Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Traps bring 150th bird!

In October 2011, (21st October to be exact), I ringed my first bird with my C Permit. A 3F Great tit was the culprit, caught in my Chardonneret trap on our bird table that Matt and I constructed. From that day my ringing career began as a lone C Permit ringer and it has been a great 3 months so far.

I consider all my birds to have been caught in traps, e.g. Potter, Chardonneret, Spring and Drop trap, as well as hand catching and lamping. No Mist nets have been used as I am yet unable to use these with my permit.

In this time (21st October 2011 - 24th January 2012), I have managed to catch 14 different species which have all been satisfying to catch as I have had to adapt my ways and techniques to try and target individual species. Goldfinch for example; catching 1 bird last year I have already caught 4 birds this year which was due to the position of the trap and choice of food.

Yesterday I spring trapped my 150th bird, a retrap Robin (Y337980) on a meal worm. Realising that I had reached this target I thought I would share with you my totals so far..


Blue Tit - 86 (3)
Great Tit - 11 (2)
Robin - 10 (5)
Coal Tit - 8 (2)
Dunnock - 5
Goldfinch - 5
Greenfinch - 3
Little Grebe - 2
Blackbird - 2
Long-Tailed Tit - 2
Collard Dove - 1
Wren - 1
Nuthatch - 1
Black-headed Gull - 1

I would also like to say a massive thank you to Matt in Bangor, Rob Sandham in Conwy and Alex Jones in St.Asaph for allowing me to ring in their gardens. A huge thank you also to Tony Cross for the Little Grebe experience.

I will hopefully be out lamping with my new torch tomorrow night (if it arrives) so will update on my catch soon after..

I am hoping my 200th bird will be something special and an extra special blog post is needed for that!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Waders in Wales!

Last night I headed along to Morfa Madryn near Llanfairfechan for some night time wader mist netting. Steve, Rachel and I headed out with Zac, Matt and Ros and set several nets across saltmarsh pools in the hope for a mixed variety of waders throughout the night.

A superb session with good numbers of Dunlin (50), Knot (13), Redshank (7) and Oystercatcher (5), and Mallard (2), were caught throughout the night. Finishing around 2am, we had all had a superb night and huge thanks as always to Steve and Rachel for a great night! Huge thanks also to the rest of the guys for making it a thoroughly enjoyable nights ringing!

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Purple Sandpiper!

This weekend I joined up with Steve, Rachel and other ringing enthusiasts for the January session at SCAN. January represents the start of the 2012 SCAN cannon netting season and we kicked it off with a great start.

An early rise on Saturday morning ready for a catch at Rhos point near Colwyn Bay. Our intentions were to try and catch Turnstone during the morning and our efforts were certainly rewarded. Throughout the morning 2 catches were made at Rhos point on different sections of beach. Good numbers of Turnstone, Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Redshank were caught as well as 1 Purple Sandpiper. An absolutely gorgeous bird to ring and as always, it was great to get to grips with the ageing criteria for this species.

Ringing and processing took place underneath the wall at Rhos point and with a nice large team, everything ran quickly and smoothly during the morning.

Sunday morning I decided to take a day off and catch up with some work, but a catch was made in Bangor harbour where good numbers of Redshank were caught, along with several Oystercatcher and 2 welcome Grey Heron.

Huge thanks to Steve and Rachel and the rest of the team for a very enjoyable weekend. It was also great to meet Charlie Sargent (a follower of the blog), on Saturday and I will hopefully see you again soon. Best of luck with your training Charlie!

Thursday, 19 January 2012

You little beauty!!

Last night I joined up with Tony Cross and Adrienne Stratford to help out with their colour ringing Chough Project on Anglesey. A long and enjoyable night was had with great company and great birds. Highlights last night including catching these 3 Chough at their roost site, with 2 New birds and 1 Retrap being caught. The retrap was more than welcome during the night, as it was a bird that I ringed as a chick back in May 2010, so it was good to see that it had survived the harsh winter.

The 3 Chough behaved incredibly well and have to be one of the best birds I have handled so far this year. Let there be many more experiences like this one to follow.

After the clocks turned to the early hours of the morning, Tony and I dropped Adrienne back off at her car and carried on into the night to see what we could find.

Finding a tidal inlet on Anglesey was well worth it and a combined effort between us both brought 3 Little Grebes. I have always wanted to ring one of these little beauties but to catch 3 in under half an hour was exceptional. Tony Cross sure is the man with the lamp as far as I am concerned. However now that he has passed on his expertise I will soon be out dazzling with my new acquired lamp with the intention of catching some superb species.

All 3 Little Grebes were absolute gems in the hand and never have I been lost for words when I've been handling a bird, truly awesome! I intend to try and catch some in North Wales in the next few weeks once my new torch arrives.

A massive thanks are in order to Tony and Adrienne for a truly unforgettable experience.

For Tony's account of the night please visit Tony's Blog here.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Re-traps with the Spring Traps!

