Tuesday 27 March 2012

Quality not Quantity!

I would just like to apologise for the complete lack of posting lately, mainly due to a mass concentrated effort on my 3rd Year Honours Project at Bangor University.

Now that our winter ringing has finished and all our Woodcock have moved off to Scandinavia - I would like to inform you all that I managed to catch 10 Woodcock this winter and all were new birds! My 10th Woodcock was lamped at my site at Glanwydden Lane along with a very welcome Woodpigeon later on that night. So, even though I began lamping at the very end of winter I did manage to lamp 14 birds including 10 Woodcock, 1 Jackdaw, 1 Woodpigeon, 1 Meadow Pipt and 1 Shelduck. I really can't wait until next winter to see what I can catch..

Spring migrants are already turning up in good numbers so last week I headed over to the Great Orme in Llandudno with Rob Sandham, where a few hours spring trapping produced a stunning Male Stonechat and a Male Wheatear. Absolutely stunning birds and both were new species as I had never had the chance of seeing them in the hand before; again very useful for getting to grips for the ageing criteria for these species.

I am currently in Dumfries and Galloway on a week's holiday so posting will resume around 4th April when I begin trapping and lamping again.

Scottish ringing so far consists of a spring trapped 6 Male Great Tit yesterday afternoon.

Wednesday 14 March 2012

Flippin Mipit!

Photographed by Rob Sandham

As were now into Mid March; my trapping season has finally come to an end. The only ringing I am concentrating on at the moment is lamping. So far this winter, after a bad start, I have successfully lamped 12 birds in North Wales. A change of lamp from a Nitech product to a Cluson, has made this possible and for anyone thinking of taking lamping up as an extra ringing technique; the Cluson CB2 Lamp is the one to buy and I can highly recommend it!

Last night I headed over to Glanwydden Lane with Rob Sandham and after an hour so; 8 Woodcock were seen but all flew due to the calm conditions during the night. The night improved when I flushed a small passerine from the short grassy field and knowing that it was either a Skylark or a Meadow Pipit, I persevered after it. I managed to bring it down twice but each time the bird landed it somehow seemed to elude the torch beam and took off before I could locate it on the deck. After a 3rd go the bird flew up and over the hedge and away into a stubble field, never to be seen again I thought!

A short search at the edge of the field and the bird flew up from my feet and I managed to tempt it back down quickly and netted it. This was a new bird for me as I have never ring this species in the UK and to have lamped it myself made the experience even better.

Photographed by Rob Sandham

Just 1 Woodcock caught last night, a gorgeous adult bird with white tipped primary coverts and lovely fresh and rounded primary tips.

My lamping total now stands at 9 Woodcock, 1 Shelduck, 1 Jackdaw and 1 Meadow Pipit. Fantastic!

A quick look at Pentremawr Lake in Abergele proved tricky as I missed 2 Coot, 1 Moorhen and 1 Little Grebe.

I will be back out there tomorrow night for these birds so check back then to see how the night went on..

Monday 12 March 2012

Nest Box Checking in Atherton!

This weekend I travelled over to Atherton to give Kane a help in hand putting up 40 Nest boxes in Atherton Woods, ready for the forthcoming breeding season.

Throughout the weekend, Zac and Ciaran joined in to help, with Sunday seeing us putting up 10 metal plated nest boxes as part of Zac's dissertation project.

Ringing carried out during the weekend including catching 2 Tawny Owls in nest boxes; a bird in Atherton Woods and the Female in Kane's garden.

More ringing to follow this week in North Wales so check back soon to see what I've been catching..

Thursday 8 March 2012

More Woodcock!

Photographed by Alex Jones

The blog has been rather quite lately so I thought I would catch up on the ringing front. There isn't much to report on really apart from a single lamping session. Venturing out on 1st March proved another productive session with another 2 Woodcock caught. I have now successfully lamped 8 Woodcock, 1 Shelduck and 1 Jackdaw. Here's to the next 10 birds!!

Around 8 birds were seen during the night but most were rather flighty, so tricky to get close to..

More interestingly, a trip out to Glanwydden Lane last night on the full moon proved very educational. A grand total of 18 Woodcock and 1 Snipe were seen in my main field so I am really looking forward to getting out on the new moon period around 14th March. Who knows it could be a very busy night!

Hope this keeps you interested for now until I am next out ringing...

Tuesday 28 February 2012

North Wales Woodcock!

Over the past couple of weeks you may have read that I have been out lamping several nights on my twitter feed. This has been highly successful and I am now a competent dazzler and have no trouble in catching several birds in a night.

I have recently gained permission to 'lamp' on the whole of Mostyn Estates on Glanwydden Lane in Llandudno and I would just like to say a massive thank you to Mostyn Estates for allowing permission and to Marc Hughes for sorting this permission out for me. This is site is ideal for lamping as I have a wide variety of habitats in which to catch birds; short grazed grassy fields with an abundance of Woodcock. A small pond, woodland, marshland and stubble fields.

