Thursday, 31 March 2011

Recent Recoveries and Controls - Batch 2!

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5262297
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 26/6/2010
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 22/9/2010
Recovery site - Marton Mere, Blackpool
State of bird - found dead on waterline
Duration since being ringed - 88 days
Distance - 87km

Species - Redshank
Ring number - DD89528
Age - {6}
Ringing date - 13/2/2010
Ringed - Bangor Harbour, Gwynedd
Recovery date - 15/3/2010
Recovery site - Moreton, Wirral, Merseyside
State of bird - controlled
Duration since being ringed - 30 days
Distance - 69km

Species - Black Headed Gull
Ring number - EL48820
Age - {6}
Ringing date - 10/1/2010
Ringed - Llanfairfechan Promenade, Conwy
Recovery date - 7/1/2011
Recovery site - River Dee, Chester, Cheshire
State of bird - read in field
Duration since being ringed - 362 days
Distance - 74km

Species - Black Headed Gull
Ring number - EL48830
Age - [6}
Ringing date - 10/1/2010
Ringed - Llanfairfechan Promenade, Conwy
Recovery date - 8/1/2011
Recovery site - Llanfairfechan, Conwy
State of bird - read in field
Duration since being ringed - 363 days
Distance - 0km

Species - Oystercatcher
Ring number - FH29739
Age - {3}
Ringing date - 24/10/2010
Ringed - Llanfairfechan, Conwy
Recovery date - 29/12/2010
Recovery site - Pentre Du Crossing, Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd
State of bird - found dead
Duration since being ringed - 66 days
Distance - 3km

Species - Oystercatcher
Ring number - FP81131
Age - {8}
Ringing date - 24/9/2006
Ringed - Llanfairfechan, Conwy
Recovery date - 2/6/2009
Recovery site - Asmundarstadir, Melrakkasletta, Nordur-Thingeyjar, NordurThingeyjarsysla, Iceland
State of bird - read in field
Duration since being ringed - 982 days
Distance - 1612km

Species - Razorbill
Ring number - K10452
Age - {6}
Ringing date - 24/6/2006
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 15/6/2010
Recovery site - Bardsey Island, Gwynedd
State of bird - controlled
Duration since being ringed - 1452 days
Distance - 82km

It just goes to show that not all birds stay in the same place and some do fancy a holiday once in a while..

Recent Recoveries and Controls - Batch 1!

Searching through my emails the other day and I came across some interesting recoveries and controls that Steve had sent me..

Species - Shag
Ring number - 1426769
Age - Pullus {1}
Ringing date - 11/6/2009
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 9/1/2011
Recovery site - Aberffraw - Isle of Anglesey
State of bird - found dead on beach
Duration since being ringed - 577 days
Distance - 34km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5197773
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 20/6/1998
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 8/1/2011
Recovery site - Condette, Pas-de-calais, France
State of bird - found by lake
Duration since being ringed - 4585 days
Distance - 488km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5248040
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 13/7/2008
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 3/11/2010
Recovery site - Barfleur, Manche, France
State of bird - Identified by colour rings
Duration since being ringed - 843 days
Distance - 449km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5248045
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 13/7/2008
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 9/11/2010
Recovery site - Seaforth Nature Reserve, Merseyside
State of bird - Identified by colour rings
Duration since being ringed - 849 days
Distance - 69km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5248045
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 13/7/2008
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 28/8/2010
Recovery site - Seaforth Nature Reserve
State of bird - Identified by colour rings
Duration since being ringed - 776 days
Distance - 69km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5248281
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 27/6/2009
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 28/8/2010
Recovery site - Seaforth Nature Reserve, Merseyside
State of bird - Identified by coour rings
Duration since being ringed - 427 days
Distance - 69km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5248297
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 27/6/2009
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 29/10/2009
Recovery site - Seaforth Nature Reserve, Merseyside
State of bird - Identified by colour rings
Duration since being ringed - 124 days
Distance - 69km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5262279
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 26/6/2010
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 16/10/2010
Recovery site - Stocks Reservoir
State of bird - Identified by colour rings
Duration since being ringed - 112 days
Distance - 130 km

Species - Cormorant
Ring number - 5262289
Age - {1}
Ringing date - 26/6/2010
Ringed - Puffin Island - Isle of Anglesey
Recovery date - 7/9/2010
Recovery site - Bellmoor Gravel Pit, Retford, Nottinghamshire
State of bird - Identified by colour rings -
Duration since being ringed - 73 days
Distance - 203km

Scandinavian Swap!

