Saturday, 31 December 2016

Darviced Herring Gull

Whilst in Llandudno on Wednesday, I noticed that one of the Herring Gulls on the promenade was wearing a darvic ring.
Herring Gull (EPM)

I managed to get a few photos, and noticed that the combination of 3 orange letters over blue looked familiar. After a bit of searching I realised that this combination was the same as the Lesser Black-backed Gull I'd seen in Worcester in May this year (see here). I contacted the ringer who confirmed that it had indeed been ringed by The Severn Estuary Gull Group at a landfill site in Gloucestershire on 12th December 2009 as an adult bird. It was re sighted a couple of times on the landfill site again in November and December 2010 before moving 187km north to Liverpool, where it was seen in March 2011.  The next sighting was a year later (April 2012)when the bird had moved across to Llandudno, where it seems to have settled. It has been reported another 7 times in Llandudno in the winter months, my sighting being the most recent. It is now 7 years and 16 days since it was ringed. A summer time sighting would now be very useful.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Linacre Shag Dies

I was down at Linacre this morning to carry out this month's WeBS count. We were very hopeful of recording the immature Shag, after missing out on it on the last few visits. We did find it today, but unfortunately it had died. We found it dead in the beech woods on the north side of the bottom reservoir. There were no obvious signs of injury, so presumably it died from starvation. When I arrived home I had an email from Rod Key, the Derbyshire Ornithological Society's bird recorder, showing a picture of the dead bird, taken on 18th December, so I assume this is when it died. It was found under trees which are used for roosting by Cormorants, so perhaps it had been roosting here too, had died and fell down onto the ground? Whatever happened, it was quite sad to see this bird dead, after such a long stay. Who knows when or if I'll ever record another at Linacre.


Following the sad discovery, we carried on walking around the 3 reservoirs, and recorded the following birds: Mallard (124 - the highest count of the year), Tufted Duck (34), Mandarin Duck (25), Cormorant (2), Black-headed Gull (78), Grey Wagtail (2), Kingfisher (1), Moorhen (16) and Coot (6).

The woods were busy today with at least 10 Goldcrests seen.


6+ Treecreepers, a male Bullfinch, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Great-spotted Woodpeckers (4), Nuthatch, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Redwing (3 over), Woodpigeon, Chaffinch and 1, possibly 2 Chiffchaffs, that were feeding in trees on the south side of the middle reservoir, were also present. 



Monday, 19 December 2016

Wader Ringing

Since I started ringing back in September 2011 I've always concentrated on passerines, simply because these are the types of birds that are most plentiful in this area, and therefore, form the majority of the ringing carried out by Sorby Breck Ringing Group.

Well, this weekend I decided to spread my wings (pardon the unintended pun), and join up with the SCAN Wader Ringing Group in North Wales, to try my hand at wader ringing. Our first session took place on the Friday night. We met up at 8pm at Llanfairfechan, where we set out mist nets on a nearby nature reserve to catch Dunlin and Redshank. We were successful with both species, and I was able to learn the techniques of ageing as well as to ring both species. Several of the birds were retraps, but 1 of the Dunlin was especially interesting as it also carried a coloured flag. Steve, the leader of the group, thought it was most likely from a scheme in mid Wales. In addition, we also caught 1 Snipe. Ringing finished at about 1am, and we got to bed at 2am.

Saturday morning started with a 7am wake up call, and we were out by 8am. This time we set up a short distance down the coast, and set up 2 canon nets. This type of bird capture was completely new to me, and very interesting to see and take part in. After  a few hours the tide had come in, and there were enough Redshanks in the catching area. This time we caught 53 Redshank and a single Turnstone. The Turnstone was ringed by another member of the group, but I was able to ring more Redshank, and also began to take a few more measurements, such as wing length, length of tarsus and toe,bill length and head and bill length. The latter measurements involved using set of callipers, which, again, was something new for me. One of the more experienced members of the group did the measurements first, and then I measured the same bird. Unsurprisingly, our measurements differed somewhat, so more practise is needed!

After an early night, I was up again at 7am on Sunday, and out to Beaumaris on Anglesey to set up the cannon nets.

