Friday, 26 September 2014

Over and Out ( Part Two )

Another great weeks ringing has been had at Stanford Reservoir with another 310 birds ringed (this is getting expensive) mostly Blackcap 132, and Chiffchaff 72. We also had a smattering of other late warblers which included Reed Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. What a great year we have had for the latter, my favourite breeding Warbler with over 80 now being caught and ringed on site. I have had 2 ringing highlights this week one at the beginning when I caught a Redstart the 2nd this year. They are not a common bird in these parts so its always nice to catch one and later in the week a Coal Tit !!! Yes I know your thinking a Coal Tit, well again all we catch on site is a handful a year so its always a pleasure to catch one. I also managed to catch yet another Blackcap control, this brings it to 5 for the month for this species together with a Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. This is our best ever month for controls and we still have 2-3 ringing sessions left. Anyway that's it for me again till next week as this weekend I'm off to my friends in Cambs so the wife can go on Hen party while I go ringing at my friends farmland site. Good Luck to Adam, Dave and the rest of the team at good old Stanny, catch something to make me envious. --- MICK
Redstart - MJ Townsend

Saturday, 20 September 2014

20th September 2014

Perfect ringing conditions greeted us at Stanford this morning. There was very little wind and visiblity was low for the best part of the day which meant no nasty sunshine to light the nets up. We all arrived at 05:00 and started to erect the nets, minus Mick, who was attending a friends stag night. The movement in the Willows in the net rides suggested that we could be in for a good catch today so tape lures were set for Blackcap and a mix of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest thrown in for good measure. The first round was a meagre catch of just 17 birds of mainly the target species of Blackcap. The second round was far better with 69 birds and predominantly Chiffchaff and Blackcap along with a Lesser Whitethroat, two Sedge Warbler and three Goldcrests. Northants bird county recorder Mike Alibone joined us in time to observe these being processed and was treated to close-ups of a juvenile male Sparrowhawk and a Great Spotted Woodpecker caught on a later net round. The Meadow Pipits didn't really settle in today as there were horse riders using the railtrack for a charity ride although one was caught on the final net round....a Pipit, not a horse! Altogther it was a good day with 93 new birds and 33 retraps processed and there's no sign of things slowing down just yet.
Juvenile male Sparrowhawk - P Maguire

A bit of Farmland ringing

Well I didn't have time to go to Stanford Friday morning as I only had a few hours spare. So I decided I would try ringing at a local farm to me, some 50 miles east of Stanford. All the nets were up by 5.30 with tape lures sounding.Well what a difference. Great Tits, Robins and Dunnocks. By 0800 I was beginning  to think about packing up as the wind was increasing and the mist had turned to a light rain. I then caught 3 Yellowhammers which improved the morning. On the last but one round I caught a young Little Owl (ringing tick) which made it all worthwhile.In total I ringed 24 new birds mostly Robins and Dunnocks and 1 retrap.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Over and Out

Well a new week began on Tuesday for me at Stanford with another great catch in the early morning calm before the wind started to increase at about 09:30. I had a catch of 151 new birds consisting of the usual culprits for this time of year, Blackcap with another 94, Chiffchaff with 24 and Meadow Pipit with 12. It really was just a standard day with nothing too exciting to tell you about. The following day I was out with Adam and all change. It was a windy day right from the off with nothing to recommend it at all. It didn't look or feel very promising right from the start so I wasn't disappointed with the small catch of 79 new compared with recent catches of 150 plus, but never mind we ended up with a few milestones during the day with our 1000th Blackcap for the month, the 3000th warbler ringed this year and finally our 5000th bird ringed for the year, so overall not a bad day!!!!! I am having the MOT done on the car on Thursday and then off to a Stag-do over the weekend so that's the end of my ringing now till next week so I am leaving it all up to Adam, Dave and the rest of the team till I return. Happy ringing!!!!! Mick.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

That was a week That was!!!

