Sunday, 20 April 2014

More spring arrivals....

After finishing my nighshift I arrived home to make up my flask and packed lunch, loaded the car and drove straight to the reservoir where the team of Dawn, David and Simon had already arrived at 05:30. I arrived at 08:15 to be greeted by a chilly easterly breeze that seemed to cut right through the three layers of clothing that I was wearing. Good numbers of Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warblers were once again the main catch. Linnets and Tree Sparrows were also noted in good numbers but the latter still showed no signs of breeding just yet. New spring arrivals included a Grasshopper Warbler that was heard reeling whilst the nets were erected, a singing Whitethroat and an Osprey flew over heading east at 09:00. Around 150 Sand Martins & 50 House Martins were feeding in Blowers Lodge bay. 50+ birds were processed throughout the day included Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Willow Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet and Reed Bunting. Adam.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Slow but steady start

Our habitat management in the Blowers Lodge Bay area has finished and ringing has now started on a regular basis with our first Saturday ringing session of the year beginning yesterday. Between scrub-bashing sessions we have been able to get out to set some nets up during the week when the weather has permitted and we have already ringed good numbers of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and one or two Blackcaps. Yesterday morning we had the opportunity to get plenty of nets up but the wind soon got up which greatly reduced the number of birds caught. However, the first Sedge Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat were welcome additions to the days total which included a few more Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs. When things were quiet between net rounds, Dave and I took the opportunity to check our owl boxes in Game Wood to see if any Tawnies had taken up residence. Things weren't looking good with squirrel dreys in five boxes, although a pair of Jackdaws have started a nest in their 'regular' box. On checking the final box Dave netted a Tawny Owl trying to escape. The picture below shows the owls primary and secondary feathers to be uniform and all of the same generation which confirms the age code as 8 (hatched three or more years ago).
Adult wing (Simon Watts)
She had a fully developed brood patch and on inspection of the box there were four eggs found. She was already ringed and on arriving home I checked on our database to find that she was ringed in 2012 in her 2nd year, in the same wood and again with a brood patch. So this female has been hanging around the area for a few years now and made at least two attempts to raise her young. Last year there were no attempts by Tawny Owls due to Squirrel and Hornets getting in the boxes first so this winter we have ejected the Squirrels before they have had a chance to settle in, giving the Owls a fighting chance this year.
Adult female Tawny Owl (Simon Watts)
So the season of spring arrivals is upon us and our CES project in Blowers Lodge Bay starts in May. Lets hope we have a good year and the birds have an even better one!


Monday, 10 March 2014

2013 Annual Report

The Stanford Ringing Group 2013 Annual Report is now available. To read, click on the link below -

SRG Annual Report 2013 (PDF - 503kb)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

More Wind and Rain

Ok, we have had enough now. If it's not windy it's raining and if its not raining its windy. Will we ever get out again ????. Fortunately this time of year we mainly do our scrub clearance program with the occasional ringing sessions during the week. During January we managed three ringing sessions, none of which were particularly productive, with only 50 birds ringed all month. With reports of Brambling and Nuthatch on the top road under the Beech trees we made two attempts but to no avail. The final session was down on the reservoir by the feeders and fortunately it was quite a calm day with the best of the catch being 7 Redwing and 5 Lesser Redpoll. Hopefully the weather will change soon or we will all sink without trace. Mick

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Calm before the Storm

Mick sums up Saturday mornings ringing session:

With indifferent weather and not a lot of birds about and despite having a feeding station we have persevered all month with not great numbers per session but we continue in the hope of having a decent catch during the month. So with a bit of calmish weather forecast for Saturday morning we assembled to take advantage of it. The team arrived at 6:00. Dave, Dawn and Matt were in one team to erect nets down one side of the bay while Mel and myself dealt with the other. Nets up and a combination of our new Latvian Redwing love song together with our old winter thrush sounds echoing out pre dawn (time of day not our trainee) we all sat down drinking coffee hoping for the best. It has to be said at this time of year if we don't have a good thrush catch we tend not to have a very good catch at all. Anyway, as we sat their in the gloom we could here the odd Redwing coming out of roost so my expectations were high but they always are, eventually it was time for the net round so we split into our respective teams and headed off with thrushes moving about everywhere. As Mel and I approached the first pair of nets several thrushes could be seen, these were quickly extracted so we could carry on to the rest. We were not disappointed as the other nets caught in a similar fashion. So with the first round complete we managed to catch 58 new birds together with a handful of retraps, a great result !!! The rest of the morning continued with more thrushes being caught but unfortunately the wind increased to the point where the nets wouldn't be out of place being used as sails on a Galleon. At the end of play we ended up with 77 new birds of which 62 were Redwing (our second best catch ever), 8 Blackbird, 2 Song Thrush and a single Fieldfare. Not a bad thrush morning and as an added bonus we also caught a Chiffchaff. With the kit packed up it was off to our headquarters at The White Horse in South Kilworth for a well earned pint of Real Ale!!!!!


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Saturday 23rd November 2013

A cold morning greeted us as we met at the gate. The wind direction had changed over the last couple of days from westerlies to north-easterlies which we hoped would bring in some winter thrushes.
The first net round was promising with 70+ birds bagged up. Redwing, Song Thrush, Fieldfare and Blackbird made up the quartet of thrushes although numbers are still very low. A good mix of tits, Treecreeper, Wrens, Dunnocks, Finches and Buntings throughout the morning resulted in 67 new birds and 41 retraps. The highlight was a retrap female Blackcap.
Three Woodcock flew around the ringing base whilst we waited for first light. A Raven called and was seen later heading over the wood and a Brambling was also heard calling on the railtrack.
An albino Squirrel has been reported in the vicinity over the last two weeks and this morning it was briefly seen exiting the wood onto the railtrack grass verge. We will try our best to get a picture of it.
However, if any other photographers get a picture of it I will gladly upload it to the website if they wish.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

September review

Mick sums up the latest month....

''WOW, what a month! With some 1155 birds ringed this month of 37 species I think you could say its been a busy month and the second highest monthly total we have ever had. It started well with the 3rd producing
165 new birds the highlights being 57 Whitethroat, 35 Blackcap and 15 Chiffchaff and ended with a fall on the 27th producing a good mix of birds including 30 Reed Bunting, 29 Chiffchaff, 25 Blackcap, our first Grey Wagtail for the year and yet another Spotted Flycatcher, the third of the year, when they can be described as intermittent at best is a great result. We also controlled a Chiffchaff and a Reed Warbler on that day, an addition to the Blackcaps we controlled on the 20th and 24th. It would be great if they both came from the same part of the country as it would possibly give us an indication of where the migrants came from that day. The rest of the month produced a lot of highs and lows with an unexpected catch of Swallows and Martins between the 12th- 21st , this was a period of time when the weather was dank and overcast together with a persistent westerly wind. Each morning we went just after first light and Swallows and Martins would turn up flying up and down the hedge line in search of food so we erected nets to catch some and were fairly successful managing to catch some 126 over the 10 day period. A great result as we are usually not very successful at catching them. Meadow Pipits have been about 10 days late in arriving this year possibly due to a late breeding season due to the cold spring so the catching of the species did not start till the 21st and since then we have caught 72. A little disappointing but not bad as very few have moved through up till now. It has to be said the real stars of the month have been Chiffchaff and Blackcap with 245 and 236 birds being caught, these birds respond to sound lures very well especially for the first hour or so after dawn, try it and join in the fun !!!!
Finally on the 28th we caught a Redwing, the first we have ever caught in September and the earliest by about two weeks. We are hoping now for October to continue in a similar way.''