About Me

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Canna, Highland, United Kingdom
This blog has been set up to keep people who are interested in wild bird ringing informed about my ringing activities both locally and further afield.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

To J or not to J?

Sorry, that should read 'Two Jays, or not two Jays?'

Quite breezy here at Wyken today, but managed to find a sheltered spot in Dovehouse Wood to put up a couple of nets.

Nothing outlandish, but 38 birds wasn't bad for the morning's effort.

Birds caught as follows:

Wren 1
Dunnock (2)
Robin 2
Blackbird 2
Goldcrest 1
Marsh Tit (2)
Coal Tit (2)
Blue Tit 1 (15)
Great Tit 2 (8)
Jay 1

Had another Jay in the net, but that one got out before I could get to the net!

All the best to everyone for the New Year!


Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Usual Suspects

The wind abated today to the extent that it made it worth opening the nets in the garden here at Wyken.

All birds caught were retraps, with the exception of a single 1st year Robin.

Retraps were 6 BLUTIs, 4 GRETIs, and a DUNNO, so nothing to get excited about, but it's been a while since I put up a new post, so thought it worth placing this one out there!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Another NUTHA

Early start on the Farmland Foraging Bird Project in Suffolk this morning. Another disappointing ringing session at Dairy Farm. A breeze blew through the game cover strip all morning, and a sparrowhawk enjoyed chasing all the passerines back and forth, resulting in just two, yes two, birds caught:


Both new birds.

Back at home I opened the net for half an hour, and within seconds a Nuthatch found it.

This is the 3rd for the garden since July, so very pleased with that! My wife took the pic.

The totals were:

BLABI 1(1)
GRETI 9 (2)

Not bad for half an hour's effort.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

And a few Bunts out of the Reeds!

Managed to get a net up late this afternoon to try to catch some of the Reed Buntings coming into the phragmites around the lake fringe at Little Bofus.

Nowhere near as many birds there as there were the other day (probably about 50 REEBU in the flock), but had a small catch:


A couple of Pied Wagtails spent an hour flying around, over, and even trying to walk under the net, but neither of them actually found a pocket. Shame, that would have been nice.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Bunts in the Reeds

Back to work yesterday, which has put paid to my mid-week ringing sessions. However, I wandered up to Rushgreen Meadow this afternoon to feed the sheep, and came back alongside Baby Bofus Lake at dusk. Good to see about 200 Reed Buntings dropping into the reeds to roost. Might have to pop back with a net at the weekend!

Lots of Fieldfare around too, but not too many Redwings.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Roe Deer! Oh Dear!

Went out to do the next session for the Foraging Farmland Bird Project this morning. Very disappointing. A 6am start, and by 10am I'd caught 4 birds:

Wren (1)
Dunnock 1
Robin (2)

Not a great success. So, I packed up and headed over to Rushgreen Grove, a small wood at the back of the estate here at Wyken where I monitored a few nests back in the summer.

Wren 1
Robin 2
Goldcrest 1
Long-tailed Tit 14
Blue Tit 11
Treecreeper 3

All new birds. The session was spoilt slightly when a roe deer buck walked through the net, completely destroying the bottom shelf - and this a brand new North Ron net! I was livid!

Went off home to bag a few birds there before dusk:

Robin (1)
Marsh Tit 1 (4)
Coal Tit 2 (2)
Blue Tit 1
Great Tit 1 (1)

Totals for the day:

Wren 1 (1)
Dunnock 1
Robin 2 (3)
Goldcrest 1
Long-tailed Tit 14
Marsh Tit 1 (4)
Coal Tit 2 (2)
Blue Tit 12
Great Tit 1 (1)
Treecreeper 3

38 New Birds, 11 Retraps, 49 in total + 1 Roe Deer!

Friday, 11 November 2011

MARTI update

A bit of garden ringing today - first in my own garden at Wyken, then in my brother-in-laws at Mildenhall.

