Tuesday, 2 September 2014

The day to beat all days.

Well the plan was to meet at the track gate at 5 as usual. But on my arrival at 4.45 I saw headlights coming up the track from the direction of the reservoir, it was Mick he'd got up early and erected half of the number of nets. Mick went off to meet Vivien at the groups headquarters The White Hart at South Kilworth. Viv was joining us for the day to be assessed for her C permit. Mick, Viv and Adam arrived back at the gate and we set off to erect the remaining nets. All nets were erected by 0600 so we had a quick coffee before setting off for the first round. Myself and Adam went one way and Mick and Viv went the other.On returning to the ringing area Adam and myself started processing our 30 or 40 birds. After a while we began to wonder where Mick and Viv had got too, when in the distance I saw Mick running ( that's a sight to behold. One I don't think I will ever see again, or should I say don't want to see again ha ha). He had run out of bird bags and came back to the cars to use ours. Mick went back to help Viv and on their return they were ladened down with birds. Myself and Viv set about ringing and even Adam had to forego his cup of tea to ring.The first round had produced over 100 new Blackcaps several Whitethroats and Chiffchaffs, but no Garden Warblers. We only needed 2 more this season to break the record for the group and reach 100 new birds. The second round again produced a large number of Blackcaps, Reed Warblers, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff and one solitary Garden Warbler (we had equaled the record). The next round produced more Blackcaps, Lesser Whitethroats and the 100th Garden Warbler ( a new record for the site). We continued with more net rounds, but fortunately there were fewer birds as the day progressed and the sun lit the nets like a beacons and we had time to have refreshments. By 1300 we had taken down all the nets and sat tallying our mornings ringing experience. We sat exhausted but what a fantastic mornings ringing, we had processed 331 birds of which 298 were new birds. Of that total  Blackcap 216 (6) , Reed Warbler 10, Whitethroat 18, Sedge Warbler 5, Garden Warbler 2, Lesser Whitethroat 2, Willow Warbler 8 and Chiffchaff 18. Never has such a large number of birds been processed or Blackcaps ringed in one session in the history of the group.
What a awesome day. Time for a well deserved pint at the headquarters.

The trouble with technology.......

At the ripe old age of.....shall we say....over 50, Mick has a little trouble with new technology. When out successfully catching Tree Pipits at Stanford two weeks ago he did manage to take a photograph of one he caught but trying to upload it onto the Blog got a little too complicated.
So here is Micks photo of one of a pair of Tree Pipits, the first to be ringed at Stanford since 1976!
Tree Pipit - MJT

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Saturday 30th August

At 05:00, Dave, Mick and I met at the rail track. It was blowing a hoolie, but we decided to see if any areas were sheltered enough to get a few nets up. We managed to put up 9 nets and although each round was rather poor in numbers, over the day we did scrape together 31 new and 34 retraps including a retrap Kingfisher, 14 new Blackcaps and 5 Reed Warblers. It seems that the Whitethroats are mostly gone now as we caught only 3 all day.

We spent the morning getting to know Peter who joined us at 07:00 and is a prospective new trainee. Simon joined us a little later and so we ended up with almost a full team. To finish off the morning nicely as we were locking the gate, a Camberwell Beauty crossed the rail track.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Blackcaps in the Mist

Not being sure if I was going to go out or not I didn't set the alarm as the weather forecast was for early morning rain but in the end I woke up anyway so I decided to get up and go. What a great decision! Although it was raining when I left for the reservoir at 04:15, by the time I got there 20 minutes later it had turned into that fine miserly rain with a bit of mist. I erected the nets and switched the audio lures on and sat waiting to do the first round of the nets about 30 minutes after dawn. As the title suggests the first round was lots of Blackcaps a couple of Garden Warblers and Lesser Whitethroat mixed in with the usual fare. Whilst doing the round of nets I noticed a number of Swallows hanging around so i switched one of the Lures to Swallow and hey presto I caught 22 Swallow with two Sand Martins (a new species for the year). This second round also produced more Blackcaps and by the end of the morning I had caught a respectable 36 birds, 31 being new. By 10:00 it tailed off rapidly leaving me on 97 new birds and 33 retraps, not a bad morning considering I wasn't planing to go out -- Mick

Monday, 25 August 2014

Garden session

The weather forecast for today was heavy rain and 40mph winds. Well, at 07:00 this morning it was calm in Corby with no rain so I opened my 30' net and turned on a lure to try and catch some warblers. Firstly I set the lure for Whitethroat which worked well when I caught one within minutes. After a couple of non-warbler rounds I changed it to Blackcap and Chiffchaff but first I had to change the batteries which were in the garage. When I returned a couple of minutes later there were six birds in the net which included a Blackcap and my first Lesser Whitethroat ringed in the garden. I have heard Lesser Whitethroats singing in scrub behind my garage for a few years so I knew it would only be a matter of time before I caught one.
Lesser Whitethroat

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Saturday 23rd August

We had a good turn out this morning with me, Mel, Mick, Simon and Dave meeting on the railtrack at 05:00 and Adam joining us a little later on. It was quite cool to begin with and the first round was low in numbers. Over the course of the morning we achieved 53 new and 41 retraps, with highlights being one 3J House Martin, 11 Blackcap and 10 Whitethroat. No Tree Pipits caught today but we did have one more Garden Warbler which means that we are crawling towards the record, only 4 more to go! Other points of interest this morning - a flock of 11 Ravens went over during an early coffee break and by the feeders was a Clouded Yellow butterfly.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Just like the buses

Inspired by Peter Alkers exploits up north with passing Tree Pipits I thought I would give it a go down here in Northamptonshire, not that we get any down here on a regular basis any more but low and behold I had success. As I said just like the buses we caught one way back in 1976 then no more till this week when I have caught 2 on consecutive days. What a result !!! This week I have also caught 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, this brings us to 11 for the year the first time we have ever reached double figures and also a Kingfisher that brings us to 15 for the year which is a joint record, so all in all not a bad week despite the weather. On the warbler front we are edging ever closer to a couple of records. Lesser Whitethroat has reached 67 for the year, all we need is another 9 birds and Garden Warbler is currently sitting on 95, a tantalising 5 away. Overall we have not done too bad this year up to now with some 1400 warblers ringed to date so come on you ringers down South..... start catching a few of our birds!!!! Mick