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.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Aborted Morning Session!

Me & Chris Bridge were up at 6am & at the Shakerley feeding for 06:30am, however by 9am - we'd only caught 4 birds! So we decided to pack up & whilst Chris headed to Hollingworth Lake to twitch the Pied Billed Grebe, I caught up on some paper work. We decided to meet back at Shakerley around 12:30 & place a single 40 foot net up at the feeders, this time doing much better & catching 64 birds - 47 new & 17 recaps.

I have noticed that I do seem to catch more birds in the afternoon at Shakerley, not that I'm complaining - it means I can have longer in bed from now on! :-)

Blue Tit - 14 / 4
Great Tit - 4 / 6
Long Tailed Tit - 1 / 2
Reed Bunting - 2
Bullfinch - 5
Chaffinch - 5
Goldfinch - 7 / 5
Greenfinch - 8
Lesser Redpoll - 1

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Wader & Waxwing Weekend.

This weekend Craig & I joined our mate Chris, along with his ringing group (SCAN) for some wader ringing along the north Wales coast. A totally new experience for me & Craig as we've never really been involved in wader ringing.

Friday evening was spent mist netting at Llanfairfechan catching 104 new birds & 13 recap or controls.

Snipe - 1
Knot - 2
Curlew - 6
Oystercatcher - 20
Dunlin - 42
Redshank - 28
Lapwing - 4
Starling - 1

Saturday morning we set a cannon net near Bangor harbour, catching 66 Redshank, which consisted of new birds & a number of retraps or controls.

And this morning we set a cannon net near Aber Ogwen for Redshank. 250 were on the pool, however they were spooked by something and unfortunately didn't return in numbers, so we packed up & called it a weekend.

Back in Bangor (where we were staying with Chris) Zac Hinchcliffe alerted us to a flock of around 40 Waxwings. Chris made arrangements to meet Kelvin back in Bangor & soon we had a net up and caught a single bird.

** I've since heard that Kelvin & Chris have managed to catch more Waxwings in Bangor (along with a few Robin & Blackbird!) Hopefully the ringing of these birds will help in understanding the movements of this attractive winter visitor in the UK.**
Thanks to the following people for making us feel welcome & for allowing us to be involved - Chris Bridge, Steve Dodd, Richard de Feu, Kelvin Jones and David Coker.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Coot & Tufted Duck catching.


Today along with Craig & Ciaran we decided to have a trip to Redesmere Lake & Westport Lake for a spot of Coot catching.

19 Coot ringed, along with 2 Tufted Duck (+ 3 retraps & 1 control = FP84730) and 5 Canada geese.

Two Black Headed Gull controls at Westport Lake – 3656241 & 3686085 (from Holland) which we’ve previously read.

To round the day off, we had a quick visit to Shakerley catching – Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue & Great Tit and Goldfinch.