Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Taxi for Preston!

An early finish so a long overdue trip to Moore NR, in the hope of catching up with the male Lesser-spotted Woodpecker. It was 2 years to the day the last one i saw here (2009 blog post) giving fabulous views in the spring sunshine. On arriving in its favoured area the omens were looking good as i could hear it calling though out of view, after a brief wait it flew in and gave excellent views for around an hour. Although most of the time this was the view you got, a poor woman next to me took god knows how many one-shots of its arse.

When it wasn't excavating its nest hole it posed just perfectly. Maybe next year Dougie?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Spring ring

Back to Woolston on Saturday in the glorious sunshine. The first Chiffchaff's of the year were ringed and 4 moving Brambling were also processed. The potter traps were set as usual but failed to catch anything. Of 4 Great-spotted Woodpeckers we caught i managed to get lumbered (though i don't mind) with 3 of them and have the wounds to show for it.

A (sort of) planned trip to Suffolk on Sunday was aborted so i decided to join Mike around Macclesfield Forrest checking on Dipper nest's. This is a labour of love for Mike and Hugh who have been running this project for 5 years, with all birds caught bearing colour rings. A few unringed birds were observed including this female, unfortunately we didn't have any rings so hopefully we will catch up with her in a few weeks.

A day off today so the nets were put up in the garden. Not a great deal caught although the garden was the busiest its been for a while! Star bird was the presumably, returning garden Chiffchaff. Now that its sporting a nice shiny ring it will be easier to check on its return next spring. Also caught were 2 Dunnock, 2 Starling, Goldfinch and a retrapped Goldcrest. With the small catch i don't envisage many more garden sessions until the fledglings are about.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Magnifico Barca

A break from anything bird related for my sons Christmas present? A 4 day break (fri-mon) in Barcelona with the main objective being a trip the Camp Nou and watching the best football team on the planet. The break didn't disappoint, the weather was excellent 20° every day, the food was good, the transport links within the city are the best i have ever experienced with a super reliable metro system, that's also bloody cheap. Saturday morning dawned and we made our way to the Camp Nou for the tour and to collect our tickets for the evenings match vs Getafe. An added bonus of visiting in the morning was the arrival of the squad for a training session with the obvious highlight being the appearance of current world footballer of the year Lionel Messi. It certainly made my sons day.

The evening was a great success with Barca winning 2-1 in front of 98,000 spectators, including a spectacular opening goal from Danni Alves.

Sunday was a day of sightseeing and no trip to Barcelona wouldn't be complete without a visit to Gaudi's masterpiece the Sagrada Famíllia. A truly breathtaking work of art.

I can foresee another visit there in the future with hopefully a visit to Madrid as well, though i doubt the wife will go watch the football.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Double Dose

Thankfully all the coppicing and clearing is now done down at Woolston, just in time for the first Chiffchaffs to arrive. After last weeks Magpie success we set the potter again with the same result, a Moorhen will be along at some point surely! Other than that it was all the usual suspects. Monday dawned with a 4.15am start down to London for all of 30 minutes work. Fortunately i was back home for 12.30 and had asked Mike to come round and set up some nets in the garden, not really a great decision as the garden was very quiet in the strong spring sunshine. Although 4 Starlings are always worth catching (i think so anyway). Monday evening and i joined Mike down on the Wirral for a spot of wader ringing (cheers Kenny and Tony), this was a bit of a 'hit or miss' session but left happy having got a ringing tick processing 4 Redshank. Got home at 11pm well and truely shattered but well worth the effort.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Maggie Potter

Not the early start of last week but a 6.30am roll call is still early for the majority of the population. With all the coppicing work now down we could relax a bit, or so we thought. A fire that i constructed in the week would not get going so it meant dragging endless branches to ditch and filling it. If that wasn't bad enough there were hardly any birds being caught. In total we managed a measly 14 of which 5 were retraps. Pick of the (small) bunch was a (6) adult Magpie caught in one of the potter traps that i myther to be set every week. Persistence pays off, even if it is only a Magpie.

Down at Woolston on Tuesday we got a retrap (5) Blue Tit with a retained juv greater covert that hadn't moulted within the sequence. Apparently not that uncommon but the first time i had come across this. Interesting all the same.