In my own, managed to trap a MARTI that has so far evaded the nets. This one, a 4F, nipped into a drop trap just minutes after I'd set it, and she became LBR,M;RBY,R with BTO ring Y452210.

Also in the garden, though sighted only, were two of the other colour-ringed MARTIs from my RAS project, LBR,M;RBRB & LBR,M;RBR,W - both made frequent visits to the feeders throughout the morning.

Totals for the day:

New (retrap)


MARTI 1 (2 - sighted only)
BLUTI 2 (2)



Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Foreign Control Robin from Holland

Started the first official session of the Suffolk Foraging Farmland Bird Project today (the project runs from 1st November to 31st March).

A fairly quiet morning, with just 18 birds caught:


The best of this bunch were the Robin and the Chaffinch.

The Chaffinch was first ringed by me on 22.9.11, in my own garden. This means it's now joined up with the foraging flocks and has travelled to the southern limits of the farm - only 1.72km as the Fringilla flaps, but still nice to know it's going strong.

The Robin was quite a lot more exciting. I actually caught this bird on 28th October, got it's ring number (BA65008), but forgot to check to see if it was a BTO ring! Doh! It wasn't until afterwards that I realised it was probably a foreign bird. Fortunately, it came out of the net again this morning, so I could check the country of origin. It is part of the Arnhem scheme in Holland! A good record for me here, and a lesson learned as well!

Weather permitting I'm going to try the game cover strips along the Ixworth Plains part of the farm tomorrow morning. I'll then have to switch to a different part of the farm until later in the year as the shooting season is about to start here.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

More colour-ringed Marsh Tits, and the return of a chick!

Headed out to the Dales end of the Farm at Wyken again first thing, and had 3 nets up as the daylight gathered. Unfortunately the wind also picked up quite early, threatening to blow the nets into the hawthorn hedge that runs alongside of the net lane, so packed up early.

Totals from Dales Field:

Wren 1
Dunnock 1
Greenfinch 2
Yellowhammer 2
Reed Bunting 2

Headed home for a late breakfast, then decided to go try to find a sheltered spot in Kiln Wood to see if I could find any new Marsh Tits to colour ring for my proposed RAS.

Put a couple of nets in Ride 1, and in a couple of hours had a small haul, but had managed to get two new Marsh Tits in the bag. They were LBR,M;RBR,K, and LBR,M;RBR,N. Both were adults, and I suspect they were the pair that nested in one of the nearby tit boxes (I ringed 8 pulli from this box).

Totals from Ride 1 in Kiln Wood:

Wren 1
Goldcrest (1)
Marsh Tit 2
Great Tit 2

Keen to get more Marsh Tits out of Kiln Wood I drove right to the back compartment where so far I'd not done any ringing. Put up a single 18m net along Ride 9, played some LOTTI music, and within 10 minutes had a real mixed bag of tits, including 2 more Marsh Tits.

One of the Marsh Tits became LBR,M;RBR,L, while the other one was already ringed (L671513). Interestingly, this came out of the tit box in May, where I'd caught LBR,M;RBR,K, and LBR,M;RBR,N in Ride 1 just an hour earlier. Seems likely that that pair are the parents of L671513. Either way, this youngster had travelled about 1km, and stayed within the same wood. I always metal ring on the right leg, but unfortunately when my colour ring project was given the go ahead recently I was allotted the position of metal ring on the left leg, so this particular tit will have to remain without colour rings!

Totals from Ride 9 in Kiln Wood:

Wren 1
Goldcrest 2
Long-tailed Tit 6
Marsh Tit 1 (1)
Coal Tit 1
Blue Tit 1

Looks like Ride 9 is going to be a good site all-round. It's long enough for 3 x 18m nets in a line, and passes through some lovely old oak wood, mixed with a few Scots pine and larch (though they're likely to be felled fairly soon). There's a lot of hazel, holly, and bramble shrub layer, and bracken, etc as ground layer, so could be very promising. Bring on the summer warblers!

