Sunday, 9 December 2012



A ringing session at Charnwood lodge resulted in this male and a female Brambling being trapped and rung. Very few other finches were using the roost.The rounded tail indicates an adult male as did the all dark greater coverts.

Thursday, 15 November 2012


 It was nice to have caught some Siskins recently. There are some large mixed flocks of Redpoll and Siskins.
 Above the more pointed tail feathers of a first year bird, and below the more rounded tail feathers of an adult.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

All quiet on the Ringing Front!

Despite several ringing sessions recently numbers seem to be down. I have caught some Lesser Redpoll, but not in the numbers I had by this time last year. Perhaps things will pick up as autumn progresses.
 However, it was nice to catch this first winter Magpie. I have only caught one at Thornton, that bird ended up as a Tawny snack!

 Ringing at Watermead reed bed was very quiet with not much being caught. So it was great to recapture this Cetti's warbler that we had rung as an adult in March 2011. It has obviously taken to the perfect habitat that has been created in the area.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Shetland Redpoll Treats!

Recently back from a week in Shetland and with Redpoll on my mind I had to pop these in.
 I had gone up expecting lots of Common Redpoll, but instead we were treated to this Hornemanns Arctic Redpoll. Referred to as The Snowball it attracted many admirers.
 None of the Redpolls I saw seemed very grey and these two were considered to be the Greenland race rostrata. It would have been interesting to have known the measurements of these birds.

Second brood Barn Owls.

It was great to ring another brood of three Barn Owls recently, and from a site that produced four chicks in June.

The first Lesser Redpolls of the Autumn.

I made my first small catch of Lesser Redpoll recently, one was this smart male.

Hopefully there will be more to follow as we have now had four recoveries from the birds rung last autumn.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Unusual moult in a Sand Martin

On the 20th September we decided to try for the last few hirundines roosting in the local small reedbed, as well as a modest catch of Swallows we caught 2 Sand Martins. One of which was an adult that had undergone a partial moult of the flight feathers.
On both wings P1 & and  P2 had been moulted together with the corresponding PCs, in addition a sole tertial had also been moulted. All the other major flight feathers were old.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Catching up

It's been a while since we last blogged but things have been a bit on the slow side, what with the weather and holidays etc.
So to catch up then,  August saw a total of 228 new birds ringed including 89 Swallow, 11 Reed Warbler, 13 Whitethroat, 32 Blackcap, 10 Chiffchaff and 11 Reed Bunting. Our feeding station in the woods was restarted at the beginning of September and a couple of sessions resulted in 11 Coal Tit, 5 Blue Tit, 19 Great Tit and 7 Nuthatch along with a few retraps, other birds from our area include 2 Sand Martin, 26 Swallow, 2 Reed Warbler, 7 Meadow Pipit, 7 Blackcap and 11 Goldfinch, 141 new birds so far this month.
Let's hope the rain stops before the weekend.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

More Terns rung.

Another 7 Common Tern pullus were rung at Watermead this evening. This brings the total to 15 for the year, a great result for the 4 rafts that have been put inplace by the Rangers and paid for by LROS. At least one of the juveniles that we rung two weeks ago was on the wing.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Sand Martins rung.

At last we were able to ring some Sand Martins at one of the walls at Church Farm. We managed to catch 16 including some juveniles.Hopefully we can return soon and improve on last years total of 30.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Kestrel chicks rung.

Visiting nest boxes has not been very productive this spring. Many broods have failed because of the poor weather. It was great to therefore ring 3 Kestrel chicks this week. Only two in the photo because onre was so fiesty!

Monday, 11 June 2012

Nest box roundup

As Sunday was a nice day, for once, the opportunity was taken to check the small boxes in the wood with a view to ring any chicks. 7 boxes of Blue Tits had big enough chicks and 50 in total were ringed. There were 2 boxes of previously ringed chicks that were now nearly ready to fledge, a further 2 boxes still had  small chicks, about 5 days old but also with quite a few unhatched eggs. The 5 boxes with Great Tits in them have also seen some failures as 2 boxes had been abandoned containing dead chicks, but out of the rest 22 were big enough to ring. Watching the adult birds visiting the boxes with beakfuls of large green caterpillars gives me some hope that they will survive to fledging and that they are finding enough food during all this wet weather.
The Tree Sparrow colony seems to be slower moving onto a second clutch than last year, and not all the boxes have been taken up, but another brood of 5 well-fed chicks were ringed today with another clutch just hatched and another 4 on eggs.
Some of the open nests that we have been monitoring on another site have unfortunatley been predated, Meadow Pipits included, probably by corvids as there is alot of them around the area, but the vegetation is growing rapidly so this should give more cover and a better chance of survival with the next clutch.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

More boxes checked

This time some larger boxes. An evening visit on Monday around the local fields/farmland where we have an assortment of boxes in place resulted in a single Tawny chick ringed from an 'A' frame Barn Owl box, a Barn Owl on 2 eggs, (in an 'A' frame), a Kestrel on 6 eggs and an adult Stock Dove ringed with 2 chicks not quite ready yet. Still a few more to go.
Tuesday evening we found 2 more Meadow Pipits sitting on 3 eggs each, our other M P has 3 chicks hatched out of four eggs, now 4 days old.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Box Checking

We finally got the chance yesterday (Sunday) to check our 'tit' boxes in the wood, but the first few were empty, so this wasn't looking good. Out of the 25 we checked 6 held Great Tit and 7 held Blue Tit, all the birds were sitting tightly. The rest of the boxes were empty, normally we have a better take up than this, as last year we had 14 Blue Tits. Over at our Tree Sparrow site they are now coming to the end of their first broods, but they have been hit by the poor weather. Our main block of 13 boxes has 6 boxes still with  nests at various stages that have not moved since the beginning of April, and the others have all seen chick losses. They are 1/5, 3/5, 3/5, 2/5, 1/5, 5/5. so only 15 chicks ringed so far, but 2 are already laying up their second clutches. Last year we ringed 101 chicks from these boxes, so we have a long way to go yet.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Chiff tail.

I recently rung this Chiffchaff that showed that it had replaced its two central tail feathers, which are more adult, but still retains the more brownish grey and worn juvenile feathers.

Tough for Herons.

 Jedward the heron!
We managed to ring one juvenile heron at Watermead. Sadly its two siblings had succumbed to the cold and wet weather. This may be made worse by Sundays extreme weather. I also saw a heron carrying nesting material, so perhaps second attempts will be made, but this is rare. Let us hope that Jedward Heron makes it through!

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Box Check

Just a quick check yesterday (Fri) (well not that quick as it took 2 hrs) of a few large boxes on the Nature Reserve found 2 boxes occupied by Tawny Owls, one contained 2 eggs and the other contained 3. Both these boxes have only been in place for a couple of years so I'm pleased with the result and nest record cards have been written up for them. Unfortunatley the other boxes were either empty or had had squirrels in them.
A few Meadow Pipits were seen and a Merlin dashing low across the field.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Winter Thrushes whooshed!

There have been plenty of winter thrushes coming to the apples in the garden and I was able to put my whoosh net to good use. Three Fieldfare and a Mistle thrush were trapped. I also caught 32 Blackbirds and a Pied Wagtail.

Adult female Fieldfare above and a first winter Mistle thrush below.

Mistle Thrush.

The juvenile Whooper Swan is still at Thornton.
First winter male Pied Wagtail.