Wednesday, 28 November 2012

30 new birds

Just realised I didn't blog about my weekend ringing activities, so here's a brief report of Saturday morning's excursion.

We were out at our site in Sheffield by 7.15am and over the next 4 hours we had a total of 30 birds including several retraps and a few new birds. I carried on extracting birds and ringed the following birds (new/retraps):

Nuthatch 1male, Goldfinch 1/0, Dunnock 0/1, Robin 0/1, Great Tit 0/1, Blackbird 0/1, Long-tailed Tit 2/0, Tree Sparrow 1/0.

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Woodland ringing and a lakeside walk.

Out and about again this morning with the guys from the Sorby Breck Ringing Group. This week we were back in the woodland garden in Chesterfield, where we were kept very busy with 77 birds, of which only 4 were retraps.

As well as carrying out the identification, ageing and ringing of over 20 birds,  I got more practice extracting birds again this week,including new species such as Goldfinch and Chaffinch.

Birds ringed by me today were as follows (new/retraps): Great Tit 9/0, Blue Tit 5/1, Dunnock 1/0, Coal Tit 4/0, Goldfinch 1/0 and Goldcrest 1/0 ( a lovely male bird).

After the ringing I went out to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Jayne where we had a walk around the newly re-opened Upper Lake. The trees were looking super with their autumnal colours and there were lots of woodland birds flitting about. The highlight of the walk, however, were the 2 Kingfishers we spotted perched up and fishing from the lakeside reedbeds. Gorgrous birds!

Here are a couple of pictures of the lake and heronry.

Weir and Lower Lake
Heronry and Kingfisher perch?

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Linacre WeBS Walk - November 2012

This month's WeBS walk was carried out by 7 members of the Chesterfield RSPB Group and my nephew, Luke (many thanks to everyone who attended and especially to Mandy for writing everything down). Waterbird numbers were average for the time of year, but another Kingfisher sighting was very nice. All the usual woodland birds were recorded.

 Numbers as follows: Mallard (55), Mandarin Duck (c.30), Coot (6), Moorhen (4), Tufted Duck (12), Great-crested Grebe (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (1), Cormorant (2) Kingfisher (1) and Black-headed Gull (15).

As well as the WeBS walk, we also checked and cleaned out the last few nestboxes in time for next year's breeding season. A lovely surprise find of a hibernating bat in one of the boxes was very good. I can't identify the species, but I've sent this photo off to the Derbyshire Mammal Group, so hopefully they'll be able to let me know what it is.

Brown Long-eared Bat
UPDATE: I've just received an email from Steve at the Derbyshire Bat Conservation Trust who identified the bat as a Brown Long-eared Bat - a first for me and possibly Linacre too!!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

BTO Bird Identification Videos

For me one of the most interesting and enjoyable things about watching birds is the chance to learn something new. Getting to grips with similar species can sometimes be really difficult, so finding out that the BTO have created a range of online videos to help with certain birds has been great.

The most recent video helps sort out winter plumaged grebes, but other species covered in previous videos include "grey geese", "white-winged" gulls and warblers. Well worth having a look at. Click here to go straight to the website.

Here are a few pictures of winter plumaged grebes I've been lucky enough to see and photograph. I won't put names on today, so if you can't identify them, you'll have to go to the BTO website to see if you can work them out.




Sorry, not a good photo!!


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Return of the Waxwings

Some years Britain sees a big influx of  Waxwings from Northern Europe, usually when the berry crop has been poor. This winter seems to be a "Waxwing winter", with many hundreds, if not thousands, being reported across the country. See here for the many sightings on the Birdguides website.

I decided to pop across to Cemetery Avenue in Sheffield to catch up with these superb birds and I'm so glad I did as there were at least 100 and possibly up to 200 there this afternoon. Amazing!!!!! I managed to get some decent pictures too.


Also present in the area were half a dozen Fieldfares, Blackbirds and Magpies.

Waxwing and Fieldfare
The Year List moves on one more bird:
162 : Waxwing

Saturday, 10 November 2012

Goldcrests aplenty

This weekend's ringing session took place at Linacre with 3 members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group. In a four hour session we managed a very respectable total of 43 birds, the highlight being the above mentioned Goldcrests, with 4 new birds ringed. Other birds caught this week were: Great, Blue and Coal Tit, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Goldcrest and Nuthatch.

Birds ringed by me were (new/retraps): Great Tit 1/6, Coal Tit 0/1, Blue Tit 4/0, Robin 0/1, Dunnock 2/0, Wren 1/0, Chaffinch 1/0 and Goldcrest 2/0.

No pictures of birds today, but here's a view of the Linacre beech woods in Autumn.

Beech woodlands
There were few other birds moving about the site, but I did manage my first Fieldfares for Linacre this autumn, a few Mandarin Ducks flying over and several Siskins heard calling.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Colour-ringed Mute Swans

Whilst we were away in Scotland we visited a small town called Haddington. The River Tyne runs through the town and whilst walking along the riverside we noticed a family party of Mute Swans, all of whom were wearing colour rings.

I sent the details off to to the BTO  and yesterday I received a reply from the Lothian and Fife Swan and Goose Study Group. The juvenile birds had been ringed on the river in August this year along with the adult male bird . The adult female bird was a little more interesting, as she had been ringed on the same river as a cygnet,  in 1999. She had previously bred/held territory with another bird on the same river in nearby Hailes and East Linton, before moving back to Haddington to breed in 2009.

Unfortunately I didn't manage to get any photos of the swans, but there was a pair of very confiding Goosanders who were obviously used to coming for bread along with the local Mallards and wintering Black-headed Gulls, so I'll include a photo of one of these birds instead.


Monday, 5 November 2012

Linacre - 4th November 2012

Made my first visit of November to Linacre on Sunday and spent a chilly couple of hours walking around all three reservoirs. Overall pretty quiet, but I was very lucky to stumble upon a Kingfisher that was fishing on the middle reservoir. I even managed to see it catch a fish, which was very nice!

Other birds noted were: Mallard (75), Tufted Duck (32), Coot (5), Moorhen (6), Grey Heron (1), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (2), Mandarin Duck (30), Black-headed Gull (40) and Great-crested Grebe (1 adult and 1 juvenile).

I filled up the feeders again, so hopefully we should be able to get down to do some ringing this weekend.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Sheffield ringing - 3rd November 2012

Back home again now and out ringing with the Sorby Breck group. This weekend we went to the private site in Sheffield where we managed 23 birds of 8 different species: Robin, Goldfinch, Goldcrest, Blackbird and Blue, Great and Coal Tit.

The Goldcrest, a male, was a new bird for me and looked absolutely lovely with the orange colour coming through its crest.

Male Goldcrest

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Barns Ness again

Our last day in Scotland saw me heading off to Barns Ness again to look for the Water Pipit. Again, no luck!!!!!! I did, however, have a very nice walk and added two new species to the year list; Twite and Merlin.

First sightings this morning were a few Rock and Meadow Pipits. A pair of Stonechats were in the dunes as was a flock of approximately 20 Linnets. The Twite, again a flock of about 20 birds, were feeding in the same area. The Merlin was spotted flying fast and low over the beach before landing briefly on a rock. Unfortunately, it flew off again within seconds after being mobbed by a Crow.

On the waters edge there were several Curlew, Oystercatcher, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls, as well as two new species for this site: Dunlin and Bar-tailed Godwit.

Year List:
160 - Twite
161 - Merlin