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.

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.