Friday, 25 November 2011

Farmland Ringing

On Tuesday morning I carried out the first visit to Eastfield Farm in Lound as part of a study being carried out by Waveney Bird Club on the effectiveness of different wild bird seed strips. Given my mist net restriction as a C ringer this visit was carried out with the aim of determining which bird species are present along with those that may be captured when using the plot visited. If sufficient numbers of birds were seen then further visits will be made with a team in order to increase the amount of mists nets used to facilitate the capture of a more representative sample.

The particular plot visited is in the region of 0.25 ha and deciding where to erect two mist nets in the dark was always going to be a blind decision and after the first light of dawn had broken and birds were starting to use the seed strip it very quickly became clear that one net was clearly in a less than optimal position. Walking the plot saw a large mixed flock of finches and thrushes rise from the adjacent hedgerow and fly over the plot and disperse in more distant hedgerows. Moving the net was however, rewarded with the capture of two fantastic Yellowhammers which are one of the four target species for the project; the other three being Reed Bunting, Linnet and Tree Sparrow.

The session was a success with two target species - Reed Bunting as well as Yellowhammer - being caught along with a mixed catch of common woodland and garden species. Many birds were using the seed strip throughout the morning and were still active when I left the study site at midday. Further interest was aroused by a large flock of 40 - 50 Skylarks flying around and alighting in stubble that has been left standing.

    Adult (4), male Yellowhammer                     First winter (3), male Reed Bunting

The project requires one visit every month to each study plot between November 2011 and March 2012 and considering the success of this pilot visit I will be looking forward to returning with a team in December.

Totals - 28 new, (1) retrap
Dunnock - 3
Robin - 2, (1) control X547854
Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Blue Tit - 8
Great Tit - 2
Chaffinch - 6
Yellowhammer - 2
Reed Bunting - 2

Another quiet morning ...

Despite an early start last Saturday morning it was clear that Paul's garden was not holding much in the way of winter migrants. Very few thrushes were present with the one or two Redwings flying over clearly not being attracted by the tape lure. The first net round provided the bulk of the birds with Blackbirds being the most numerous. Subsequent rounds were undoubtedly hindered, firstly by the heavy mist hanging on the net, then secondly by the rising sun further increasing their visibility.

It was a pleasant surprise, however, to discover variety in the form of a first winter female Bullfinch. The first individual of this species that I have ringed this year.

First winter (3) female Bullfinch

Totals - to follow

Monday, 14 November 2011

Thrush slow down

Recent easterly winds had brought a large influx of Blackbirds to the east coast and it was hoped that a few thrushes would be still coming through on Wednesday morning. Sadly numbers attracted to Paul's garden in Burgh Castle were somewhat reduced with the number of Redwing caught not even reaching double figures.

The day was brightened when the first Common Redpolls of the Autumn were trapped along with a few Lesser Redpolls that were trapped above the tape lure.

Common Redpoll                                              Lesser Redpoll

Further excitement was experienced when a very grey looking Chiffchaff was caught giving the impression of the Siberian race tristis.

Siberian Chiffchaff ?

Totals - 37 new, (16) retraps
Wren - 1
Robin - 1, (4)
Blackbird - 13, (4)
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 9
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 1
Long-tailed Tit - (4)
Coal Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 2, (1)
Great Tit - (3)
Goldfinch - 2
Lesser Redpoll - 3
Common Redpoll - 2

Wednesday, 9 November 2011


Last Sunday the weather was pretty dire with strong easterlies and intermittent drizzle. Given that these are less than ideal mist netting conditions I decided to wait for a drop in the wind to put my 30' net up in the garden and try and sort out the tethering which has worked its way loose. 

The net was only up for about 30 minutes and I had caught a new species for the garden - Goldcrest! A few have been heard calling recently. The only other bird caught was a retrap House Sparrow ringed as a 3 female in July.

1st Winter (3) Male Goldcrest

More C ringing at Lound

Last Monday, 31 October, I carried out another solo ringing session in the woodland ride at Lound Lakes. The wind remained in the south west so winter migrants weren't to be expected and given that the temperatures were milder than the previous visit the feeders should've been less busy. Whilst, however, Fieldfares and Redwings were conspicuous by their absence the feeders were visited by a constant trickle of hungry tits and finches. Interestingly along with the usual Blue Tits and Great Tits six Coal Tits were trapped; unusual for a single session.

Coal Tit

An MP3 tape lure was played for Goldcrest resulting in a further seven being caught, pleasingly bringing the total to 18 ringed over the last three visits. Most birds are first winter (3) but both an adult male and female have been trapped in wing moult along with a 3 in juvenile plumage (3J) indicating that breeding is likely to be taking place in what is suitable habitat.

Totals - 43 new, (4) retraps
Robin - 2
Goldcrest - 7
Long-tailed Tit - 3
Coal Tit - 6
Blue Tit - 13, (2)
Great Tit - 4, (2)
Chaffinch - 7
Lesser Redpoll - 1