Beach at Beaumaris

Unfortunately, the Oystercatchers that we were hoping to catch didn't settle in the area where we'd set the nets, so we didn't catch any. We then tried a different area in Beaumaris for some Dunlin and Turnstone, again without luck. By this time we'd lost the light and the tides had turned, so we called it a day.

As a first introduction to wader ringing, the weekend was a great success and I'll hopefully be back out with the group again in 2017.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Linacre Ringing - 10th December 2016

I was down at Linacre again yesterday morning with Sorby Breck Ringing Group and Luke, for what will most likely be our last ringing session there of 2016. It was grey, overcast, still and 11 degrees when we arrived, and we caught 48 birds of 6 species in just over 3 hours.

Birds caught were (new/retrap): Blue Tit (10/7), Great Tit (12/6), Coal Tit (3/2), Robin (1/0), Goldcrest (5/0) and Blackbird (2/0). One of the Blackbirds, a first year male, had "scalloping" on its feathers, which points to it possibly being a continental bird. Two of the Goldcrests were long winged, and showed grey around the neck, so too, may be of a continental origin. Nice!

In between net rounds we spotted the following: Sparrowhawk (2 sightings, possibly of the same bird), Magpie (1), Mistle Thrush (5, possibly 6, including 1 singing briefly, Great-spotted Woodpecker (2), Grey Heron (1 flew over), Lesser Redpoll (flock of c.15 birds), Lesser Black-backed Gull (2 over), a small warbler species, possibly a Chiffchaff and, best of all, an amazing sighting of between 600 - 700 Starlings that flew low over the trees early morning! This by far the highest ever count of Starlings at Linacre- very impressive!

Luke popped down to the reservoirs to see if he could find the Shag. Unfortunately, it couldn't be located, but hopefully it's still there. He did, however, have a couple of Moorhens, 1 Coot, Black-headed Gulls and a Grey Wagtail. A good morning all round!

Saturday, 10 December 2016

Dusky Thrush!!!

Last Sunday evening photos of a Dusky Thrush appeared on Twitter. The bird in question had been found in Beeley, a short half an hour drive from home. It was the first record for Derbyshire, and only the 12th record for Britain, so definitely worth a look at. Unfortunately, due to work, I couldn't get across during the week, so I popped across this afternoon and, after an hour and a half, managed to catch up with this bird. It was showing distantly (about 300m away) feeding in a field with a couple of Blackbirds, a Song Thrush and a Redwing. The photos I got aren't worth posting, so instead, to see what one looks like, follow this link to Darley Dale Wildlife's blog here.

This bird is my 3rd new bird of the year (lifer), and is obviously also a Derbyshire, British and Year Tick, taking the Year List to 184 species.

Year List update:
184 - Dusky Thrush (lifer)

Monday, 5 December 2016

Garden Ringing

Sunday morning was perfect for ringing, with grey, overcast skies and no wind. I was out with Sorby Breck Ringing Group at the private garden site in Wingerworth, where we had a steady number of birds, resulting in 46 birds of 8 species caught.

Numbers were (new/retrap): Blue Tit (12/5), Great Tit (6/4), Coal Tit (3/3), Robin (1/3), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1/0), Chaffinch (4/0), Goldfinch (2/0) and Wren (2/0).

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Starling Murmuration - Middleton Moor

News of a large Starling murmuration/ roost at Middleton Moor near Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire, was posted on Darley Dale Birder's website earlier in the winter. Yesterday, Jayne and I decided to drive up to have a look. We arrived at about 3.20pm, and the first birds began to arrive almost immediately. In the next 45 minutes tens of thousands of birds flew in and roosted in the reedbeds. Unfortunately the birds didn't "murmurate" much tonight, but it was still an excellent experience.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Linacre 3rd December 2016

After a break of 2 weeks, Luke and I were down at Linacre again this morning. It was quite mild ( 4 - 6 degrees celsius), grey, overcast and completely still. Waterbirds were present in good numbers, and we had a very nice close encounter with a very confiding Robin.


Waterbirds present were: Mallard (112 - the highest count of the year so far), Tufted Duck (57), Mandarin Duck (29), Coot (7), Moorhen (19 - again, the highest count of the year), Grey Wagtail (5 - a very good count for December), Grey Heron (1), Black-headed Gull (c.50), Little Grebe (1) and Cormorant (1). Unfortunately, we couldn't locate the immature Shag today,  but it was reported yesterday on the Sheffield Bird Study Group website, the first record for December.