In this particular post, you will have to jog your memories back to the cold month of February when myself and Zac hinchcliffe, spent several days reading Black Headed Gull rings down in Bangor Harbour.. After successfully reading 3 foreign ringed gulls, on 15th March, Zac received a letter from Finland regarding one of these birds.

Ringing information:-

Ring number - ST239892
Species - Black Headed Gull {Chroicocephalus ridibundus}
Age - Full grown - hatched before 2005
Ringed on - 15/4/2006
Ringing site - Turku, Turku - Pori, Finland
Status - Healthy, wild bird
Method of capture - Caught with trap
Ringer - Jyrki Oja

Recovery date - 8/2/2011
Recovery site - Bangor Harbour, Gwynedd, United Kingdom
Status - Alive

This bird had been missing for 4 Years, 9 Months and 23 Days since the date of being ringed! Also, it had travelled 1,788km in a South, Southwest direction..

If your wondering the logic behind the title it's because after reading the finnish ringed bird in Bangor Harbour, a few later, we received our first movement of a Black Headed Gull from the new colour-ringing project. In fact, on 25th March Kane received an email from Morten Helberg in Norway regarding 2A00!!

This was the first bird to have been ringed as part of the new project and he was now in Norway! Fantastic movement! The bird was ringed on 1st March at Bowness-on-Windermere. The bird was last sighted there on 17th March by Cumbrian bird ringer, Robin Sellers. Most interestingly, the next report of 2A00 came in on 24th March from Radhuskaia, Oslo Havn, Norway!

Let's hope the others go this far. If you would like to see where exactly this bird was last seen in Norway, check out Kane's blog for more information @

Black Headed Gull legs and Map, photographed by Zac Hinchcliffe

The North West Black Headed Gull Study!!

I have currently a large amount of work to do before I finish university for the easter holidays, however, for the next few hours I shall update the blog with my most recent ringing activities. More importantly, there is one that I should have published last month. This is ofcourse the new Black Headed Gull Study that is being carried out in the North West. The brains of this new project are Ciaran and Kane and it only began in March 2011. It is about time this brilliant new project is ditributed on a grander scale, so here is the original information sheet where you can read all about the project and it's aims..

In 2010 the Logan Hurst Ringing Group had a successful winter of catching adult Black Headed Gulls across the North West with over 100 caught by hand, and in the past two years we have ringed just over 800 pullus at a colony at Killington Reservoir in Cumbria. Despite this great effort coupled with the usually high recovery rate from ringing Black Headed Gulls, we have had very few recoveries of these birds away from their ringing sites. Within colonies there is usually a high mortality rate and this may be the reason why we haven't had many birds away from Killington. With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to start colour marking the Gulls with darvic rings. The main aims of the project are to look into:

1 - Dispersal from natal colony {Killington Reservoir}
2 - To study the winter fidelity {At all other sites, where adults can be caught}
3 - Interchange between study sites.
4 - Longeveity
5 - To document general movements within the UK and abroad.

The project started in March 2011 and we are attempting to catch adults at their wintering sites before they disperse for the summer. The initial target is to darvic around 100 adult birds a year and 50-100 pullus at Killington, although due to the opportunistic nature of gull catching, this figure is very much variable. The colour ringing will be carried out at a number of sites across the North West and we are always on the lookout for new catching sites.

