coot (9 new birds caught). I arrived 30 mins early to scan through the Black Headed Gulls for any rings. I saw four ringed birds & managed to read three of them (the other will hopefully be read over the weekend!). One Lithuanian ring, one BTO (EL75176) and a darvicd ringed bird – White 2D72, which I managed to take a dodgy photo of, with my phone through my bins!


Thursday, 11 November 2010

Coots come to find us!


Photographed at Westport Lake on 01/11/2010 by Dave Kelsall

I’ve just spent my dinner hour up at Crompton Lodges (In Bolton, Grt Manchester), on the look out for colour ringed Coot. There weren’t many Coot around & only a handful of ringed birds.

However I did read – Yellow, BTO, Black, Mauve – which stuck in my mind as being recently ringed. Taking into account that I’ve not done any ringing at Crompton for several weeks, I knew this was an incoming bird!

My suspicions were confirmed when I got back to the office, as this bird was ringed at Westport Lake, Stoke-on-Trent – just 11 days ago!

GR25166 – 4 – 31/10/2010 – Westport Lake (Staffordshire)

Sighted – 11/11/2010 – Crompton Lodges (Grt Manchester) - 60km

photo - Copy

''I've seen you before!''

Dodgy phone photo by Me at Crompton Lodges!

This is now the 2nd movement between the two sites. For details of the other movement – see here

A Latvian ringed Black Headed Gull (S6439) was also read at Crompton this afternoon.