Monday 28 February 2011

Accipiter rush

No work today meant a half day over at Mikes, great decision. With 2 x 6m nets in the garden and a good flock of Siskins on the feeders it could only be good, and it was. By the time i left for home we had processed 18 Siskin, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 4 Blackbird, 2 Dunnock, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Bullfinch and Blue Tit. Not bad in 5 hours. I left for home shortly after 1.30pm only to get a call from Mike some 45 minutes later asking would i like to return and ring a Male Sparrowhawk? 15 minutes later i was back getting to grips with i must say, a fairly small and sedate (8) adult . A real looker with its glowing orange eye that seemed transfixed to my every movement. Top quality end to a an already good day.

Sunday 27 February 2011

Dynamic Duo

The early bird definitely does catch the worm! In my case at least? An Early Saturday morning start down at Woolston had me meeting Kieran at 5.15 and erecting 3 nets on the edge of No.3 bed with the hope of maybe catching some Snipe.With the nets in place and dawn breaking we sat in the hide overlooking the area with anticipation, with nothing happening we had a wander to another fringe of the bed further round but drew a blank. On return there was fortunately a Common Snipe sat very nicely in the middle shelf and as we approached the net a Jack Snipe got up from under our feet, skimmed the bottom shelf pocket and fortunately snagged and flipped back into the net. Result. A top Snipe double. I had the fortune of extracting and processing the Common Snipe while Hugh got a very nice ringing tick with the Jack. Other than the promising start it was very slow going but thankfully all the coppicing is now finished, just one hell of a fire to have now.

Back out this morning with a ringing demonstration over at Norton Priory. Unfortunately the weather was not on our side with constant drizzle and the odd heavy shower. 11 nets were erected and a small selection of woodland species were processed. regardless of the weather turned out to be good experience and was good to meet up with David Norman, John Elliot and Alan Garner.

Monday 21 February 2011

No not no.73 !

An early start in the rain and once in Chipping Norton i was surprised to only see 6 people stood outside no.41 The Leys, including the generally all round nice chap Martin Garner. I parked up and walked back up the road to be told Steve (no.41 resident) was going to open his dining room for viewing, excellent stuff. Sure enough after 10 minutes of hanging around in the cold we were invited in, to the warmth. A great selection around the feeders including Brambling, Siskin, Blackcap and Great Spotted Woodpecker. Then as if right on cue the Rufus Turtle Dove appeared, first coming to rest on the trellis and then on the lawn showing some 10 feet away. Crippling views were obtained just a shame i had to photograph through rain smeared glass on 2000 ISO. Massive thanks to Steve for being a real gem of a bloke.

With the Dove done we set off for Rainham and the Slaty-backed Gull via the American Wigeon on Rushy Common. Distant views were had as it swam on the open water with its cousins. Unfortunately Rainham wasn't as successful as the morning in Oxon though a good number of Yellow-legged Gulls were counted. Nice to see Rebecca Nason and her partner Phil, though maybe not over the noses of 3 rats scrounging along the bank of the Thames.

Sunday 20 February 2011

Best made plans and all that !

A week of working in London and to damn busy to go for either of the mega rarities loitering just a matter of miles from the job. Fortunately tomorrow is a free day so the plan is hatched, whether it goes to the plan is another matter!
No Woolston this weekend due to the damp conditions but managed a day ringing in the garden on Friday and Hugh's today (got to keep the numbers up). Ringing ticks in the garden comprised of Starling (very nice and a selection of photos will follow) Coal Tit and Goldfinch. Hugh's was a finch fest with good numbers of Lesser Redpoll and Siskin, a lone Brambling, Bullfinch and a couple of Chaffinch. To date i stand at 234 processed and 102 extractions, not bad for a few months i think.

Friday 11 February 2011

Gone to the Bank.

An unexpected day off today so decided to spend it down at Richmond Bank. Most surprised to be the only one there today, though it does seem to have been well watched this week. Arrived just after 10.30 and put in a good 5 hour stint. No sooner was i set up a juv/1w Glaucous Gull was sat out in front of me. Next up was a 2w Iceland Gull followed later on by a 1w bird. 5 Yellow-legged Gulls were logged though the numbers were probably higher, and  i couldn't confidently pick out a Caspian Gull although a small Herring/Caspian type was around for much of the day (my knowledge is very limited). As i was leaving Paul Wren was searching for the Glaucous Gull and thankfully picked out the only Med Gull i saw all day.

Wednesday 2 February 2011

Not a load of bull

For anybody who is interested in maybe trying to age birds in the field in simplified terms, i will post various points on the blog (if only just for you Dougie). Bullfinch are not exactly the easiest to start with but subtle differences can be seen. Apart from 4 old greater coverts the juv(5) male has retained the brown fringed carpal covert.

Whereas the bird below has moulted the old carpal covert and replaced it with the grey fringed carpal covert making this bird an adult(6).