Colour Rings:-
The colour scheme will be as follows: One Dark Blue Darvic on the left leg with White lettering and a four digit code. All codes start with the number 2 followed by one letter and two numbers. E.G. 2A23. There will be an additional BTO metal ring placed on the right leg. There will also be an email address printed on the ring which is


All sightings should be sent to


All sightings will be dealt by either Kane or Ciaran.

Most importantly, a total of 6 Adult Black Headed Gulls have been caught so far, with one particular individual already giving us our first foreign movement, but more on that later!

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The Final Fire!!

After having a very successful day's birding on Saturday 19th March, over on Anglesey, where I was looking at the gorgeous Bonaparte's gull at Traeth Lligwy. Thoughts were running through my head, that a day in bed may be on the cards, but in my case there is no such thing. Arriving back in Bangor late on Saturday afternoon, an hour or so later, I met Kane at the station as he was going to help out with the catch at Kinmel Bay on the Sunday morning. Getting a good night's sleep and we were up early on the Sunday morning and on the road to Kinmel Bay near Rhyl. On arrival, the gear was being unloaded from Steve's truck and down onto the beach. A quick set of 2 cannon-nets was the order of the day, so we could get off the beach and minimise the disturbance.

Above and Below - Photographed by Robin Sandham

This was going to be our last cannon-netting session this winter with SCAN, until September arrives. However, the main purpose of this session was to try and catch a specific Turnstone that had been seen at Kinmel Bay by a birder and after being photographed, revealed it to be from Norway.

Also of similar importance was a large flock of about 200 Sanderling that were roosting on the shingle beach, adjacent to the river mouth. These little beauties are quite scarce in North wales, so it was good to catch a sample of these!

After twinkling the Sanderling and a flock of Turnstone into the catching area, the net was fired resulting in 114 birds being caught. A total of 61 Sanderling, 17 Dunlin and 36 Turnstone, with several re-traps, were soon extracted out of the net and put into keeping cages ready to be ringed and processed.

In order to deal with the catch efficiently, as usual a ringing and processing team are set up. During ringing and processing, it was clear that we had caught the Norwegian Turnstone, which was a great effort! I shall update soon when I receive the details. The Sanderling were also more than welcome as for many people, they aren't a bird that folk get to grips with regularly, so it was a good way to appreciate these northern gems in the hand and to perfect the ageing criteria for this species. A few hours later and the catch had been dealt with and all that was left was to do was to put the cannon net away and head for home for a shower and some food!

Dropping Kane off at Rhyl station, no sooner had we left him, I received a text saying that he had found some Collard Dove pulli! Great stuff!

Huge thanks to Steve and Rachel for yet another hugely successful catch and to all the twinklers for doing a grand job!

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Looking for William..

Starting year 1 at Bangor University, the workload was nothing to complain about, with only the odd essay and report to worry about.. However, at the start of 2011 and well into the 2nd half of my 2nd year; the workload increased, birding stopped and stress levels rocketed.. It's now March 2011 and I'm in the last few months of my 2nd year and as far as I'm concerned, the workload has now tripled and my time for birding is almost non-existent. The only birding I'm managing to do at the moment, seems to be the daily walks to lectures and whilst I'm out ringing, which now seems to be pretty regular.

In the last post, in which I was catching Pied Wagtails at their roost site in Bangor, now seems quite a long time ago and 3 weeks on, the amount of ringing I have been able to do has been great, with a couple of memorable catches, which will soon follow.. After 2 weeks of daily lectures and numerous essays and reports, it was time to head out and do some proper birding, for the first time in 2011. So early on Saturday morning {19th}, I met up with my dad and friend Ted Preece at Rainbow Bridge in Old Colwyn, in search of the 2 Drake Surf Scoters that had been loafing around by the turbines for a few weeks now. Seeing as though neither of them had seen this species before, I was rather keen to find them for the both of them. However, the conditions weren't exactly perfect and with a chop on the water and birds miles out, there wasn't much chance of seeing them. Unfortunately after an hour's worth of scoter grilling, we gave up and headed east to Llanfairfechan, in search of some Slavonian Grebes.

