Wednesday, 26 October 2011

C Permit - 5816!

You may have noticed that I have changed the description of the blog, (situated at the top right of the blog) and as the title of this post states, I am now the proud owner of my C Permit!

I sent the forms off to the BTO the morning I left for Iceland on Thursday 14th July and exactly 3 months later the permit was in my hands here at Bangor University. I owe huge thanks to everyone that have helped me along the way to obtaining my C Permit and these will be mentioned later on in this post.

This permit is a Restricted C Permit which doesn't allow me to use mist-nets just yet, but I hope to ammend this next year at the beginning of March. This permit is based on the use of catching any species of adult bird by using traps and my hands as well as ringing any species of pullus in any situation.

Most of the birds I catch will be caught using potter, spring or chardonneret trap as well as catching birds with my hands which is something I somewhat used to. These traps will be described in a later post. Dazzling will also play a major role in my catching effors which is catching birds my a lamp and net at night.

Massive thanks go to Steve Dodd, Rachel Taylor, Kane Brides, Stephen Christmas, Kelvin Jones, Adrienne Stratford, Tony Cross, Dave Fletcher, Brian Hopkins, John Wilson, Andrew Cadman, Seumus Eaves, Phil Ireland, Craig Brookes, Karen Moss, Andrew Moss, Will Price, Phil Slade, Sverrir Thorstensen, Aevar Petersen, Peter Alker, Stephen Menzie, Richard De Feu, Wes Halton, Nicola Edmonds, Kevin Scott and Sean Gray for all their continued support along my journey!

Thanks also to Gillian Dinsmore, Ciaran Hatsell, Zac Hinchcliffe and Mathew Bruce for their support also.

I have managed to catch some birds already, 30 in fact with the permit, but a full update will be available of what these have been tomorrow night.

1,000 Colour - Ringed Coot!

During the last 2 years I have been heavily involved in Kane's Colour - Ringing Coot Project in the North-West of England. These 2 years have been very busy and have been really good fun helping Kane catch as many Coot as possible. Good laughs and memories come flooding back to me.

More importantly, on Wednesday 21st September, Kane caught the 1,000 Coot for the project which ended the 3 colour ring combinations we were using on the birds.

Over the 2 year period these birds have travelled some distance and more information on these movement and the birds themselves can be viewed here on this specific blog post on Kane's Blog.

Sightings of colour - ringed birds can still be sent to kanebrides'@' and any darvic sightings can also be sent to the same address.

Huge thanks to Kane for allowing me to be involved in the project over the 2 years and for all the good laughs we have shared together and with other ringers. Congratulations on a massive achievement Kane - 1,000 Coot all caught by hand!!

More on Darvic Coot to follow soon!

My 1st hand caught Coot!

Photographed by Gillian Dinsmore

Too long have I wanted to catch my 1st Coot and so on Sunday 28th August; Kane, Gillian and I headed out to Crompton Lodges and Plattsfield for some Coot catching.

I just knew in my gut that it was my time to catch my 1st Coot. A juvenile (Age 3) swam upto me in amongst some Mallards and Mute Swans and turned it's back on me and that to me was a bad move and within seconds I had the bird in my right hand. Fantastic!

I have known Kane and the lads for at least 5 years now and now I can even more Coot back in North Wales once things get rolling.

Gillian also went onto catch her 1st Coot at Plattsfield Park and with 18 Coot caught during the morning it was a great hand catching session!

Rutland Bird Fair!

Arriving back from Iceland on Sunday 14th August, exactly a week afterwards and we were back out networking at the British Birdwatching Fair at Rutland Water. I joined Kane and Gillian for the weekend and as this was my 1st time to the fair, I was rather impressed by the size of the site!

We all got ringed during the weekend as part of the BTO's ringing demonstration. These bands had individual ring numbers from 3 particular species; Pied flycatcher, Osprey and Garden warbler and members of the general public could research about where these birds had been ringed etc. A great idea to involved the younger generation of bird ringers.

Throughout the weekend Kane was mostly working on the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) stand talking about various projects that the trust are currently working on. Gillian kept herself occupied, whilst I spent most of my time at the ringing station along with Kelvin Jones.

Birds caught included Garden, Sedge and Reed warbler but best of all was an adult Nightingale! Having handled this species in Spain a few years ago it was great to see them up close, in the UK this time.

The weekend was also a great chance for me to meet new people and catch up with old friends. Meeting Lee Barber and Dave Leech from the BTO, Richard Brown and Giselle Eagle from Bardsey Bird Observatory and many other people from different organisations made the weekend superb!

Meeting celebrities like Simon King, Bill Oddie, Johnny Kingdom and the Urban Birder was even better!

I also managed to win the Bird Observatories Competition at the Bird Fair!

Once we arrived back in the north-west we had a quick visit to Redesmere where we caught 8 Coot with 6 of these being new and the other 2 being controls.

Whooper Swan, Golden Plover and Whimbrel!