Friday, 28 October 2011

A nice little haul

Spent the morning out at the top of Dales, the field at the southern fringes of the farm. Good and misty to start, with not a breath of wind, first into the net was a control Robin (BA65008). The total bag was:

(Retraps in Brackets)

Wren (1)
Dunnock 5
Robin 1 (1)
Song Thrush 2
Blue Tit 6 (6)
Great Tit 4 (1)
Greenfinch 5
Yellowhammer 8
Reed Bunting 2

TOTALS 33 (9)

Reed Bunting


Friday, 21 October 2011

A few birds here, and a few birds there...

A short session at Market Weston Fen yesterday produced a handful of Reed Buntings, plus an unexpected Moorhen. Unfortunately I'd travelled light out to the ringing site, and didn't have rings for the Moorhen, so it had to go free without its bit of jewellery!

This morning I nipped out to do a reccy for the Foraging Farmland Bird Project that's just starting up in Suffolk. After a bit of a palaver putting nets up at the south end of the farm at Wyken, I soon had a few Yellowhammers in the bag, plus a few other odds and sods.

Back home late this afternoon had just enough daylight left to open the net in my garden, and was rewarded with two Blackbirds, both females, and a lovely Song Thrush.

Monday, 17 October 2011

Control LOTTI anyone?

A busy hour yesterday (16th October) at Ash Corner, with nearly 30 birds, all tits apart from a couple of wrens.

Best bird was a Control Long-tailed Tit - DVA053, ringed on it's left leg. This bird probably hasn't come too far, so anyone in West Suffolk know where and when this was ringed?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Plethora of Parus

Had a net up in the garden from first light this morning.

16 birds caught (9 new, 7 retraps):

Wren 2
Dunnock (1)
Marsh Tit 1
Coal Tit 1
Blue Tit 4 (4)
Great Tit 1

The Marsh Tit was nice to see in particular, as it became part of my colour-ringing RAS project, becoming LBR,M;RBR,P


Monday, 10 October 2011

Oh, when will the wind ease?

Very windy here in Suffolk for the last couple of days, and the forecast looks like we could get a whole week more of it.

Managed to put a net up yesterday afternoon for an hour, just got:

GRETI 3 (1)

Saturday, 1 October 2011


Just had info back from the BTO about 2 recoveries I've had here at Wyken.

Greenfinch BE25195, a 4 male, caught here on 3rd August 2011, ringed by the BTO in Thetford as a 5 male on 16th February 2005.

Reed Bunting V555325, a 4 male, sighted colour rings here on 26th May 2011, ringed by Greg Conway, also here at Wyken Hall, as a 5 male on 2nd March.

The reed bunting was a breeding bird this year, and I ringed 4 pulli from that clutch.

Friday, 30 September 2011


Put up a single net at Market Weston Fen this morning.

Not many birds, but a few species that I don't normally get to see in the hand, including a few crackers:

Yellowhammer (5)
Reed Bunting (5)
Meadow Pipit (1)
A few odds and sods...

Yellowhammer male

Reed Bunting female

Meadow Pipit

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Couple of BLACAs

Not much going on in the garden nets today, just 4 Dunnocks, a bemused juvvie woodpigeon, but a nice pair of blackcaps made up for it.

For the last hour before darkness fell tonight I put up a net at nearby Market Weston. Loads of linnets, a few redpoll, and good numbers of reed bunting and yellowhammer flying around, and a nice new plumaged male reed bunting found the net, so I'll go back in the next few days for a dawn start.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Light Field Belt & targetting MARTI

A very pleasant morning at Light Field Belt - a shelter belt along the A143. Lots of new trees undergrown with bramble.

Opened the net - a single 18m super fine - quite late, but on the first round had 21 birds in it:

Robin (1)
Blackcap (1)
Chiffchaff (1)
Blue Tit (10)
Great Tit (7)
Goldfinch (1)

Nothing else after that, but nice to ring somewhere new. I'll plan to put a net or two up here every couple of weeks or so, to see what comes along, and what survives in this area.