Luckily 4 individuals were present on arrival, with a couple in summer-plumage and the other 2 birds, still in their winter plumage. Several Red-throated divers offshore but nothing too exciting here.. News that the Bonaparte's gull, {hence the title 'Looking for William' - {William Charles Bonaparte} was showing well on the beach over on Anglesey, at Traeth Lligwy near Moelfre, the 3 of us hopped in the car and headed over sharpish.. This bird has been present for a few weeks now, showing on and off during high and low tide. More importantly, it was a lifer for my dad and Ted so they were both pretty happy with the views they had.. Leaving the gull to it's own devices, a short walk to the headland revealed a stunning summer plumage Black Guillemot, ending a pretty successfull day's birding, apart from dipping the Glaucous Gull near Menai Bridge. Seeing as though it was late afternoon, we called it a day and after being dropped back off in Bangor for a shower and a sleep, the others headed for home.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

The Wanderings of Wagtails...

Over the last couple of weeks there has been a significant Pied Wagtail roost at Tesco's in Bangor and along with Zac, we have been down to check it out for ringing purposes several times.. Numbers reaching over 100 birds was a treat in itself, but unfortunately we left it slightly too late and within a few days, the roost had decreased to around 50 birds! Contacting Steve and Rachel, they went and checked the site out after our ringing session on the Saturday and gained permission from the Tesco Store Manager and the Petrol Station owner and we were all set for Sunday night..

Arriving on Sunday afternoon at 5pm, the 5 of us, Hamza included; set the 40ft net infront of the bush that the birds were roosting in and retreated back to the vans, to wait for the wagtails to gather and hopefully, descend into their roost..

Once all the birds were safely in the roost, we extracted the proportion of birds out of the net and Im happy to say that we managed to catch about 80% of the entire roost - great stuff!
The birds were ringed, aged and measurements taken before being released. In total - 31 new Pied Wagtails. This was an absolute privelege to be in the presence of this enigmatic little bird! This was a new species for me so it was great to get to grips with the ageing for this species.

Adult Male {6} - aged by the uniform black and the white greater coverts.

2cy {5} - aged by the retained Juvenile greater coverts, which contrast clearly to the black and white adult feathers of the inner greater coverts.

Huge thanks to Steve and Rachel for gaining permission and for another memorable ringing experience! All photos by Zac Hinchcliffe..

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Joyful Jackdaw

Finishing a hugely successful week's ringing in Greater Manchester with Kane, Zac and Ciaran, no sooner had I got back to Bangor, the weekend was upon us and I was out ringing again with Steve, on Saturday 5th March, at a new site, over on Anglesey near Moelfre.

Steve had been in contact with Mike, who has had a considerable amount of Yellowhammers coming to seed in his front garden. So before the winter was out, we made our way over early on Saturday morning and set 3 nets in the front garden, 1 net in the back and another alongside a hedgerow so we would hopefully catch a variety of species during the morning..

As our main aim was to catch the Yellowhammers, during the morning we noticed that they weren't venturing quite near enough to our nets, but we very happy to catch just 1 male..

Throughout the morning, a total of 60 birds were caught. This was yet another great training opportunity for myself - setting and taking down nets and getting extraction numbers up. Species caught included:- Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Starling, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Siskin, Yellowhammer and Jackdaw.

This first-winter Jackdaw that found itself in one of the nets in the front garden was good practise for the training side of things. Aged as a {5}, with clear pointed tail feathers and clear hints of brown in the primaries. If this bird would have been an adult, the tail feathers would have been lovely and rounded and quite broad with an overall glossier appearance.. A great bird all the same!

The morning was also a great opportunity for new trainee Zac, to practise mist-net extraction, ageing and taking wing measurements.

Huge thanks to Mike for letting us ring in his garden and for providing us with cups of tea and coffee throughout the morning.. What will I be ringing next I wonder?!