During out last 2 weeks in Iceland, our time was spent with Sverrir Thorstensen catching more Whooper Swan adults and cygnets around Akyreryi in the north of Iceland.

Our ringing totals for the 2 weeks ended with another 138 Whooper Swans being caught which included 48 retraps and 90 new birds. Some were controls included a few birds wearing BTO rings from the UK.

Kane and I usually waited in the truck whilst Sverrir caught the swans on the lake, keeping a close eye on his wear abouts and number of swans on the lake.

I also had my 1st go with the boat this year and managed to catch 5 Adult Whooper Swans, all in moult.

We were lucky as the weather during the swan catching was glorious as you can see from the photos above. Clear skies and stunning scenery added to a superb end to the trip.

Like last year we managed to catch Golden Plover and Whimbrel chicks, so this summer we caught 30 Golden Plover and 10 Whimbrel chicks.

A brood of 4 Ptarmigan chicks were caught but as you can see from the photo above they were to small to ring, very cute though!

That just about sums up our trip to Iceland this summer so I hope you have all enjoyed the read and huge thanks go to Sverrir, Thorey, Aevar and Solla for putting up with us 'Bluddy tourists' for 4 weeks. Thanks guys and see you again next year.

Husavik Humpbacks!

Whislt in Iceland during our Whooper Swan research work we had a few days off so we decided to travel over to Husavik on the northern coast of Iceland for a day of Whale Watching.

The harbour at Husavik is beautiful and with a clear and calm sea, we had picked the perfect day to go whale watching. During the 3 hour cruise out to sea we witnessed a group of 3 Humpback Whales which ventured to within 1 metre of the tour boat!

Here is the link to the video on youtube that I took of the 2 Humpback Whales that came within 1 metre of the boat. Whale Video in Iceland

The surrounding hills were lightly covered in snow and when a Storm Petrel flew on by the boat, it was the ideal location to sit back and enjoy the views!

Skagafjordur Whoopers!

The second part of our trip in Iceland began on Monday 1st August where we began catching, ringing and surveying the Whooper Swans as part of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trusts work, (WWT), in the North of Iceland in the pristine valley of Skagafjordur. Our base for the next 2 weeks would be in the northern area around Akyreryi.

Our work was spent visiting several well known Whooper Swan breeding locations to try and catch as many moulting adults and cygnets as possible, where metal and darvic rings were added.

A total of 50 Whooper Swans were captured during our few days in Skagafjordur, some new, retrapped and controls.

This was to be a truly unforgettable experience for Kane and I as the method used to catch these Whooper swans was by hand. Running across marshes for several miles to catch a brood of cygnets and both adults really was great fun!

Once we had completed most of the broods on the marshes, we cooled off by catching moulting adults in the freezing cold glacial rivers and as you can see from the photos above and below, I was not joking.

This Whooper Swan (pictured above) was not going to slip past me and after a few seconds the bird came close enough and it was safely captured and ready to be ringed - albeit a bit wet afterwards! Kane on the right and I on the left always working as a team.

Whilst out in the marshes we managed to catch 14 Wigeon, 2 Teal and 2 Mallard which were all moulting so unable to fly, making an easy catch.

I also managed to track down 2 baby Snipe chicks which were at least 300 yards away. Practising listening to their 'peeping' calls on Flatey Island was the only way I could have found these chicks.

However, relaxing in the hot tub at base camp was just what we all needed after a long day in the marshes!

All photos by Kane Brides.

Mnay thanks to Olafur Einarsson, family and friends for a superb few days! I am sure we will back next year!

Flatey Island Vidoes!

During our time in Iceland this summer, our friends, Sean Gray and Kevin Scott made a few fantastic videos that summed up our trip so I thought it much easier to let you view these for yourself.

Here are the videos that were made by Sean and Kevin - Flatey Island Video and Flatey Island 2.

Thankyou for watching!

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Ringing on Flatey Island 2011!

On Thursday 14th July, Kane and I flew out to Iceland for our annual trip to Flatey Island where we ring seabirds, waders and anything else we can get our hands on really. Then onto another part of Iceland where we carry out our Whooper Swan survey work.

This was my 2nd time out to Iceland. Accompanying us this year were Kevin Scott and Sean Gray from the Isle of Man. These are 2 great guys I am very pleased to now know them and to be great friends with both. A good laugh at all times during our Flatey Island trip!

As usual, work started straight away on our arrival and throughout our 10 days on the island we managed to ring just under 1,200 birds.


  • Kittiwake - 663
  • Snipe - 21
  • Arctic Tern - 55
  • Oystercatcher - 4
  • Ringed Plover - 9
  • Red - Necked Phalarope - 61
  • Redwing - 9
  • Meadow Pipit - 6
  • Mallard - 12
  • Eider - 11
  • Snow Bunting - 16
  • White Wagtail - 1
  • Grey Phalarope - 1
  • Redshank - 5
  • Black Guillemot - 71
  • Shag - 180
  • Puffin - 27
  • Fulmar - 24

The weather was glorious throughout our stay and all the team caught the sun. Here, Kane enjoys a moment with a Puffin whilst out surveying one of the islands.

