Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Have you ringed this Avocet?

Over the last two years, many birders visiting RSPB Marshside & WWT Martin Mere reserves have reported the above bird to me. However I've been unable to tie this bird with a ringer or a ringing project.

The bird has two red rings, one on each leg, both rings have A5 in white lettering and a metal ring on the right leg.

If you've ringed this bird, or know anyone who has or have the ringing information - I'd be grateful if you could get in touch - Kane.Brides(AT)

Thanks to Paul Gaulton for the above photos.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Back where it all began

The 12/04/2003 was my first outing with Steve, when I first became interested in training to ring birds. Steve invited me along to Botany Bay Woods in Greater Manchester, which holds the biggest heronry in the county.

However being the age of 14 at the time, I often found it hard to close the 'J' rings and often sent the birds along with the pliers in a bag - back up to the nest, so that Steve (at the top of the tree) could finish off the ringing!

Although the trip included scrambling on all fours in dense vegetation to reach the ''epicentre'' of the heronry, being puked on by the young herons and bearing the smell within the heronry (yes it's bad!) I've never looked back since, and always enjoy a trip into the heronry.

Tonight we concentrated more on censusing the heronry rather than ringing. We counted around 80 active nests and 8 pulli were ringed. Thanks to Steve for doing the climbing today!
If anyone is interested in reading more about this colony, our study and the dispersal results from the heronry, they can do so here - Heron Paper - this paper will also appear in Ringers & Migration later this year.

Friday, 23 April 2010

A stroll in the cemetery.

I've always found cemeteries to be good nest finding locations and so this evening around tea-time (I often find it's quiet around this time!) me and the dog went for a walk. Obviously we took rings and it wasn't long before we were ringing our first pulli.

8 Blackbird pulli ringed - (broods - 1, 2, 2, 3)
2 Song Thrush pulli - (brood of 2)
3 Wood Pigeon - (brood of 1,2)
Nearly all of my Blackbird nests this year contain some addled eggs and I've yet to find a brood of four (from 19 nests).

Sadly there was a chick that escaped the pliers tonight - this Tawny Owl chick was trying it's best to hide in a tree, closely being watched by mother. I know where they nested but access was very difficult (in a church spire!)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Nesting update from Grt Manchester.

Well things seem to be in full swing here in Greater Manchester on the breeding front and not just with the birds! My new baby niece, Marine-Grace was hatched in the wee early hours of yesterday morning, being the latest addition to our family. It won't be long until she's out in the field with notebook in one hand and ringing pliers in the other!

Anyhow back onto the avian activity. Lots of nests on the go, most with eggs, a few have hatched with one or two nests ready to be laid up. A few of my Blackbird nests have managed to survive the incubating stage but have soon been predated shortly after hatching. There's nothing more disheartening when you grab your ringing gear, and aim for a nest that you know contains ringable pulli - only to see some of the nesting material sticking up from the base of the nest, then placing your hand in to confirm that they've been had by something.

Blackbirds, Song & Mistle Thursh are at various stages at the moment - most with eggs and a small number with young (around 2-3 days old).

Woodpigeon (below) & Collard Dove, a number of nests have young especially the latter species, although some broods have been predated. I've ringed a brood of Woodpigeon (on 18th) that were at the FM (feather medium) stage, another nest has been successful and fledged their young.

Tawny Owl & Barn Owl - Tawny incubating three eggs in a nest box (should be hatching any day now) and a brood have already fledged (2 young). Barn Owl on eggs, which is great news as this is a new site in Greater Manchester, where they've never been recorded breeding before! Blue Tits are laying up now and most Great Tit nests are ready to have eggs laid, one or two of the latter species are still building in the boxes in Atherton Woods.

I'm currently recording two warbler nests, a Chiffchaff that had 4 eggs on a check yesterday and Blackcaps currently building. Chaffinch (above) & Greenfinch - two nests of each all awaiting to complete their clutches. We've not yet got round to heading into the local heronry yet, but hopefully we will in the next week or two. And finally the 'cardboard' family of Robins are doing rather well!

If you're interested in participating in the BTO's Nest Record Scheme you can get more information here

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Recent recoveries.

A batch of recoveries came through to Steve, including a few interesting ones (below)

Red Line - Grey Heron ringed in Botany Bay Woods, Greater Manchester on 19/04/2009 as a pullus was found dead (in the snow) on the River Wyre, Thornton on 16/01/2010 - 59km.

Yellow Line - Mute Swan ringed at Galgate near Lancaster as a cygnet on 22/08/2009 sighted in Atcham, Shrewsbury on 09/01/2010 - 147km.

Orange Line - Coot ringed at Southport Marine Lake on 12/01/2010 as a 5F - sighted by ringer Ian Court at Skipton Sewage Works, North Yorkshire on 09/04/2010 - 73km.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Pulli season starts!

Tonight I was watching an adult Robin collecting food and so I decided to follow it back to its nest to see whether I could muster up some pulli to ring. Indeed I followed him back and watched him as he went into feed = bingo 5 pulli to set the ball rolling for the year.

This pair decided to ignore the many open front nest boxes on site, the ivy covered trees and decided to place their brood underneath a piece of cardboard!

Last week I had a session at Shakerley. I was going to end the feeding there for the spring but decided to keep a few feeders going, for a few more weeks. 30 birds caught, 21 new & 9 recaps.

Bullfinch - 5 (1)
Goldfinch - 6 (1)
Greenfinch - 1 (2)
Chaffinch - 2
Reed Bunting - 4
Robin - 2 (1)
Great tit - 2 (1)
Dunnock - (1)
Elsewhere I've got lots of nests on the go and have been out checking nest boxes in my local woods tonight. Tawny Owl on 3 eggs (above), Stock Dove (x7) on 2 eggs and tits just about completing their nests.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Coot Recovery.

Thanks to Dr Richard Thomas for e-mailing me tonight with a sighting of a colour ringed Coot. GC87895 was ringed at Crompton Lodges in Bolton, Grt Manchester on 26/11/2009 as a juvenile. On 03/04/2010 this bird was seen by Richard at Hurworth Burn Reservoir in County Durham - 142km NNE
Nice to see some of our colour ringed Coot off doing something interesting!
A little quiet on the ringing front at the moment, busy nest finding. Found a brood of Tawny Owl today and should have a brood of Mistle Thrush to ring this week.