Friday 27 May 2011

Over the Top

An update on the last 10 days. I was fortunate enough to have time to attend a session of Canon netting on Walney Island a week last Thursday, 2 nets were set and just over 100 waders were caught of 2 species Dunlin (4) and Ringed Plover. A lot of variation within the sexes although the female below didn't cause to many problems. A cracking day out, cant wait til the next one.

Managed to get Mike round to ring the chicks currently in the garden nest boxes. As has always been the case out of 6 boxes only 2 ever seem to get used, with Great Tits occupying a Sparrow box of which 9 chicks (pullus) were rung and Blue Tits having a more traditional box with 4 chicks rung. Now fully fledged  hopefully i will see them returning to the garden. More chicks rung with Prof David Norman at Delamere and down at Woolston, certainly getting my numbers up! Also at Woolston on Saturday were 2 new species to ring a Song Thrush and a Garden Warbler, which i had to think about when taking it from the bag, very different in the hand.

Now todays news. Got an early dart for the departed Least Sandpiper and Old Moor RSPB, should have gone yesterday but let frustration get in the way? If something could have made the day worthwhile it was the Short-eared Owl i watched for a couple of hours hunting and feeding 2 possibly 3 chicks up on Woodhead Pass.

Monday 16 May 2011


Wow, what a weekend. A slow but decent mornings ringing down at Woolston then it was time for the main event, the FA Cup final MCFC vs Stoke. As you all probably know City won 1-0 comfortably and held aloft the first of many trophies. Now for 3rd place in the Premier league.

Sunday was ringing Dippers with 3 adults caught at various locations. Also of note were 2 Little Owls occupying a box and sitting on 3 eggs.

The afternoon was a bit of local twitching. First up was the Buff-breasted Sandpiper co-found by Frank Duff at Frodsham Marsh. A distant bird feeding with Dunlin and Ringed Plover. First time i have seen one at some distance. Early evening i was off to Meols on the Wirral for the Broad-billed Sandpiper feeding with a roaming flock of Dunlin in their thousands. Again distant but a cracking local bird and only the second one i have seen.

No work today so decided to make the journey over to Conwy RSPB for the male Citrine Wagtail. Good but again distant views were had.
Time for a moan now ?
I know we are all of varying abilities in the whole birding scheme of things, but some of the folk there this morning were just cringe worthy and maybe a little homework would help.
One lady asked what type of Warbler it was .......?
One guy came into the Coffee Shop and asked if it was on show to which the reply was no, so he said if he could be told when it was on view then proceeded to get a pot of tea ......
Its behind the Curlew said 3 guys, sorry they are all Whimbrel .....
One lady asked if it was the black and white one ....?
A Citrus Wagtail ? asked a lady.
Lots of House Martins are collecting mud from the waters edge. One guy asks if they are Sand Martins to which i say no they are House Martins, so he asks me if I'm sure!
Oh dear.

Friday 13 May 2011

How many ?

Whilst out searching for a male Yellowhammer around Marrister i noticed this fine specimen out hunting in the sea. I managed to get myself into position when i saw him, i presume, emerge with this rather large fish. I then watched him for the next 30 minutes as he devoured his diner, at times no more than 6 feet away. Just me, an Otter and the sound of the sea. Does life get any better? I  make no apologies for the amount of photos, i could have posted over a hundred!

If that wasn't enough there's a HD video to go with it as well. Enjoy.

Wednesday 11 May 2011

Visiting migrant.

I lived up to my blog description with a 5 day trip back up to Whalsay. Great to see friends again and equally great to be out birding on 'patch' again. The timing seemed to be a bit of a master stroke with a decent fall of common migrants. As is typical with Shetland the weather plays an integral part of the day ahead, one minute sunshine the rain coupled with high winds after virtually none, taxing is one word for it. Managed a patch lifer with Sand Martin (exciting or what) other than that good numbers of Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat a probable Bluethroat on patch disappeared and an immaculate male Brambling was very nice. 3 Ring Ouzel on the isle with a frustrating bird at Skaw that nearly flew into the mist net. Managed to get some ringing done with the pick being 4 Lesser Whitethroat and a smart male Redstart caught in the heligoland.

A flava Wagtail at the Houb on Monday need assigning to race if anybody can help. Is it just a Blue-headed flava or does it fit Blue-headed beema ? Helm's Pipits and Wagtails just leaves me head scratching.