Fieldfares and Redwings were present in the surrounding fields, with 18 and c.20 respectively reported. The Fieldfares flew over, while the Redwings were feeding in the Hawthorn bushes by the top reservoir. A Mistle Thrush was also heard in this area, and a couple of Blackbirds were also feeding on the berries. Siskin were heard, along with a couple of Goldcrests, Jay, Wren and a Magpie.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Linacre Shag - one year and counting...

Last November, on the 21st,  I was lucky enough to find a couple of Shags at Linacre, my first ever record at this site. Over the next few hours, the number of birds increased to 8 (!), 3 of which stayed until the start of 2016. 2 were present until March, when unfortunately, 1 bird was found dead, attached to some discarded fishing line. The final bird has remained all year, and so 21st November 2016 marked the first anniversary of its discovery. Here are 2 pictures taken in poor light at 4pm this afternoon as the bird swam close to the dam wall of the middle reservoir.


Let's hope it stays into 2017 now!!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Linacre Ringing and a nice retrap

The weather forecast for this morning was dry and settled, so I was down at Linacre with 3 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group, and my nephew, Luke, for a ringing session. Ringing was steady and in the 3 and a half hours on site we caught 22 new birds of 7 species. Birds caught were (new/retrap): Blue Tit (7/0), Great Tit (5/2), Coal Tit (0/1), Goldcrest (1/0), Robin (2/2), Chaffinch (1/0) and Nuthatch (1/0).


Whilst ringing at Linacre we often retrap birds that we've previously ringed here. As you can see from the totals above, today we re trapped, amongst others, 2 Great Tits, 1 of which was wearing a B ring. As soon as we see a Great Tit wearing a B ring we get excited, because this means the bird was ringed as a pullus, in the nest (adult birds are ringed with an A ring). Anyway, this afternoon I found out that today's bird was ringed at Linacre Reservoirs, by me, in a nestbox just above the top reservoir, at 7.30pm on Thursday 4th June 2015 (thanks for the details David).  It came from a brood of 5 birds, and this sighting is the first since it was ringed. All the birds ringed in this box fledged successfully, but none of the other birds have been re trapped ... yet. See blog post here for details of the ringing trip. Here's a picture of one of today's Great Tits (can't remember if it's the re trapped bird or not!).

Great Tit

In between net rounds we also recorded the following birds: Kestrel (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Jay, Starling (c.20), Magpie (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Bullfinch (heard), Siskin (heard), Long-tailed Tit (heard), Woodpigeon (10s) and the immature Shag (found on the bottom reservoir by Luke- thanks).

Friday, 18 November 2016

Waxwing in Chesterfield

For the last few weeks there has been an increasing numbers of Waxwings being reported on Birdguides. There were a couple of reports in Derbyshire last week, and then, at the start of the week a report came through of 2 or 3 birds that were present in the Donkey Derby pub car park in Chesterfield. I had a drive down earlier in the week, without success, but today I returned, and managed to see 1 bird. Here are a few photos.


Year List update:
183: Waxwing

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Ringing and Linacre

No ringing last week because of the weather, but I managed to get out this morning with David from The Group. We had a couple of hours at a private site in Sheffield, where we caught and ringed 11 birds of 7 species (new/retrap) : Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 0/1, Coal Tit 2/0, Goldfinch 2/0, Wren 1/0, House Sparrow 1/0 and Dunnock 1/0. Thanks David, for letting me ring them all!

I haven't managed to get around Linacre this weekend, but I did have about half an hour there this afternoon to see if I could find the Shag. Thankfully, after a "no-show" last weekend, it was back on its favourite perch on the bottom reservoir. Next week, the 21st, is the "anniversary" of the discovery of 8 Shags at Linacre (see here), so I'm hopeful that this one will remain until then. I'm keeping everything crossed.

Sunday, 6 November 2016

First Frosts

Luke and I managed a couple of visits to Linacre this weekend, and spent just under four hours on site. We walked around all 3 reservoirs, but failed to see the immature Shag on either visit. Hopefully it hasn't gone, but was just keeping a low profile. Only time will tell...