This afternoon for a short break, I nipped out for a 3 hour ringing session to Matt's Garden in Bangor to see what could be caught with the Chardonneret and Spring Trap.

During the 3 hours a nice catch of 7 birds were caught including my 3rd Goldfinch and 2nd Blackbird, both being adult birds. I also re-trapped 2 Robin, 1 Great Tit and 1 Coal Tit.

Hopefully I will be out ringing on Wednesday night so check back then to see what went on..

Friday, 13 January 2012

Trapping Time!

Over the past week I have been so tied up in my 10,000 word Management Plan that ringing has taken a back seat for a while but over the last week I have managed to fit in 3 ringing sessions.

Sunday 8th January I headed along to Arthur's near Caernarfon with Rob Sandham and Mathew Bruce for some winter feeding station ringing. The morning consisted of Wren Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch and good numbers of Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed tit.

Wednesday 11th January I visited to Matt's Garden in Bangor with the traps. A slow morning with 1 New Goldfinch in the Potter Trap, 2 Retrap Robin in the Chardonneret Trap and 1 New Blue Tit.

This morning I visited Rob's Garden in Conwy catching 2 New Dunnock, 1 New Robin and best of all was a Collard Dove! A new species with my C Permit!

Huge thanks to all for letting me ring in their garden this past week.

Coot Sightings!

At the end of last year when I visited WWT Martin Mere, I sighted 3 Colour-ringed and 1 Darvic'd Coot and straight away got to work reading them.

A few weeks ago I received the information back from these birds from Kane and it turns out that the 3 Colour-ringed birds had all been ringed at Southport and the Darvic'd bird also. More importantly, the Coot wearing Darvic AFA was the first re-sighting of the bird since it had been ringed at Southport. Great stuff! It just goes to show that a little careful observation can pay dividends.

Coot GR25060 was ringed as a 4 Female on 30/11/10 by Kane at Southport Marine Lake. Since then it has been sighted at Pennington Flash in Greater Manchester, Southport Marine Lake and can now be found at WWT Martin Mere.

Coot GR25043 was ringed as a 4 Female also on 30/11/10 by Kane at Southport Marine Lake and has since travelled to Meresands Wood in Rufford.

Coot GR25123 was ringed as a 3 Male on 02/12/10 by Ciaran at Southport Marine Lake and has since been residing at WWT Martin Mere.

Coot GR51021 - DARVIC AFA - was ringed as a 3 on 20/12/11 by Ciaran at Southport Marine Lake.

Huge thanks to Kane for sending me the information on these birds. Don't forget if you see a Coot wearing Colour-rings or a Darvic, note it down and send it into Kane!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Gulling in Galway 2012!

Kick starting the year off; Kane, Ciaran, Craig, Gillian, Zac, Matt, Andy, Heather and I have just returned from our trip to Ireland. The main aim of the trip was to catch and ring gulls, mainly Black-headed, Common and Herring and this year I am please to say it was another success.

The trip began on January 2nd when we flew out to Dublin early morning, shortly followed by a bus journey to County Galway on the West coast of Ireland and returning in the early hours of Saturday.

Throughout the trip 19 Black-headed, 1 Common and 4 Herring Gulls were caught by hand. Several ringed birds were also seen but not as many were around as previous years.

The evenings were spent touring the local Irish pubs in search of Guiness, great food and live music in which we all thoroughly enjoyed.

Birding highights included 10 Iceland Gull, 1 Kumlien's Gull and several Great-Northern Diver.

Huge thanks to Gillian for doing all the organising and to Kane and all the rest of the group for making it another huge success. Here's to next year guys!

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Welcome to 2012!

Welcome to the first blog post of 2012; hopefully the first of many this year! I hope you all had a fantastic New Years Eve last night and wrote down all your new years resolutions for the year ahead.

This year is going to be even busier than 2011, with a whole year of ringing to get through with my C Permit, 1,000 Nest Record Challange to complete and at least 25,000 words to write in the next 5 months that I have left at Bangor University.

To kick start the year off, I made a trip to WWT Martin Mere this morning with the parents and grandad for some New Year Birding.
The only birding highlights were a Marsh Harrier and ofcourse the Whooper Swans.

Saving the best til last - walking out of the visitor centre I stumbled across a Coot wearing White Darvic AFA. It turns out that this bird was only ringed last week by Kane at Southport Marine Lake and is the first re-sighting of the bird - fantastic stuff. Also seen were 3 Colour-ringed Coot but I am yet to find out where these were ringed but I will let you know in due course.

Please keep any sightings of colour-ringed or darvic's Coot coming in to Kane as we really appreciate any records we can recieve.

Well I hope this is enough to keep you all interested in the blog even though its the first day of 2012. However, it's time to head off now, as I am flying out to Ireland early tomorrow morning with the gang for several days catching gulls over in County Galway on the west coast of Ireland.
A full update will be available on my return!