Well what an awesome week we have had. It's the best week we have ever had for new birds ringed and controls. In total we ringed 684 and controlled 5, what a great week! It started on Monday the 8th with me getting there at stupid o'clock to get nets up and sound lures on. Bang on first light Blackcaps were everywhere then the second round being a mixture of Blackcap and Chiffchaff. These two species predominated all morning with a smattering of other warblers to provide a bit of variation to the proceedings. The best bird of the day was caught on the 9 o'clock round in the form of a NORTHERN WILLOW WARBLER the third for the site. I was later informed by the county recorder that this was only the third record for Northants all being recorded by us at Stanford Res. On packing up I totalled up to find I had rung 210 birds and had a Blackcap control, the main species being Blackcap with 149 ringed and Chiffchaff with 32. The next day saw me up and at the res again at silly o'clock for the same to happen, this time I had a slightly smaller catch with 168 being rung again the main species being Blackcap with 98 and Chiffchaff 38. Today also saw the start of the Meadow Pipit season with a dozen being caught, but the highlight of the day was a cracking first year male REDSTART together with 2 Blackcap and a Chiffchaff control.
Male Redstart
After two early mornings on the trot I gave Wednesday a miss and waited for Thursday, possibly a bit of a mistake as Thursday produced another stunning day with 190 birds ringed and a Willow Warbler control. Again Blackcaps 111 and Chiffchaff 39 stealing the show. The wind got up spoiling the Meadow Pipit catch limiting it to only 5 birds but you cannot have everything or can you?? as I managed to bag a SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, not a common bird in these parts.
Spotted Flycatcher
Adam and Dave decided to have a moth night on Friday so they got there early and erected the nets for the following day catching a few birds in the process. With the full team available and the good fortune I have had during the week spirits were high in anticipation of a great catch and as sods law would have it the main attraction failed to turn up on cue. The first round only produced 9 birds instead of the hoped for 100+. However, things picked up and we rallied to 100 new and 30 retraps. The team were a little deflated at the lack of anticipated numbers but another Northern Willow Warbler (presumably the 4th for northants) and the second for the week lifted spirits as most of the team had never seen one before.

'Northern' Willow Warbler
Again, Blackcap 50 and Chiffchaff 29 stole the show. We have now ringed 900 Blackcap and 227 Chiffchaff this month, awesome for a truly inland site. We are as far from the sea as you can get in any direction. Hopefully next week will be as good.
Canary-shouldered Thorn - S Watts

''All hail the alien invasion''

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Saturday 6th September

Dave, Simon and I met at the gate at 05:00 to find that Mick had already arrived over an hour earlier and had erected several nets in an attempt to repeat the fantastic Blackcap catches from during the week. Adam joined us and so we split into two groups. Mick and I ringed from Church to Berries and added a 60ft and 40ft net in the field next to the rail track. We had a spectacular first round and had to commandeer Simon to help out with processing. Overall our half of the group totalled 150 new birds and 12 retraps. This included 94 Blackcaps, 28 Chiff Chaffs, 9 Willow Warbler and the capture of 2 more Lesser Whitethroats which has pushed us over the record. From our totals, we caught 1 Robin and 1 Chaffinch which were the only resident birds captured, all others were migrant warblers. Adams group caught 62 new and 26 retraps including a new Garden Warbler and 10 Chiff Chaffs. Todays Blackcap total was 113. Another excellent day's ringing at SRG!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The day to beat all days.

Well the plan was to meet at the track gate at 5 as usual. But on my arrival at 4.45 I saw headlights coming up the track from the direction of the reservoir, it was Mick he'd got up early and erected half of the number of nets. Mick went off to meet Vivien at the groups headquarters The White Hart at South Kilworth. Viv was joining us for the day to be assessed for her C permit. Mick, Viv and Adam arrived back at the gate and we set off to erect the remaining nets. All nets were erected by 0600 so we had a quick coffee before setting off for the first round. Myself and Adam went one way and Mick and Viv went the other.On returning to the ringing area Adam and myself started processing our 30 or 40 birds. After a while we began to wonder where Mick and Viv had got too, when in the distance I saw Mick running ( that's a sight to behold. One I don't think I will ever see again, or should I say don't want to see again ha ha). He had run out of bird bags and came back to the cars to use ours. Mick went back to help Viv and on their return they were ladened down with birds. Myself and Viv set about ringing and even Adam had to forego his cup of tea to ring.The first round had produced over 100 new Blackcaps several Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs, but no Garden Warblers. We only needed 2 more this season to break the record for the group and reach 100 new birds. The second round again produced a large number of Blackcaps, Reed Warblers, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff and one solitary Garden Warbler (we had equaled the record). The next round produced more Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and the 100th Garden Warbler ( a new record for the site). We continued with more net rounds, but fortunately there were fewer birds as the day progressed and the sun lit the nets like a beacons and we had time to have refreshments. By 1300 we had taken down all the nets and sat tallying our mornings ringing experience. We sat exhausted but what a fantastic mornings ringing, we had processed 331 birds of which 298 were new birds. Of that total  Blackcap 216 (6) , Reed Warbler 10, Whitethroat 18, Sedge Warbler 5, Garden Warbler 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Willow Warbler 8 and Chiffchaff 18. Never has such a large number of birds been processed or Blackcaps ringed in one session in the history of the group.
What a awesome day. Time for a well deserved pint at the headquarters.

The trouble with technology.......

At the ripe old age of.....shall we say....over 50, Mick has a little trouble with new technology. When out successfully catching Tree Pipits at Stanford two weeks ago he did manage to take a photograph of one he caught but trying to upload it onto the Blog got a little too complicated.
So here is Micks photo of one of a pair of Tree Pipits, the first to be ringed at Stanford since 1976!
Tree Pipit - MJT