The weather on both visits were dry and bright, but, especially on Sunday, the temperature had dropped (to just 2 degrees celsius), and a strong, cold wind had picked up.

Top reservoir

Despite the no-show from the Shag we did still see good numbers of waterbirds, especially Mallard (96), Mandarin (85), Tufted Duck (62) and Moorhen (16; 13 adults and 3 juveniles). Other birds seen were: Black-headed Gull (59), Coot (4), Cormorant (3 adults), Grey Wagtail (2) and Little Grebe (1).

Black-headed Gull

Jays were very vocal in the woods and Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tit were also seen. Siskin were also heard overhead as were Redwing, and 5 Mistle Thrush were seen, including 4 together in the Rowan tree by the top reservoir.

Mistle Thrush

Whilst walking around the top reservoir  we also spotted these Fly Agaric toadstools.

Fly Agaric

Monday, 31 October 2016

Linacre Birds and a Stoat

After Saturday's ringing session at Linacre, I had a couple of hours walking around the reservoirs on Sunday morning. The weather was perfect, being dry, still and 11 degrees, and I was rewarded with the highest counts of the year (so far) for Mandarin and Mallard.


Mandarins were everywhere (!), with a minimum of 117 being recorded, but I'm sure there were more that I missed. Mallard numbers reached 92, and there had obviously been an arrival of Tufted Ducks, with 59 present. The immature Shag was busy fishing on the middle reservoir again and an adult Cormorant was present on the top reservoir. Coots and Moorhens numbered 7 each, while 2 Grey Wagtails and 1 Grey Heron were also seen. Black-headed Gull numbers continued to rise, with 22 the maximum seen and a Kingfisher was reported by a couple of dog walkers.

I always check the Rowan trees by the top reservoir, and on Sunday there were 2 Mistle Thrushes, 1 Fieldfare and at least 2 Redwings present.

The final highlight of the morning was a Stoat that was seen running along the ground by the top reservoir. Luckily, it stood still long enough for me to get a quick shot.


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Crest Fest - Part 2

Back in October 2014 I wrote a post entitled Crest Fest (see here), after a session where we'd ringed 5 Goldcrests in 1 session. Well, this Autumn we've had an excellent run with this species, so I thought I'd return to the title for a second time. So far, at Linacre, we've caught the following numbers: 12 in September (11 new and a retrap), 13 at the start of October (12 new and  a retrap) and another 20 (!) yesterday (18 new birds and 2 retraps). As always, these birds could be locally born or they could be birds that have migrated into the country and are now filtering inland. Only time, and a few retraps will tell.

Along with the Goldcrests, we also caught the following birds (new/retrap): Robin 3/0, Blue Tit 5/4, Great Tit 7/1, Coal Tit 2/0, Long-tailed Tit 0/1, Nuthatch 0/2 and Goldfinch 4/0.

Apart from the ringing, we also saw a hunting Kestrel, 2 flocks of Fieldfares (20 and 9), calling Tawny Owls and a few Redwings flying over.

1 last sighting of note was a Bank Vole, seen by David. This is the first sighting of this species at Linacre, although I'm sure it, and many other species are regularly found here. More surveying required!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Linacre - 26th October 206

I had a couple of hours to spare this morning, so decided to pop down to Linacre to see what was about.

It was quite quiet, but the highlight was, as always, the immature Shag, that was very busy swimming all around the middle reservoir, diving constantly. At times, it was coming in closely to the dam wall, so I took some more photos!


Other birds seen on the reservoirs today were: Mallard (15), Tufted Duck (26), Mandarin Duck (43), Moorhen (2), Coot (2), Grey Wagtail (3), Little Grebe (1) and Black-headed Gull (22).

Redwing, Jackdaw, Carrion Crows and Starlings (15), were also seen and heard flying over the site.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Common and Jack Snipe

I spent a few hours at RSPB Old Moor in Barnsley today. Whilst there I spent the majority of the time watching Common and Jack Snipe from the Family Hide.

There were at least 7 Common Snipe on show, including 1 that fed in the grass in front of the hide. I managed to get some nice shots and a little video (see here).