I have made 2 trips here in the last week or so and have managed to lamp, catch and ring 4 Woodcock. These birds have been relatively easy to catch once I got used to catching. Just 1 Adult caught with the other 3 birds having been Juveniles. I have also learnt that ageing Woodcock is fairly easy so in a future post I will outline the ageing criteria for this species.

Seeing as though I have always wanted to see one of these birds in the hand and I have never had the privilege of ringing one, I thought I would include a picture of myself and my first Woodcock. I have also had the misfortune of missing 4 Woodcock and I can assure you when that happens you can hear me from far away. Walking the hills at night is peaceful and there seem to be Woodcock in every corner of the field. Taking people out is also rewarding as they can't see the birds sat on the deck as clearly as me so showing them what I look out for is great.

Whilst out lamping on this site I have also managed to lamp and then hand catch a Jackdaw in the dark which was rather interesting. Although I have missed 4 Woodcock and a Moorhen which I netted but the little bleeder dived under and out of the net.

Here is the Juvenile Jackdaw that I lamped and hand caught - a little beauty!

Huge thanks to Mostyn Estates for allowing me permission and to Marc Hughes for sorting the permission out for me. Thanks also to Alex Jones and local birder Tony for accompanying me on several nights lamping.

How do you catch 56 Siskin?!

Firstly I must apologize for the lack of postings on the blog lately but as my time here in Bangor is slowly picking up the pace with even more work and a busier schedule than normal, time to update the blog has been far and few between.

As the title of this post suggests I have been mainly catching Siskins lately and a total of 56 birds have been captured in my drop trap. This includes 52 New birds, 3 re-traps and 1 Control.

Here she is - my first ever control and what a species to start on - a 6F Siskin - L869279. Does this ring number ring any bells to anyone, if so please get in touch with me as I would love to hear where she was ringed.

My catch has involved a grand total of 23 Males and 33 Females, of which 38 have been euring age code 5 and 18 euring age code 6. I wish I could have caught the flock as there are still about 30-40 birds around with many un-ringed birds so I may pay a visit to Matt's garden this week and see if I can reach the 100 Siskin mark? Can I catch 44 more Siskins??

Huge thanks to Matt for allowing me to catch and ring all these birds in his garden as I have now captured 186 birds in our garden in Bangor.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Siskin showdown!

Over the past few days there has been a flock of around 40 Siskin residing in Matt's garden in Bangor with a large proportion of the flock making visits to our feeders with many feeding on the floor. It is only until now that I have had time to make a visit over there with my traps.

Unaware of how many I would actually be able to catch I made the decision to try and catch a good proportion on the floor as they were constantly feeding on the Niger seed. The Chardonneret was put to the side for once and my drop trap put into practice for the first time. Matt and I made this trap at the end of 2011 with the hope that it would come in use one day; yesterday it sure did that!

This is the drop trap that I used yesterday to catch the Siskin I did.

Yesterday I spent the whole morning in the garden resulting in 23 Siskin being caught in this drop trap! Catches of 2, 5, 6, and 10 were made and all new birds. 1 Blackbird and 1 Robin were also caught in here too with just 2 Blue tit in the Chardonneret Trap!

A mix of males and females of euring age code 5 and 6 were captured during the morning and unfortunately no controls were caught. I would love my first control with my permit to be a Siskin but you will have to wait and see if this happens on my next visit next week when I have more A rings as that morning I ran out - never good!

Thanks to Matt for allowing me to ring in his garden once more. If you do happen to catch a flock of Siskin with rings beginning with Y088480 through to Y088500, please let me know!

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Cheshire Coot Catching!

This weekend just gone was spent down in Atherton with Kane, Ciaran, Gillian and Andy. Cold weather had captivated Cheshire and the surrounding areas of Atherton so the weekend was made up of our hand catching method. Good numbers of Coot were caught during the weekend, as well as Black-headed Gull, Canada goose and 1 Tufted Duck.

I have to thank Kane for this bird, as this is the 2nd Tufted Duck I have ever ringed. One day I will catch my own but as always it was great to familiarise myself with the ageing criteria for this species for when the time comes when I catch a few in North Wales.

Redesmere Lake in Cheshire was covered in ice, so the catching was pretty constant and as you can see the railings provide a bit of cover to hide behind when we catch our Coot.

Huge thanks to Kane for an awesome weekend and thanks also to Gillian, Ciaran and Andy for making it a very enjoyable weekend.

A small mist-netting session in Atherton Woods was also carried out with several Blue, Great and Coal tits caught, as well as Chaffinch and Robin.

Thursday 9 February 2012

It all amounts up!

I spent yesterday down at Rhyl Brickworks with the aim to catch a couple of Coot during the day. I invited Matt along as well, so he could gain some more valuable ringing and ageing experience of Coot.