Rewarded with Ridibundus

Photographed by Zac Hinchcliffe

Seeing as though we had entered the start of a new month, the night before we made a decision to head up to the Lake District to do some ringing at Bowness-on-Windermere.. Getting a good night's sleep the night before was essential as we were up rather early on Tuesday morning and on the train to Preston before 8am..

Photographed by Zac Hinchcliffe

Meeting up with Ciaran and Chris Piner at Preston train station shortly after, the 5 of us headed up to the Lake District to try and catch some gulls and geese.. On arrival, it seemed quite quiet with very few birds around, but throughout the day, things began to liven up.

The main aim of this trip was to try and catch a Black-headed Gull to kick-start the new colour-ringing project - more on this tomorrow! Ciaran successfully hand-caught an adult and seeing as though this was the first bird of the project, we were all exceptionally happy, especially Ciaran and Kane.. This bird was metal ringed and then had a darvic added to it's left leg, biometric data collected and the bird was released - go far my friend!

There was also a very confiding 1st-winter Common gull which was again hand-caught by Ciaran. Also caught during the day were 1 Mallard, 1 Greylag goose and 4 Canada geese. When we are ringing at Windermere, all of our birds that we catch are caught by hand and as we were introducing Zac to this method, he was keen to give it a go and successfully caught a male Mallard!

We also gave the Mute swans here a thorough check, in which we checked that all metal rings were in good condition and that the Darvics were not damaged - resulting in 53 birds being caught and processed.

Arriving back in Preston late afternoon, we said our goodbyes to Ciaran and Chris, whilst Kane and Zaz headed back to Atherton and I headed back to Ormskirk, to visit the parents and to catch up with some washing..

On the Wednesday, myself, Zac, Kane and Ciaran went for a meal in Manchester and a drink, mainly because Ciaran will be leaving us shortly. Ciaran is starting a new job on the Farne Islands in Northumberland as an Assistant Warden for 6 months, so when we will see him again who knows..?

I wish you the best of luck with your new job mate and hope everything goes to plan, I shall be up to see you sometime during the spring and autumn for a light spot of birding!!

After ringing constantly since Friday 25th February, it was finally time to depart and head back to North Wales on the Thursday morning accompanied with Zac.. Huge thanks to Kane for inviting us along for the week, Janine for her kind hospitality, Chris Piner for doing all the driving to the Lake District. See you all soon lads!!!

Mist-netting at Shakerley..

A visit to Kane's feeding station at Shakerley was next on the agenda for this week. So on Monday morning we went and set the 40ft mist-net near his feeders and retreated back to the car and waited for the birds to arrive.

During the first net-round, we were rather pleased to find a Redwing and a Lesser Redpoll - maybe the start of a productive morning..
As the morning went on, bird numbers seemed to decrease, so we were quite happy with a total of 20 birds for our morning's effort. During the morning we also managed to catch 6 Long-tailed tit, 3 Goldfinch, 2 Lesser Redpoll, 2 Reed Bunting, 2 Great tit, 2 Blue tit, Blackbird and Greenfinch amongst several re-traps..

After finishing here, we collected the gear that we would need for our trip up to the Lakes the next day..

More Redpolls!!

Yesterday's ringing session over at Rindle Road, catching Yellowhammers was a great start to the week's ringing. On Sunday morning, the 4 of us {Kane, Ciaran, myself and Zac} had a leisurely morning's mist-netting over at Michael and Mary's Garden in Worsley - Greater Manchester.

We have visited this garden twice before as this is where we have caught large numbers of Redpolls that are feeding on the Niger feeders.

Take a look at these 2 posts at the large number of Redpolls caught in the garden amongst other species:- and

Throughout the morning we caught 21 birds of which 14 were new and 7 re-traps. A Sparrowhawk unfortunately managed to avoid capture..

New birds - 6 Lesser Redpoll , 4 Goldfinch, 1 House Sparrow, 1 Starling, 1 Great-Spotted Woodpecker and 1 Siskin.
Re-traps - 6 Lesser Redpoll and 1 Mealy Redpoll.

