Opened a net in the garden at Wyken on 6th April. Not much about, but did catch a new female Blackcap, which was nice, and a Control Chiffchaff, which was even better. Ring number DKL345. The first control Chiffchaff I've had at Wyken Hall, Suffolk!
Yes, I know things are just getting going on the migration ringing front, but here at Wyken in Suffolk I'm coming to the end of my ringing projects for good. Why? Well, at the end of April I'm moving to the Isle of Canna, in the Small Isles, off the west coast of Scotland!
I've just joined the Highland Ringing Group, who have been undertaking seabird ringing on the island for a number of years, and I hope to join them on some of their ringing sessions when they come over for their week-long trips. But I'll also be looking at covering other bird groups on the island, such as passerines (a possible Twite project has been suggested), and waders - lots of breeding Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Lapwing, Snipe, and a few Curlew.
I'm going to keep this blog going, so you'll be kept up to date on my ringing activities on Canna.
Started the day with a bash at the 'Foraging Farmland Bird Project in Suffolk' March ringing session at Wyken Hall. Very disappointing, with just 4 birds caught for 4 hours of effort:
Dunnock 2 (1)
Reed Bunting 0 (1)
There were two Long-eared Owls flying around the field margins though, which was a site first for me. At one point, one landed in the middle of a field of winter stubbles, and was soon being mobbed by 27 Skylarks!
Went home to put a couple of nets up in the garden. As usual, tits were present in good numbers:
Robin 1 (0)
Marsh Tit 1 (1) - the new bird was colour-ringed for my RAS project
Coal Tit 1 (1)
Blue Tit 0 (18) - including one ringed 14/5/2011 as a nest-box pullus
Great Tit 1 (2)
Starling 1 (0) - never even seen a starling in the garden before!
Greenfinch 1 (0)
A bit of garden ringing today, followed by a walk around the lakes and woods here at Wyken Hall.
On the reservoir were a pair of Egyptian Geese with 5 newly fledged chicks - the first fledglings I've seen this year. Over in Rushgreen Grove my first Chiffchaff of the season was singing - feels like spring is definitely here!
As for the birds caught in the garden, nothing exceptional:
Dunnock 1 (2)
Robin 0 (1)
Blackbird 0 (1)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Long-tailed Tit 1 (1)
Coal Tit 1 (1)
Blue Tit 1 (6)
Great Tit 1 (4)
The Control Blackbird was a male (CW79044), and was the 3rd bird controlled by me here at Wyken Hall this month - the others being a Reed Bunting (Y113822), and a Great Tit (L725053). In due course, when I get the reports through from the BTO, I'll post details here.
Still waiting for details from the Dutch Arnheim scheme about the Robin I caught here back in October (BA65008), but hopefully that will come through soon.
A half hour ringing session yesterday in my back garden wasn't expected to turn much up.
True to form, the net filled up with Blue Tits, with 13 of them caught, along with a single Great Tit, and a single Robin.
Best of the bunch was the Great Tit, a control (L725053). There are quite a few other ringers living nearby, so I suspect this one hadn't come too far. Time will tell!
Also of interest was one of the Blue Tits, first ringed on 16th May 2011 as one of eight pulli hatched out in an air vent in the back of the kitchens at the Leaping Hare restaurant here at Wyken Hall. This female had so far managed to avoid recapture, so it was a delight to see that she had survived, even if she'd not travelled very far (about 400 metres from the nest!).
Another session for the Suffolk Foraging Farmland Bird Project this morning.
I tried a different wild bird seed strip at Dairy Farm to those I've ringed at before. I started putting nets up at 7.30am, and had a couple done when a huge flock of Linnets (550+) came in from Upper Gravel Pit. Lovely though big numbers of birds are, I was ringing on my own, and didn't want to catch more than I could deal with, so quickly took down a net to leave it with just one 18m Ecotone. This was a good move, so it turned out, as the rain moved in half an hour later, with lots of birds threatening to find the net. I decided to call it a day, and to try another time with a better weather forecast. Still, I got a few interesting birds in the time I had the net open:
Blue Tit 1 (1) - this retrap was originally ringed in my garden, 2km away
By lunch back at home, the sun had come out, so I decided to give it a couple of hours on the Wyken Hall estate up at The Dales again. The hedge between the wild bird seed strips has been cut since I was last there, and the estate had a hare shoot there yesterday, so bird numbers are down a bit, but it was still a worthwhile session:
Reed Bunting 4 (3)
Of the 3 already-ringed Reed Buntings, 2 were retraps from this same ringing site, but the other was a Control Y113822. Could this be 'your' REEBU?
Total 31 (4) = 35 birds handled. A nice start to February!
Up at Little Bofus lake I put up a 3m net in the reeds to assess the extent of the Reed Bunting roost. Birds started to come in at around 16.45, but there weren't that many of them. I caught 3 more Reed Buntings, but would have liked to see some of the 23 Pied Wagtails finding the net. Maybe next time!
Interestingly, one of the Reed Bunting retraps this morning was ringed at Little Bofus a couple of weeks ago, showing that at least some of the birds foraging around the farm during the day come in to roost at this lake in the evening. Back in the summer I had a male Reed Bunting nesting at the lake that was colour ringed by the BTO in winter 2007 in pretty much the same place as my nets are set up on The Dales for the Forgaing Farmland Bird Project.
Well, the Wyken Hall shoot has finished for another season, which means I'm free to go about my bird ringing around the estate without worrying about annoying anybody, or being shot at.
Set up three nets by the wild bird seed mixes up along the hedge between the fields known as The Dales, and 35 Acres. A steady trickle came through all morning, with just a few birds every half an hour, but it was a really nice change to catching even more GRETI and BLUTI in my garden.
Also of note, whilst sitting in my car having a cuppa, a stoat dashed in front and started making its way up towards my nets. Worry about it taking any birds caught there I followed it up, and was surprised to see another stoat, but completely white in its winter ermine! You can say what you like about stoats, but I'm a big fan of all the mustelids, so this really made my morning.
Over the last couple of days (22nd & 23rd Jan) I've had a 3m net up in the reed beds by the little lake here, and have opened it for an hour or so over my lunch break. Caught 11 Reed Bunting there - all new birds. Might have to look at that roost again to see if the numbers are still high. I'll report back!