Unfortunately just 2 Coot were caught during the day. I am not disappointed by the number, as each bird amounts up to my target of 30 birds which I need to reach before April, so the next few weeks ahead are going to be busy but I'm looking forward to it all..

Rhyl Brickworks is owned by Denbighshire County Council and is home to around 40 Coot at the moment with most coming in to a small area where the birds are fed regularly. However, these Coot are very skittish and each time I catch a Coot they all flush and won't come back for some considerable time. Several other methods are in hand at this site, with the means to boost the catch rate per day so next visit could be more interesting.

A quick visit to Pentremawr Lake where at least 3o Coot reside; these are also in need of ringing and just 1 Coot on Tir Prince in Towyn.

A quick visit to another site on the outskirts of Bangor today to see if there are any Coot on site revealed there to be 5 birds un-ringed so there is another job, for one late night when the new moon arrives next week.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

North Wales Coot Project!

Over the weekend, I decided to swap from trapping; giving it a break for a while and change to our hand catching method around North Wales.

I have very recently started the North Wales Coot Project which is running in conjunction to the main project, run by Kane in the north-west. Sorting permissions and site access has been main our main priority but I am happy to say that the project has now begun and well under way. I now have at least half a dozen sites for Coot whether they be small or large lakes.

Sunday 5th February I took Zac and Matt along to my new site at Rhyl Brickworks Local Nature Reserve to see what I could catch. After gaining permission from the site warden, (Adrian Hibbert) and also thanks to local North Wales birder John Roberts; I set about catching. During the morning 3 Coot were caught and colour-ringed. A Juvenile Black-headed gull was also caught by Zac, (not what I was after but a welcome bird all the same).

Birds are being given a BTO Metal ring on their right leg and colour ring on their left; white darvic with black lettering. If you happen to see a Coot wearing a colour ring, please can you report all sightings to kanebrides'@'gmail.com.

If you know of any Coot around North Wales, whether a single bird on a local park lake or a nice sized flock, please could you get in touch with me or leave a comment on the blog and I will get back to you.

Huge thanks to Kane Brides for helping hugely with the project in North Wales, to John Roberts for gaining permission to ring on Rhyl Brickworks Local Nature Reserve and to Adrian Hibbert for giving permission.

I will be out again tomorrow catching so check back then for a full update.

Traps bring 200th bird!

When I last did a post about trapping, it was back in January (25th), when I caught my 150th bird! Since then and only in a 2 week period, I have managed to capture over 200 birds in traps. I have now caught a grand total of 208 birds, (193 New and 15 Retrap) with my C Permit.

These last few weeks have been exceptional for trapping with some rather scarce species being caught. A late afternoon session in Matt's garden in Bangor produced this gorgeous female Blackcap in the potter trap along with this stunning male Siskin in the Chardonneret trap!

A very late lamping session around the shores of Bangor produced this lovely Adult Female Shelduck (my 1st 'lamped' bird and hopefully the first of many).

A session in Alex's Garden in St. Asaph produced an exceptional 42 birds throughout the day. 33 Blue Tit, 3 Great Tit, 2 Blackbird, 1 Goldfinch, 2 Robin and another female Blackcap. If you would like to see Alex's report of this amazing trapping day, please see here.

Although as I type this post, there are currently a flock of 12 Siskin and several Lesser Redpoll on my trapping table in Bangor; I am distracting myself away from trapping for a short period and concentrating on university work as well as the North Wales Coot Project.

Huge thanks to Matt, Rob and Alex for allowing me to ring in their gardens again. More ringing to follow soon..

Saturday 4 February 2012

Colourful Catching!

Time hasn't half flown by and I still can't believe that we are already in February; the breeding season will soon be here and still there is so much to do. I will kick start February's ringing with several posts of my most recent ringing.

Last weekend, on Sunday 29th January I headed over to Atherton to meet up with Kane, Ciaran, Gillian and Zac to help out with Zac's colour ringing project on Blue tits as part of his dissertation. Whilst keeping an eye out for Great Tits showing signs of Avian Pox, we managed to capture 97 birds throughout the ringing session. Mainly tits with Great, Coal and Blue contributing to the totals for the day but also Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Treecreeper and Goldcrest were caught.

A total of 20 Blue Tits were colour ringed during the day; a great effort!

Watching a pair of Tawny Owls breeding in a nest box in Kane's garden on Saturday night was great and with a camera installed now, their daily activities will be on show. This pair of Tawny Owl nest is our first card, as part of our 1,000 Nest Record Card challenge that we hope to complete this year.

An early morning session on the Sunday morning produced Blackbird, Bullfinch, Goldfinch and Robin and an afternoon hand catching at Crompton Lodges produced 3 Canada geese and 4 Coot.

Huge thanks to Kane for an awesome weekend as usual and to the rest of the guys for a very enjoyable weekend. See you all again soon.