We were lucky enough to re-trap the Mealy {Common} Redpoll from previous visits, which was nice to find that it had stuck around for the winter. A male Siskin also brightened up the morning as it was a new species to be ringed in the garden. This mist-netting session was also a good opportunity for Zac to practise extracting birds, as he has recently started to train to ring birds with my trainer, Steve Dodd. Huge thanks as always to Michael and Mary for allowing us to ring in their garden again and for the lovely cups of tea and coffee provided throughout the morning.

Great-Spotted Woodpecker, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll and Group shot all photographed by Zac Hinchcliffe..

Ringing at Rindle Road

Photographed by Zac Hinchcliffe

Eventually 5pm on Friday 25th February arrived, my lecture finished and with bags packed, myself and Zac met at the station where we later hopped on a train; a few hours later we were greeted by Kane at Newton-Le-Willows station, ready for what was hopefully going to be a great weeks ringing. Ciaran then joined us later on in the evening..

Meeting up with Steve Christmas on Astley Moss {SSSI}, at Rindle Road early on Saturday morning. We erected 3 mist nets along the hedge, so to maximise our disturbance in the area. Retreating back to the cars, we waited for the birds to appear. Several hours later we had caught a sufficient 23 birds, which included several nicities such as Willow tit and Yellowhammer.

Other birds caught during the morning included Reed Bunting, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Tree Sparrow. Moving off from here we headed off in convoy to check out a flock of c.40 Waxwings in nearby Westhoughton by the Doctor's surgery. On arrival the birds could be seen sat in a nearby Willow tree and shortly descended to the berries.. Unfortunately, it was too windy to try and catch them..

Grabbing some lunch back in Atherton, we headed to Shakerly where a small pool had formed in the last week, in which Kane had 2 Coot on them just the day before. However, overnight; torrential rain had made the pool into a lake but as we were used to catching Whooper swans this way, we dove right in...

Photographed by Zac Hinchcliffe

If the pool had been smaller we would have been able to catch the 2 Coot, but after a failed attempt to corale them into a small area that we could have caught them in, we gave up as we were somewhat rather wet.. Icy cold water above your waist was enough to tell us it was time to get out.. Many thanks to Steve Christmas for inviting us along..

Drying off back in Atherton, we arranged to net the Redpoll garden in Worsley the following day..

Ringing Roundup!

Over the last couple of weeks there has been quite a lot of activity on the ringing front, mainly as I have been out ringing more or less every day since Friday 25th February.. This is because I have had my reading week at university and so I decided to try and do as much ringing as possible. Also, after having a great twitch to see the Oriental Turtle Dove in Oxfordshire 2 weeks ago, finding the time to post on the blog proved rather difficult as my workload at university doubled and with the continued need to get my presentation on soil erosion completed and sent in, for 5pm on Monday, there just hasn't been time to update.

Not to worry though as throughout today, I shall give a full update on my ringing activities throughout last week and some other news..

Friday, 4 March 2011

Oriental Turtle Dove!!!

Photographed by Roger Wyatt

In 2010, every time a rare bird turned up in Britain I would do my very best to try and twitch it! However, after spending far too much money on train fares, travelling hundreds of miles all over the United Kingdom, it soon hit home and twitching began to drain out of my system. Although at the beginning of 2011, I said to myself that I wasn't going to twitch this year, I knew that something would be too tempting and all hell would break loose.

So when an Oriental Turtle Dove {Form Orientalis} turned up in a garden in Oxfordshire, I was hopeful that the bird would stay for some time and that there was a chance of me seeing it. A few weeks passed and time was ticking, as I just couldn't find the time to twitch it. Luckily on Tuesday 22nd February I had the day off and the bird was still there! So the night before, I hopped on a train to Rhyl, where I kipped at Alex's house that night and early the next morning, myself and Alex set off in search of this rare dove.. {If this was last year when I was doing my big yearlist, I wouldn't have left it as long as I did}.

