Sunday, 18 February 2018

Three Amigos

Andy has been working with Forestry Commission in the National Forest for some time now. This has included general conservation work but also bird ringing. Two of the fields at one site are superb in the winter for Snipe and related species, so it was time to organize a mist net session to catch and ring the visiting waders.

Waders generally have superb eyesight, so there is little point trying to catch in fixed nets during daylight. The team therefore assembled yesterday afternoon with a view to setting nets and then catching just after dusk. Once we were happy the conditions were right, we set off to encourage any birds on the ground in to the nets and quickly extracted three species. From left to right above (which is also smallest to largest): Jack Snipe, Snipe and Woodcock. Remarkably this is the second time we have managed the same feat at this particular site.

Update 19th Feb. I also posted the above image on Twitter; it has already received over 36,000 views! The power of social media; just wish I'd written something profound, perhaps about the plight of waders and habitat loss.

Thursday, 12 October 2017

'Stockamsel' Blackbirds

We ringed two apparent continental Blackbirds this morning and the word 'stockamsel' came to mind (see below).

Not only is it a bit of nostalgia but from Clare College, Cambridge some light on the subject. Evidently the expression 'stockamsel' was first coined by Johann Andreas Naumann he of (naumanni) Lesser Kestrel and Naumann'sThrush fame. It relates to young males resembling well marked females. This is a dark billed first year male with white fringed breast feathers creating a clearly visible 'scaly' effect. Ageing as a first year would be easy anyway - note the brown 'juvenile' feathers in the wing and the odd one in the body (e.g. just behind the ear coverts). 

We also ringed quite a few newly arrived Goldcrests, a female Blackcap and this rather lovely Treecreeper (note the long stiff pointy tail which they use like a third limb pushed against the tree as they work the bark). 

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Gold and Emerald

An interesting control (that's a bird ringed by us but found by someone else) a Goldfinch ringed by Chris at Stanton Under BardonLeicestershire 17-Dec-2015 and re-trapped by a fellow ringer on the Emerald Isle last week 23-Feb-2017 Coolcush, near DungannonTyrone. Details ..... Duration: 434 days Distance: 409 km Direction: 300deg (WNW) 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Nice end to the day

Although a sunny day and very cold, the wind speed was ideal for a short session at the Sewerage Works, there were plenty of  birds about including several Chiffchaff, and wagtails a plenty feeding on the flies around the site. The short session ended with 28 birds with Goldcrest the most numerous on 10, Dunnock 4, Wren 6, Blackbird, Redwing, Pied Wagtail and just before packing up a Green Woodpecker was in the bottom shelf, a nice end to the session and the first to be captured for the site.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Watermead/Uganda Link Demo.

 An enjoyable day was spent on the 11th September supporting Dale and Charles with their Watermead CP / Uganda link.
 My old Africa map just helped to put some scale to the epic journeys that some of our African migrants make.
 Thanks to Jim Graham for putting together the display to highlight our conservation work with some of these summer visitors.
 Just like a mini Bird Fair.
 A Giraffe was a surprise sighting!
 Thanks to Joy and Mick for putting up the Gazebo.
Thanks also to Chris and Carol for their help on the day.

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Limeys at Cropston.

Thanks to the efforts of Jim Graham and Steve Lister we have so far recorded five returning adults that were colour ringed in 2014. These are U01, U08, U23, U26 and U36. Steve also managed to read two metal rings of birds we rung in 2013, before we started colour ringing.
We have also recorded eight of this years juveniles, which are codes U70, U71, U73, U74, U80,U82, U84, and U86.
It would be great to receive records from other sites, so please check for Lime colour rings on any Common Terns.
Observations to Andy Smith at

Saturday, 16 July 2016

Limeys Return.

 Jim Graham alerted me to the Common Terns that are now regularly feeding at Cropston Reservoir.
 The terns rest on the railings and this allows the colour rings to be read.
 It was great to hear that Jim had seen two of the terns that we colour ringed in 2014. He reported seeing U01, amazingly the first Comte that we colour ringed at WCP on 11/06/2014, and U36 rung on the 23/06/2014.

 Today I managed to record another returning adult, U23
 and also three of this years juveniles, U73, U74 and U80.

 There was also this adult, with 2 plain yellow rings on the left leg. I am awaiting information on what scheme this bird belongs to.
We would welcome any information on our Limeys from Cropston or any locations. Email the details to