Saturday, 17 December 2011

Redpoll Recovery

Just received a few recoveries from the BTO the other day, and among them was one for a Lesser Redpoll. Out of all the birds that Andy caught at Thornton Y473221 was retrapped at National Park de Groote Peel, in the Netherlands, only 508km and 48 days later. What a good result.

Monday, 14 November 2011

1000 UP.

Ringing at our Charnwood Forest site this weekend saw us ring our 1000th bird of the year there, and that honour went to one of the Redwing that come to roost there. Our previous best total was 724 that we only reached last year! Our totals for the last few weeks include 87 Chaffinch, 52 Blue Tit, 92 Goldcrest, 30 Redwing, 31 Blackbird and a late Blackcap.
We also had 4 redpoll with one being an adult male Common and this female Blackbird with a deformed bill. This time of the year the forest has a wonderful variety of fungi including a lot of Fly Agaric

and this little, bright yellow thing which I think is a Parrot Wax Cap. Beautiful.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Sorry Chris!

My first ringing at WCP since September was aimmed at clearing the rides and perhaps catching some very late Reed or Sedge Warblers. Well you don't know unless you try! Once the rides were clear and it was light enough to see,( I got there at 7am, and it was still dark!) I put Reed and Sedge Warbler on the tape lures and bingo, I caught two CETWA.

Both were males and one was an adult as I was able to see that it did not have tongue spots.

Ken Goodrich was with me at the time and he was able to confirm that while these two birds were in the net, there were two other males calling.

I also caught 6 LESRE out of a meagre total of 13 birds.

Common Redpoll at Thornton,at last.

One of three Common Redpoll caught with LESRE at Thornton today.

The COMRE had a much greyer colouration and the GC were much paler and not buff. Below I have included a LESRE for comparison.

The COMRE is on the left and the LESRE on the right. Note the buff tinge to the chest which contrasts with the white belly, whereas the COMRE has a white chest aswell as belly. Both these were first year birds. I also think that the head structure seems different. The LESRE seems more rounded.

At first I was concerned that perhaps I was looking at juv. LESRE, but I eventually got my eye in. I can see how it could be difficult with just one bird for comparison.

The bird below is very pale but it had a streaked rump and therefore is a COMRE and not an Arctic, so sorry Dave, but I shall keep trying!

My total for Redpoll at Thornton this autumn is now 131.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Goldcrest Tails.

Male Goldcrest

Pointed tail of first year bird and below the rounded tail of an adult. So many of the crests we do at this time of year are first year birds that it is nice to see an obvious adult.

Redpoll Envy!

An adult male Lesser Redpoll, one of 116 that I have caught at Thornton this Autumn.

Note the generally brown colour of the mantle and the buff tipped greater coverts.

A smart Common Redpoll, caught with two Lesser Redpoll by Nigel and Chris at Charnwood Lodge recently. The following photos show the more extensive white feathers in the mantle and the white rump. The greater coverts are also tipped white rather than buff as in Lesre.

The white extends from the mantle to the rump.

An obviously white rump.

The bird has a much paler appearance and none of the116 Lesser Redpoll ( Have I mentioned this before? I'm not bitter, I prefer LESRE actually, anything with the name Common, well it just sounds abit ordinary, apart from Rosefinch!!) that I have caught were any where near that pale.

There is hardly any streaking on the under tail coverts.

I had a catch of 33 Lesser Redpoll today. Out of the 116 I have caught this autumn only 14 have been adults.

Monday, 10 October 2011

More Redpolls.

A pleasing net full of Lesser Redpoll at Thornton.

A total of 27 were caught bringing the autumn total to 39 so far. All were Lessers and most were young birds, with only four adults caught.

A smart adult male with a photo of its rounded tail below. Adult birds also have fresher primaries than juveniles.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Chaffinch are back

It may be only 15 Chaffinch that we caught on Saturday but it shows that they are finding their way back to our roost site among the Rhodedendrons. We started the afternoon as usual, knowing that the feeders would provide us with a few of the usual tit species to keep us going until the roost birds started to come in. What we didn't expect was to find on our first net round, were 3 nets (away from the feeders) holding a large flock of tits, 'crests and creepers, this would continue all afternoon. Surprisingly the feeder nets didn't see much action at all so they were taken down. We heard plenty of Siskin and redpoll but no time to catch them, and 6 Crossbill flew over. As for the roost a few Blackbird and Song Thrush but no Redwing , yet!
The day ended on 127 new and 15 retraps.
Wren 4 (1)
Dunnock 2
Robin 2
Blackbird 6 (1)
Song Thrush 2
Blackcap 2
Chiffchaff 1
Goldcrest 25
Long-tailed Tit 21 (2)
Coal Tit 4 (2)
Blue Tit 20 (4)
Great Tit 15 (2)
Nuthatch 2 (2)
Treecreeper 5 (1)
Chaffinch 15
Siskin 1

Monday, 3 October 2011

Redpolls at Thornton.

I managed to catch 12 Lesser Redpolls at Thornton this weekend. These birds will probably move south eastwards towards the low countries and France.

I also caught this adult Collared dove. They normally get out and I have only rung 2 previously at Thornton. They also seemed to be a species in decline.

Meadow Pipits at Charnwood Lodge.

Nigel and Chris have been having some success catching Meadow pipits as they pass through.

They are not easy to age as the greater coverts show considerable variation. Adults should have one generation of feathers at this time of year.

This bottom photo shows the right hand bird with little variation in the G.C. which are buff , while the left hand bird has paler G.C. Is the left hand bird a first year and the right, an adult?

We chickened out and 2 it!