Back at home I've been giving some thought to targetting MARTIs for my possible RAS project. Trouble is, If I put up a net in the garden, I get 15 - 20 BLUTIs for each and every MARTI. Still a lot of fun to be had there, particularly with a smattering of other species thrown in, but I decided to build a simple drop door trap so that I can target the MARTIs specifically.

I've put it below a seed feeder, and get all the usual BLUTI and GRETI in there. They seem quite happy piling in, and I just pin the lid back to let them all come and go as they please. Once set with the stick, I can just pull the string when MARTIs are in feeding. Had 3 all together this morning that way. 2 already colour-ringed, and a new bird which became LBR,M;RBR,B.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Missing Goldfinches

After a quiet morning with the nets in the garden (best birds were a male Nuthatch, 3 Goldcrests, and another Marsh Tit to add colour-rings to) put up a couple of nets across the edge of a game-cover strip on the farm. With about 60 Goldfinches, a dozen Linnets, and a pair of Yellowhammers buzzing around over and through the sunflowers and phacelia, it was a bit of a disappointment to see them all dodging over and around the net. Not a single bird caught. I obviously need have to have a re-think! Anyway, just before dark I moved the nets to a brambly copse at the far end of Light Fields, ready for an early unfurling in the morning.

Male Nuthatch

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Nuthatch - A New Species!

Well, for me at any rate. Caught this female in the garden this morning:

That's 60 species ringed for me - not that anyone's counting!

Very little else happening - the wind got up here during the morning, making further catches impossible

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Possible MARTI RAS

I've been looking at the possibility of starting a RAS (Retrapping Adults for Survival) project on Marsh Tits based on the woods of Wyken Hall near Stanton in Suffolk, and have just agreed to run it as a provisional project for 2012 to see if there are enough individuals in this area to register it as a full project beyond that.

We've got 6 woods on the estate, and I've already ringed some pulli in a couple of nest boxes, plus a few adults. I've also started colour-ringing today, with the intention of marking birds throughout the winter months, and resighting them as part of the RAS during the breeding season.

So, I opened a net in the back garden just to see what went in, and within half an hour I'd colour-ringed the first 2 Marsh Tits of the project (LBR,M;RBR,R & LBR,M;RBR,Y). Both of these two birds had already been ringed with a metal ring (L671503 & L671508) - both as pulli from the same brood of 8 chicks in Wyken Wood, in a nest box just 800 metres away from my house. So, good to make a bit of a start with this!

Marsh Tit LBR,M;RBR,Y - metal ring No. L671508

Thursday, 15 September 2011

A very worthwhile morning...

Opened a couple of nets in the garden this morning, as well as one in the new net-ride I cleared in Dovehouse Wood yesterday. Turned into a very good couple of hours.

Wren - the first caught in this garden!

 Totals caught were:

New (Retraps) = Total

Wren                      2 = 2
Blackcap                1 = 1
Chiffchaff                2 = 2
Goldcrest                2 = 2
Long-tailed Tit        4 = 4
Coal Tit                  1 = 1
Blue Tit                   2 (1) = 3
Great Tit                 4 (2) = 6
Treecreeper            1 = 1

Treecreeper - another garden first!

A lovely male Goldcrest

Coal Tit

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Blackcaps passing through

The wind has finally dropped, so this afternoon up went a couple of nets in my back garden for an hour or so. I also popped across the road into Dovehouse Wood and cleared a ride for an 18m net.

Reward - half a dozen Blackcaps, a couple of Marsh Tits, plus the usual Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit mix.

Not bad for an afternoon with the sun full on the nets.

Marsh Tit retrap

Blackcap male

Friday, 9 September 2011

A quiet afternoon

Too breezy yesterday (8th Sept) to put a net up so went out to Slaughden for a bit of seawatching. An Arctic Skua heading south was the highlight, but also a few waders (Ringed Plover, Dunlin) moving about.