The Jack Snipe was also present in front of the hide for a short while, before flying off to island number 7, where it spent the next few hours. I didn't get any photos whilst it was near the hide unfortunately, but I did manage to get a few "digiscoped" efforts thanks to Amanda from the Chesterfield RSPB Group, who was at Old Moor volunteering. Thanks Amanda! Here's a shot of both species side by side for comparison.

Jack Snipe (back bird) and Common Snipe

Jack Snipe (left hand bird) and Common Snipe

Other birds seen from the hide included Wigeon, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Coot, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Shelduck, Pied Wagtail , Kingfisher, Black-headed, Lesser Black-backed  and Common Gulls.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Linacre WeBS - 16th October 2016

Luke and I were down at Linacre at first light this morning to carry out this month's BTO WeBS walk. We were on site by 7.30am, and managed an hour in the dry, before the heavens opened and it poured down! Luckily, we were going around the top reservoir by then, so we didn't get too wet.

The good news is that the immature Shag was still present. I'd last seen it on the 1st, and it hadn't been seen since, but today it was back on its favourite perch on the bottom reservoir, before flying up to the middle reservoir for a spot of fishing. 2 Cormorants, an adult and a juvenile, were also seen.

October is usually the best month for ducks at Linacre, and the Mandarins in particular, put on a good show today, with an impressive 75 seen. This is the highest count of the year. 62 Mallards were also counted, along with 42 Tufted Ducks, 4 Coots, 15 Moorhens, including 6 birds in juvenile plumage, 3 Grey Wagtails, 1 Grey Heron (heard), 9 Black-headed Gulls, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (flew over), 1 Great-crested Grebe and 3 Little Grebes.

Birds seen or heard in the surrounding woods included: Redwing (100+ flying over), Fieldfare (2 - the first of the winter), Great-spotted Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Wren (singing), Robin (singing), and a nice flock of mixed tits including Long-tailed  and Blue Tits, along with Goldcrest.

Saturday, 15 October 2016

Linacre Ringing - 15th October 2016

Weather conditions for ringing were perfect this morning, and with good numbers of Redwing being ringed by members of The Group last weekend, we decided to head down to Linacre this morning to try our luck. We arrived in the dark, at 6:30am, and got the nets up and sound systems on to begin attracting the Redwings down.  The first net round produced 5 birds, and by the end of the session at 11.30am we'd caught and ringed a very respectable 15 birds. Its hard to estimate how many birds were attracted into the area, but there must have been 100+ throughout the morning.

Other birds ringed this morning were (new/retrap): Goldcrest (12/1), Wren (0/1), Robin (6/0), Blackbird (1/0), Long-tailed Tit (11/0), Blue Tit (23/5), Great Tit (11/1), Coal Tit (4/0) Goldfinch (4/0) and Treecreeper (1/0), bring the morning's total to 96 birds.

Here's a photo of this mornings' Treecreeper, a juvenile, just before it flew off. Love the beak and those amazing claws!!


Other birds seen or heard this morning included Tawny Owl (heard first thing), Skylark (1 over, the first since June), Nuthatch and Woodpigeon.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

RSPB Titchwell

Whenever Jayne and I are in Norfolk we like to visit the Titchwell RSPB Reserve. We spent 3 hours there this afternoon, and had some excellent sightings including 6 new "year ticks".

The "best" new bird seen today was a Pectoral Sandpiper. Not only was this my first for a couple of years, but it was also my best ever views, and I even managed to get a half decent photo or two.

Pectoral Sandpiper

The other "year ticks" seen today were: Jack Snipe (brief sightings of 2 bobbing birds), Bearded Tit (heard, but not seen from the main path), Grey Plover (4 seen), Spotted Redshank (1 winter plumaged bird) and Bar-tailed Godwit (6 on the beach).

Bar-tailed Godwit

Amongst the many other birds seen today were: Marsh Harrier, Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank, Little Stint, Snipe, Sanderling, Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Golden Plover, Ruff, Cetti's Warbler, Redwing, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Black-tailed Godwit.

Little Egret

Back-tailed Godwit

Year List update:
177 – Bearded Tit
178 – Bar-tailed Godwit
179 – Grey Plover
180 – Jack Snipe
181 – Pectoral Sandpiper
182 – Spotted Redshank

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Yellow-browed Warbler!!