Saturday, 24 September 2011

September totals

Having set up our feeding station a few weeks ago its now time to start using it, a couple of sessions has resulted in the following totals.
Wren 1, Robin 1 (2), Blackbird 1., Blackcap 2, Chiffchaff 2, Goldcrest 14 (1), Marsh Tit (2),
Coal Tit 17 (5), Blue Tit 15 (4), Great Tit 10 (11) one being from 2007, Nuthatch 5 (2), Treecreeper 1, Chaffinch 2, Greenfinch 1, Bullfinch 1 and Reed Bunting 1, making 83 new and 27 retraps. We also have a small breeding population of Meadow Pipits on the site and some chicks have been ringed this year, so with all the Mipits on and around the site at the moment we are hoping we might retrap them, but so far among the 43 that we have had, no luck as yet.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Lesser Whitethroat

A smart juvenile Lesser Whitethroat caught at Thornton.

The grey eye and lack of white on the 5th tail feather(next to the outer) makes it one of this summers young.

This bird will most likely migrate south eastwards down through Italy or the Balkans and over winter south of the Sahara in northeast and central Africa. Common Whitethroats from Britain take a much more westerly route and end up in West Africa.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Last of the Treesparrows

Over the last couple of weeks, among other things, we managed to ring our last brood of 4 Treesparrow pulli. This has took our grand total to 101 ringed from 140 eggs laid and provided 25 nest records for the BTO Scheme, 3 of the boxes had a birds laying for a successful 4th time . More Swallows have been added bringing the total to 114 inc 63 pulli so far. Other species include 10 Blackcap (84 for the year), another 9 Whitethroat (78 for the year) 2 3J Marsh Tit, 2 3J Linnet, Redstart, Chiffchaff, Wheatear, Willow Warbler, 3 Meadow Pipit first of the Autumn, 2 3J Goldcrest first of the Autumn and a 5 year old Blackbird.

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Whitethroat year

Another session at the sewerage works was sadly cut short by a brisk wind that came up. Before wind stopped play we were able to add yet more Whitethroats. This site alone has already produced 62 new individuals this year.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Ringing at Church Farm.

Reed Warbler. A ringing tick for me at Thornton and this juvenile possible evidence of breeding.

Plenty of Willow warblers were feeding in the recent plantings, especially the Willow.

A male Blackcap was out numbered by the 7 Whitethroats that we caught. The first capture of the day was this adult male Great Spotted Woodpecker. In total we had 24 birds of 11 species. We only caught one Sand Martin. This brings our total to 30 for the year at this site.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Warblers, warblers everywhere!

With just one 18m and a few single panel mist nets in scrub by Wigston sewerage works we ringed 70 birds in just 3 hours this morning. Most were Whitethroat with a secondry supporting cast of Blackcap, Willow/Chiff and the odd Lesser Whitethroat (above). The conditions were perfect, overcast and still following overnight drizzle. With more time and more nets we would easily have cleared 100 birds in the same time. We'll try that in the week ahead.

Last weekend we did a session at Watermead adding to the Reed Warbler totals. The reed bed was (unsurprisingly) silent. The clear impression was that the local breeders have just got on with it and many have already dispersed.

Monday, 18 July 2011


Since our last blog we have been busy honest, although nothing too special to report, so to update:- Another visit to the tern colony is planned as the eggs on the last visit have now hatched and the chicks visible on the rafts. Nest checking/finding continues with another 40 Tree Sparrow pulli ringed, these are now on their third broods and 28 eggs still left to hatch any day now, if all goes well the end total will be 102 pulli ringed from 9 active boxes. Whitethroat, Dunnock and Meadow Pipit pulli have also been ringed and successful outcome codes recorded for them. As the weather has been too windy most of the time we have not been able to do much mist-netting, but an oppurtunity did arise to get into the reedbed breifly one Saturday morning, which resulted in just 25 birds, it did include however, our first juv Reed Warblers and Reed Buntings of the season.
Some of our totals from the last few weeks out of 175 new birds include, Swallow 13 (pulli) 37, Sand Martin 20, Blackcap 10, Sedge Warbler 3 juveniles, Reed Warbler 12, Tree Pipit 3, Meadow Pipit (pulli) 5 along with loads of Blue and Great Tit juveniles, but only 8 Chiff and a shortage of Willow Warblers.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

First Terns since 2007.

Thanks to the efforts of LROS and the quick information feed from Ken Goodrich we were able to ring our first Common Terns since 2007. There is scope to increase the artificial nesting sites for this species. We manage to ring 3 healthy youngsters and hope to do more in the next few weeks.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

The first Sand Martins.

Dispite a discouraging weather forcast , an early morning ringing session at WCP resulted in a good total of 55 birds. This included 32 Sand Martins, our first of the year. These were mostly adults, but there were also 6 juveniles. Thirteen species were caught, including Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Blackbird and Reed Bunting. A fly over Little Egret added to a great mornings ringing.

Friday, 10 June 2011

The class of 2011

Short session at the Sewerage works revealed a host of young Whitethroat foraging around the scrub. The class of 2011 looks like being the best in recent times after what has been a definite 'Whitethroat year' in many areas.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

You reap what you sow!

Wake up bro.

When we are bigger we shall be ferocious killing machines!

Oi it's the class photo. There's always one.

This week we have had great success ringing owls and kestrels.Thanks to the sterling efforts of Little Owl and now Barn Owl man Paul Riddle we were able to ring 3 Barn and 11 Little Owls. These were all in boxes that Paul and his team have made,with the financial help of LROS, and erected. This involves countless hours of dedication and liasing with land owners. A massive thank you from CRG and of course the Owls.
We were also able to ring a brood of 5 Barn Owls and 5 Kestrels in boxes that CRG had put up. It is immensely satisfying when a box you have made, found a site for, obtained access and finally erected , eventually bears fruit.

Two of Paul's Little Owls looking well fed.