Sean Gray with a Kittiwake - one of many caught on Clodmingo Island.

Kevin Scott with a Puffin, also caught whilst out surveying one of the islands.

Snow Buntings were abundant this year and this male cracking adult male Snow Bunting was one of 16 caught during our stay.

Red - Necked Phalarope caught in a flick-netting session down by a pool below our lodgings for our stay. This year, 61 individuals were ringed.

As always at the end of any trip a group photo is required. (Top Row - Sverrir Thorstensen, Sean Gray, Kevin Scott and Aevar Petersen, (Bottom Row - Myself and Kane).

Huge thanks to Sverrir and Aevar for inviting us along for another year and to Kane, Sean and Kevin for making the trip even be better with many enjoyable laughs and great memories.

Long - Eared Owls!

A rest for a week and a bit was rather nice but a week passed on by and it was time to head out again and do some ringing. A few days afterwards, Kane and I headed out to Iceland for our annual seabird and Whooper Swan work.

On Thursday 14th July I met up with Kane, Ciaran and Zac to ring the brood of Long - Eared Owls that Kane had found and they were now ready for ringing. Thankfully, all 5 chicks were at the correct stage for ringing and all now wear G rings. This was another new species for me and every moment was special - what a gorgeous bird!

Ciaran who is working as a warden on the Farne Islands in Northmberland paid us a visit that day and it was great to see him as we hadn't seem him for quite some time. Best of luck with the rest of your contract mate!

A super day was had by all and ringing Long - Eared Owl chicks was just awesome!

Huge thanks to Kane for allowing me to ring one of the best birds I have ever handled! Thanks also to Zac for allowing me to use his photos!

Llangorse Lake - Canada Goose Roundup!

Photographed by Kane Brides

Arriving back from North Wales early morning on Thursday 30th June, there was just enough time to relax before we headed off again down to Llangorse Lake on Sunday 3rd July, down in Powys in South Wales.

Joining up with Gillian Dinsmore on site; along with Kane and Zac, we were greeted by 25 other helpers and ringers. The aim of the morning's catch was to round up all the Canada Geese on the lake as this is the time of year that they undergo their annual moult and so this is the best time to catch as many as possible.

The roundup is carried out by canoeists which corale the birds from the entire lake towards the catching area. (See above photo).

Photographed by Kane Brides

Myself, Gillian and Zac ready for action as the birds moved closer up towards the holding area. Getting wet in order to catch birds is something that were are very familiar with!

Photographed by Kane Brides

In total, 409 Canada Geese caught during the catch and many new and retrap birds processed. An additional Osprey fishing in the lake during the catch, stunning landscape and weather made for a very memorable catch and hopefully we will be back again next year!

Photographed by Kane Brides

A well deserved pint and some tasty snacks provided by Gillian at the local pub was a great end to a super day!

Huge thanks to Jerry Lewis from the Llangorse Ringing Group for inviting us along.

It's a Stormie Night!

Ringing Barn Owl, Kestrel, Stock Dove and Swallow brings a joy to ones eye, being given the opportunity to ring Storm Petrel and Manx Shearwater was even better. An invite from Kieran Foster to catch both these species on Anglesey was the next trip.

Resting up and packing plenty of food for the night; Kane,Zac, Kieran and I headed over to Anglesey on Wednesday 29th June, arriving on site at 9:45pm. In order to try and catch both species during the night, a net was erected for each, to maximise our catch rate throughout the night.

A total of 2 Storm Petrel and 7 Manx Shearwater were caught during the night and with Manx Shearwater calling offshore and flying right over our heads made for an amazing spectacle and one I will never forget and of the 7 Manx Shearwater caught, 6 were new and 1 control, being a bird ringed as a chick in 2005 on Bardsey Island. Great stuff!

Both Manx Shearwater and Storm Petrel were both new species for us all and were a joy to ring; happy faces all round from Kane and I.

Arriving back in Atherton around 5am the following morning, it was time for some much needed sleep.

Huge thanks to Kieran Foster for inviting us along and Kane Brides for doing all the driving throughout the trip.

Barn Owl, Kestrel and Swallow Pulli Ringing!

Carrying on from the trip to Norfolk on 25th and 26th June, it didn't take me long to get back out ringing with Kane and Dave Edwards on the local mosses around Manchester.

On Tuesday 28th June, I spent the morning checking their Barn Owl and Kestrel nestboxes scattered around several sites. During the morning 1 Kestrel was ringed which was a bird from a brood of 5, of which 4 of them had already fledged, leaving just one bird left over near the nestbox. Another brood of 5 Kestrel were also ringed.

A Barn Owl was also ringed during the morning like this little individual.

2 Stock Dove pulli also ringed when inspecting a Barn Owl nestbox.

Several broods of Swallow were also ringed during the morning.

Huge thanks to Dave Edwards and Kane Brides for inviting me along that morning and for Dave for letting me ring the birds during the morning.