Monday, 27 October 2014

Linacre- 26th October 2014

I haven't been down to Linacre for a couple of weeks, so I took advantage of the extra hour yesterday morning, and had a couple of hours walking around the site. It was very windy, but at 12 degrees, it was also pretty warm.

Wildfowl numbers were about right for the time of year, with Mallards at 56, Coot (8), Moorhen (4- fewer than expected), Tufted Duck (14), Grey Wagtail (1), Pied Wagtail (1 on the barbed wire fence by the main entrance), Kingfisher (1- reported by my nephew, Luke, later in the day), Cormorant (4 - via Luke), Black-headed Gull (22), Little Grebe (1) and Mandarin Duck (69 on the middle reservoir- the highest count of the year so far).

The woods were quite quiet, the exception being a large and vocal mixed tit flock, mainly Long-tailed Tits, around the top reservoir. Unfortunately no winter thrushes around today.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

"Continental" Song Thrush

The weather forecast for the weekend didn't look good for any ringing, but, despite some strongish winds, we managed to get out for a few hours to the private site in Sheffield. We were out for just over four hours and managed to scrape together 13 birds.

Another 2 Goldcrests were good to see, but the most interesting bird of the morning was a Song Thrush that we caught in the first net round. It was aged as a 3 i.e. a bird born this year, but was thought to be a "continental" bird due to its greyer colouration. Hopefully it will survive the winter, fly back to mainland Europe and turn up in a net in Sweden next year.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Garden Mega!!

I don't blog that much about the birds in my garden, but today's an exception because I had a "mega" bird in - a Great-spotted Woodpecker!

Great-spotted Woodpecker

Looking back in my BTO Garden Birdwatch notes, the last time I recorded a woodpecker in the garden was in July 2001. Today's bird, as you can see from the picture, was feeding on fat pellets, which I only put out on Thursday, so hopefully, if I keep them topped up, it will return over the winter.

Other birds seen this afternoon, included this female Sparrowhawk, a male Sparrowhawk, that I didn't manage to get a photo of, 4 Greenfinch, 3 House Sparrow, a Robin, 2 Collared Doves, 3 Woodpigeons, 4 Blackbirds, 4 Starlings, 3 Blue Tit, 2 Great Tit 1 Coal Tit, and 15+ Goldfinch. A flock of approximately 30 Redwings were feeding on the Hawthorns behind the house. Hopefully, I can encourage a few into the garden over the winter. Bring on the snow!
Sparrowhawk (female)

Linacre WeBS - October 2014

While I was ringing at Linacre last Saturday, Mandy from the Chesterfield RSPB Group was busy walking around the reservoirs carrying out the monthly WeBS walk.

Nothing spectacular to report, but good numbers for the start of the winter period, and the first Black-headed Gulls (15) since April. Other birds recorded were: Mallard (56), Tufted Duck (17), Mandarin Duck (10, )Moorhen (8), Coot (4), Little Grebe (1), Grey Heron (1) and Cormorant (5).

In addition, a flock of approximately 50 Pink-footed Geese was seen flying over to the west. These too were the first of the winter.

Saturday, 11 October 2014

A Golden Morning

Today's blog title comes from Alan this week (thanks Alan), and refers to the fact that out of the 55 birds we managed to catch this morning at Linacre, 10 were Goldcrests and 10 were Goldfinch.

In addition to these lovely birds, we also managed to catch 3 Bullfinches, 3 Blue Tits, 4 Great Tits, 3 Coal Tits, 6 Chaffinches, 2 Wrens, 8 Dunnocks, 5 Robins and 1 Chiffchaff. The Chiffchaff was a very nice bird to see, especially as we heard 1 singing at the same time that this one was being ringed, so we know that there were at least 2 on site today. It had a fat score of 5 and a muscle score of 3, so it will presumably be heading south soon. Interestingly, I also had 2 feeding in the garden this afternoon. Good records for the BTO's Garden Birdwatch Scheme.

My personal totals were (new/retrap):
Robin 1/0, Great Tit 2/1, Blue Tit 0/2, Coal Tit 0/2, Dunnock 1/1, Chaffinch 2/1, Bullfinch 1/0, Chiffchaff 1/0, Goldfinch 2/0 and Goldcrest 2/0.

Other birds seen or heard during this morning's session included 5 over-flying Cormorants, a lovely flock of approximately 50 Pink-footed Geese flying over to the north west (my first at Linacre this year), 3 Red-legged Partridges (feeding in the fields by the main entrance, and again, my first at Linacre in 2014), and several Skylark that were heard flying over, but not seen.

The sun was out most of the morning, which meant I was also able to log a couple of insects, namely a Harlequin Ladybird and a Red Admiral butterfly.

Harlequin Ladybird

Red Admiral

Tuesday, 7 October 2014

Crest Fest

Today's title comes courtesy of David (thank you David), and relates to the fact that this week's ringing session, in Wingerworth, caught a very impressive 5 Goldcrests. This isn't a species we catch a lot, but, by putting on a tape lure, we managed to greatly increase our total .

As well as the Goldcrests, we also managed to catch another 46 birds of 8 different species (Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blue, Great and Coal Tit) during a three hour session.

My personal totals were (new/retrap):
Goldfinch 2/0, Blue Tit 0/3, Great Tit 1/0, Goldcrest 1/0, Coal Tit 0/1, Robin 2/0 and Wren 2/0.