Photographed by Jason Stannage

Seeing as though the bird had been in the area for quite some time, more or less every twitcher had seen it and there were just a few left-overs.. On arrival at 'The Leys' a few birders were in sight and shortly after, Steve Aker in which this was the guy who had found the dove and in his garden too, opened his front door to say that the bird was in the garden, on the bird table!!?

Standing in his kitchen, staring through the window into this superb garden filled with birds, there..sat at the back..was the Oriental Turtle Dove!! Unfortunately it was so hot in the room with 30 or so birders, trying to get a good view of the bird, my bins steamed up, but this was shortly resolved. Ridiculously poor pictures were obtained so attached is an image of the dove in the garden, photographed by Roger Wyatt. What a great picture Roger!!

After satisfying views, we made our way out and sat in the car, munching lunch and dwelling on what we had just witnessed.. A cracking bird! This was the 3rd record for Britain for this race of Rufouls Turtle Dove, as there has only been 2 previous records since 1881!

Moving off from here, the thick fog that had been with us all morning, still hadn't lifted so we decided to give the nearby Drake American Wigeon a miss. Thankfully, we made the right decision as the bird wasn't seen all day.

From here we headed to Willington Gravel Pits in Derbyshire for a Black-Throated Diver. A short walk across a few muddy fields and into a wood and there was the bird..

Although having to view from this distance, good views were had! The bird was on the far section of water beyond the river, quite a way away!

Nearby, a flock of 16 Bewick's swans was a nice way to end a very successfull day's twitching!

To see Alex's account of our Oxfordshire twitch, visit:-

If you are interested about more information on the bird, it's location and general ecology, to see more information, visit:-


Since my post from last Thursday, each day from then on has been fully booked; either with mist-netting or a general busy itenary. Before I update on my recent ringing antics, our last SCAN weekend hasn't been mentioned yet so here goes..

As the winter of 2011 is coming to an end now, so too is our cannon-netting along the North Wales coast. So on Friday 18th February, myself, Kane, Zac and Hamza were raring to go.. A meal, a few pints and an early night was in order as we had to be up early the next morning.

The following morning and we were up at 5am and heading towards Llanfairfechan, where 3 cannon-nets were set, in which we were targeting a flock of Dunlin and Redshank. As usual, I was put on twinkling duties; Combined with Rachel and Richard, we managed to make a catch of 27 Redshank and 68 Dunlin shortly after. This was all thanks to Steve who was in constant contact with us with radios.

The fired cannon-net, which caught 27 Redshank and 68 Dunlin.

Soon after, a flock of 47 Redshank landed safely in the catching area and this soon brought our total for the morning to a nice sample of 74 Redshank and 68 Dunlin.

We had a large team throughout the weekend so this enabled us to extract the birds quickly and efficiently, ready for ringing and processing.

When it comes to processing the birds, the team is split into 2 teams; one for ringing and the other for taking biometric data. Here - Myself, Richard de Feu, Ian Lees and Steve Dodd on the processing team taking biometric data.

Once the birds have been ringed they are placed in safe keeping boxes ready to be released.

A few hours sleep and some much needed food inside us, we met again at Llanfairfechan Sewage works for some night time mist-netting. A total of 7 mist-nets were set in gorgeous surroundings and with clear, calm skies, we caught 28 Redshank, 2 Dunlin and superb Juvenile Greenshank! As i'm used to ringing until very late, I wasn't surprised when we finally finished at 00:00 that night!

Hamza Yassin with the Juvenile Greenshank

The following morning we were up at 8am at Beaumaris, where we set 2 nets along the shingle beach. Unfortunately, the birds weren't playing ball during the morning and twinkling was hard work, so only 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Dunlin were caught.

At the end of the weekend, the ringing totals are as follows:- 102 Redshank, 71 Dunlin, 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Greenshank.

Huge thanks to Steve and Rachel and the rest of the team for a productive and successfull weekend's ringing!