Back home the wind had dropped so opened the net in my garden for an hour or so. Totals were:

BLUTI 3, incl 1 retrap
ROBIN 1 retrap
MARTI 1 retrap
GOLDF 1 new bird

A small haul, but nice to see a Goldfinch in the hand.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Control BLUTIs

Had a couple of Control Blue Tits (X036254 & X362803) in my garden on 30th August. The interesting thing is X036254 is a 4M, and X362803 is a 4F, and they were both caught in the same net within 2 minutes of each other.
At least I think they are controls - either that or they were ringed here by the BTO who did a farmland bird study on the estate from 2005 - 2007. Either way, good to have them here, and once the details come through from the BTO I'll post them here.

In the meantime, if these are 'yours' drop me an email on grahambirdringer@btinternet.com

And here's a couple of photos of birds caught in my garden in the last few days:


Great Spotted Woodpecker

Pulli Update

A quick look back at the summer nest recording and pulli ringing.

On a single estate in West Suffolk, my totals for the year 2011 where:

BLABI - 22 nests - 19 pulli ringed
BLACA - 2 nests - 1 pullus ringed
BLUTI - 18 nests - 82 pulli ringed
BULLF - 1 nest - 4 pulli ringed
CHAFF - 3 nests - 5 pulli ringed
COATI - 1 nest - 0 pulli ringed
COLDO - 1 nest - 2 pulli ringed
DUNNO - 4 nests - 5 pulli ringed
GOLDF - 2 nests - 0 pulli ringed
GREFI - 3 nests - 0 pulli ringed
GREGO - 2 nests - 0 pulli ringed
GRETI - 2 nests - 0 pulli ringed
GRSWO - 1 nest - 0 pulli ringed
JACKD - 1 nest - 2 pulli ringed
LINNE - 1 nest - 0 pulli ringed
LOTTI - 5 nests - 0 pulli ringed
MARTI - 2 nests - 16 pulli ringed
MISTH - 1 nest - 0 pulli ringed
MOORH - 2 nests - 0 pulli ringed
REEBU - 2 nests - 5 pulli ringed
REEWA - 19 nests - 32 pulli ringed
ROBIN - 1 nest - 0 pulli ringed
SONTH - 4 nests - 3 pulli ringed
SPOFL - 2 nests - 8 pulli ringed
STODO - 4 nests - 2 pulli ringed
SWALL - 7 nests - 26 pulli ringed
WOODP - 14 nests - 6 pulli ringed
WREN - 2 nests - 5 pulli ringed

That's 129 nests and 226 pulli ringed, which I'm very pleased with!

Add to that a few nests at other sites nearby (Starling, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting), plus some good nests found while I was on holiday in the Yorkshire Dales (Lesser Redpoll, Ring Ouzel), and it turned out to be a great year for nest finding for me.

A few pictures below:

A Reed Bunting chick in the hand, ready for ringing.

A Reed Warbler nest with five eggs.

The same Reed Warbler nest with five chicks.

A Reed Warbler chick ready for ringing.

A Ring Ouzel nest on moorland in the Yorkshire Dales.

A closer view of the Ring Ouzel nest.

Back to the Blog

It's been quite a while since I last posted anything to this Blog, and a lot's changed in the meantime. I'm now based in Suffolk, and have recently gained a full C permit with mist net endorsement.

Off work for a while with a gammy knee, but can walk to the end of the garden so I've had a net up on the calmest of recent days.

Mainly common garden birds, but good to get a few warblers through (Blackcap, Chiffchaff, and a Reed Warbler), plus Goldfinch, Bullfinch, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Also a couple of days ago, 3 Goldcrests in the net at the same time (Dad and 2 kids - where was their mum?).

Anyway, I hope to keep this a lot more up-to-date, especially now I can do some independent ringing. Photos will be added when there's any thing of interest.