Unfortunately, this is not a Linacre report, but instead refers to 2 birds that I've seen today in Holkham Pines in Norfolk. This site is a much more usual spot for this species, but is still an excellent record for me. I tried hard to get a photo, but the only one I could manage was this lovely one of the tree the bird was flitting around in - enjoy!

Yellow-browed Warbler tree (honestly!)

The warblers, were seen on a walk from Wells-next-the-Sea to Holkham, that Jayne and I did today. We set off in Wells, walked down to the beach and along to Holkham Gap. We then walked up through the pines, watched the Yellow-brows, and visited Joe Jordan Hide. Along the way, we also recorded Redshank, Turnstone, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Wheatear (4 by Holkham Gap), Marsh Harrier (2 over Holkham Marsh), Grey Heron, Gannet, Pink-footed Goose Redwing (c.20 over - first of the winter), 1 Grey Partridge (year tick) and a Red Admiral feeding in the sunshine on ivy.

In Wells itself, we also saw House Sparrows, HerringCommon and Black-headed Gulls, Dark-bellied Brent Geese (first of the year), Mallard and Starlings.


Year List update:
175: Yellow-browed Warbler
176: Grey Partridge
Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Welcome Back

It was a misty start to October as I walked around Linacre this morning. I spent two and a half hours on site, and "welcomed back" the first Black-headed Gulls of the winter. I had a small flock fly over in July, but today's birds were the first recorded on the water since March.

Black-headed Gull

An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull also flew up the reservoir, but failed to stop. This is the fourth record of the year. Other water birds seen this morning were: Mallard (45), Mandarin Duck (36), Tufted Duck (31), Grey Heron (3), Grey Wagtail (3), Cormorant (3), Coot ( 6 adults), Moorhen (11 - 8 adults and 3 juveniles), Kingfisher (1), Great-crested Grebe (4 - 2 adults and 2 juveniles) and the immature Shag.


The woodlands around the reservoirs had a few singing birds today, including Robin, Wren, Coal Tit and 1 Chiffchaff. 3 Mistle Thrushes flew over the car park and Jay, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Common Buzzard and Woodpigeon were also seen.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Summer Migrants still here

Yesterday morning I was down at Linacre with 4 other members of the Sorby Breck Ringing Group for a ringing session. We'd moved the feeding station to another area a couple of weeks ago, and this was the first session with it in its new home. We were there for nearly 4 hours (6:30am to 10.15am), and caught 25 birds of 8 species, including, as the title of today's post suggests, a couple of summer migrant birds.

The 2 summer visitors caught today were, Chiffchaff and Blackcap. In total, 5 new Chiffchaffs were caught and 1 new Blackcap, a juvenile female birds weighing just over 18g. This bird was also beginning to build up fat reserves ready for its migration to sunnier climes. I say they are summer migrants, but Chiffchaff has now been recorded in every month bar February at Linacre, so it is possible that some of these birds may stay for the whole year, or the winter birds that have been recorded here, may come here from elsewhere. Hopefully, we'll get some recoveries of these birds ringed today to help us build up a picture of what they do in the winter months.

We also caught 12 Goldcrests today (11 new birds and a retrap). Again, we tend to think of birds caught here as being "home grown" birds, but last year, we caught a Goldcrest that had been ringed on the east coast at Spurn Point, so it is just as possible that the birds ringed today could have come from there, or even further afield.

The other species caught today were (new/retrap): Blue Tit 2/1, Coal Tit 0/1, Robin 0/1 ( a juvenile bird that we originally ringed at Linacre earlier in the year), Dunnock 1/0 and Wren 1/0.

In between net rounds we recorded the following birds around the site: Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 over), Raven (1 over), Mistle Thrush ( 1 over), Sparrowhawk (1 over), Tawny Owl (1 heard calling on arrival) and House Martin (2 over). Finally, a single Silver Y moth was found feeding on a buddleia bush.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Common Scoter at Linacre

I rarely go to Linacre after work, but news of 4 Common Scoter on the Derbyshire Ornithological Society's website on the 19th (Monday) had me over there yesterday evening to see if they were still present. Unfortunately they weren't!! I've only ever seen one, a male, at Linacre, and that was back in October 2007, so I'm pretty annoyed to have missed these birds. Here's a photo of the male bird from 2007.

Common Scoter, October 2007

Despite not seeing the birds, it was still a lovely, sunny evening and I did see the immature Shag (now present for 10 months and 1 day), a juvenile Cormorant (the first record since the end of August), a couple of Speckled Wood butterflies basking in the sun and a Silver Y moth.

Speckled Wood

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Ringing and Walking

Today's title refers to the two things I have been doing today. The day started with my first ringing session since August with 3 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group, and continued with a lovely walk around Yorkshire Sculpture Park with Jayne.

The ringing session took place at the private site in Wingerworth. The temperature when we arrived at 6.30am was just 6 degrees, and it took a while for the birds to wake up, but, by 10am, when we packed up, we'd caught 54 birds of 11 species. Numbers were as follows (new/retrap): Dunnock 3/0, Robin 6/0, Goldcrest 4/0, Coal Tit 3/2, Blue Tit 14/1, Great Tit 9/0, Nuthatch 2/1, Chaffinch 6/0, Greenfinch 1/0, Goldfinch 1/0 and Bullfinch 1/0.

The sun had come out by the end of the session, and rose to a very nice 21 degrees by the afternoon. Jayne and I decided to drive up to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park to pick up a picture and to have a walk around the lake. Birdwise, it was quite quiet, with just  the usual Jackdaws, Mallards, Coots, Moorhens, Mute Swans,Canada and Greylag Geese seen around the water. We also heard a Kingfisher, and spotted a couple of Grey Wagtails flying around by the overflow from the bottom lake. Given the warm, sunny weather, we expected to see a few butterflies, and we were in luck with 1 Comma, 1 Large White, 1 male Brimstone and about 10 Speckled Woods seen. We also managed to see three species of dragonfly; 1 Common Darter, 2 Migrant Hawkers and a female Southern Hawker, that was ovipositing into  a piece of wood in the round pond by the centre.

Southern Hawker

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Linacre WeBS - 17th September 2016

Luke and I were down at Linacre at 7am this morning to carry out this month's WeBS walk. We spent a couple of hours walking around the site recording all the waterbirds, including the immature Shag and a Kingfisher, both of which was seen on the bottom reservoir. The Kingfisher sighting was my first at Linacre since the end of August. The Shag was in its usual perch, and Luke manage to walk down there to get some nice photos, including these two.


Other waterbirds recorded were as follows: Mallard (79), Tufted Duck (11), Mandarin Duck (44), Moorhen (7, 4 adults and 3 juveniles), Coot (6; 5 adults and 1 juvenile), Grey Wagtail (3), Grey Heron (1) and Great-crested Grebe (4; 2 adults and 2 juveniles).

Mallard saying hello!

The usual suspects were heard and seen in the woods, and a small group of approximately 13 Swallows was also over the top reservoir, along with 1 singing Chiffchaff.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Linacre - 10th September 2016

I was supposed to be ringing at Linacre on Saturday morning, but the weather forecast gave wind and rain, so we decided to call off. As always, when I woke up on Saturday, it wasn't raining or windy at all, so instead of ringing, I had a couple of hours walking around all 3 reservoirs.

The highlight for me was the immature Shag, now into it's 10th month (surely it'll make it to the 1 year mark in november?), that was still present on the bottom reservoir. I managed to get quite close, and got a nice photo of the bird perched up. It's also nice to see that the bird's eye is starting to turn green, just like an adult's.


Other birds noted on the reservoirs were: Mallard (60), Mandarin Duck (68, including 30 together on the top reservoir), Tufted Duck (14), Grey Wagtail (8, all together on the overflow of the top reservoir), Grey Heron (2), Great-crested Grebe (4; 2 adults and 2 juveniles), Little Grebe (3 breeding plumaged adults all together), Coot (3 adults) and Moorhen (8: 5 adults and 3 juveniles).

Summer migrants were still present, with c.30 Swallows and 3 House Martins over the water, and a singing Chiffchaff by the boardwalk on the top reservoir.

The last record wasn't a bird, but a slug! It was sliding ( is that the correct word?) across the path by the top reservoir, and was at least 10cm long. I think its a Leopard Slug, and is my first ever record. More details here.

Leopard Slug