Friday, 19 December 2008

Apple Attraction . . . Suffolk 16th December 2008.
We have permission to ring at a fabulous old orchard site near Woodbridge where we have in past winters, noted Fieldfare coming down to feast on good numbers of apples which are not harvested but left in situ. On our first attempt at the site, we caught 6 Fieldfare which we were really pleased with (no tapes used here). There were 50 or so noted feeding on fallen apples throughout the day. We have high hopes for a lot more Fieldfare here as the winter progresses (Interestingly there were only 9 Fieldfare ringed in total in Suffolk in 2006).

At last a Jay! Cambridgeshire Ringing Site . . . 11th December 2008.
Finally I (Becca) have managed to get rid of my ringing 'bogey' bird - the JAY! A fine example was caught whilst coming to a peanut feeder at our Cambridgeshire ringing site. These birds are hardy, strong and very aggressive! There is power in that bill! Jays take a 'D' ring, the same as Lapwing, Green Woodpecker, male Sparrowhawk and Redshank to name but a few. This bird was an adult (4) based on the black bars on the blue feathers on the primary coverts being aligned with each other (see below).

Spring Trap Sandpiper - Suffolk - 3rd December 2008.
A Green Sandpiper was trapped and ringed on the Deben Estuary on the afternoon of the 3rd December. The spring trap was set up at the waters edge of  a small reservoir within our ringing site, where several Sandpiper had been seen feeding along the water margin. 

Suffolk Redpolls . . . . .17th November 2008.
Back at our Deben site post Fair Isle, we managed via tape-luring, to catch 7 smart Lesser Redpolls. 

Suffolk Sewage works - Revisited . . . .November 19th 2008.
We visited the Sewage Work site again in Mid November but unfortunately had little success. Although there were a few wagtails, both Pied and Grey in the vicinity, the numbers were smaller than previous visits. After spending the afternoon and evening in the area, we only caught one Pied Wagtail with two 40 ft mist nets up and a tape lure. The bird caught was a first year (3) Male. See the bottom image below which shows the new, dark greater coverts in contrast with the brown old retained ones.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Siberian Chiffchaff (Tristis) . . .

Monday, 27 October 2008

Merlin Magic . . .
Sunday nights 'dazzling' session - (the highlight of each day now there are so few birds about!) saw the triumphant ringers return with this fantastic 1st year female Merlin which had been dazzled as it roosted next to the roadside. Merlins are quite a handful as they are extremely alert & vicious, they will attack with their talons or bill at any opportunity and have lightning reactions! After Phil ringed this bird, which took an 'E' ring & was a ringing 'tick' for him, it was roosted overnight in a box & released at first light the next morning. There have been at least 3 Merlin seen hunting about the Island over the last few days. I particularly like the rufous underwing pattern as shown below . . . 

A large catch . . . (Friday night continued)
Friday nights catch included 6 Whooper Swans. Of these 6 birds, 2 of them already had Darvic Rings on & were from Iceland! One other was a retrap from the night before. The other 3 were brought back & ringed with split rings size 'M' - a very different type of ring to work with!  It was great to see these incredible birds so close & in the hand - they are so large & heavy! Interestingly all the Whooper Swans we have caught so far have been very calm & placid in the hand - unlike Mute Swans . A Herring Gull was also caught along with the other Wigeon & Tufted Duck mentioned in an older post below.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Wildfowl & Waders . . .
Friday night 'dazzling' ended with a Wigeon, Tufted Duck & Whooper Swans in the ringing room. The Oystercatchers were caught a few nights earlier. One was an adult bird & the other a 1st year - see photograph below of both of them  together showing differences in eye & bill colour & bill length. The adult was released without ringing as it had a serious leg injury caused by sheep's wool which had wrapped around the leg & over time had tightened - the leg was cut deeply & close to coming off altogether. The bird had sadly died the next morning. Oystercatchers with wool around their legs are a fairly common sight on Fair Isle  where they suffer the consequences of feeding in fields where small quantities of  loose wool are in abundance. Many  Oystercatchers die a slow death after picking up wool  & others end up losing a leg & carry on a healthy & active existence with only one.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Fair Isle Fare . . .
There has been a marked increase in Fieldfare over the last few days. This bird was trapped in one of the heligoland traps and is a first year female based on tail shape (pointed tips not rounded like adult) & female due to the lack of black on the underside of the crown feathers.
Jack of Snipes . . .
We love Jack Snipe so it was great to see one in the hand & with a Common Snipe for close comparison after another successful dazzling session on Thursday evening (23rd). 1st & 2nd pic below Jack Snipe, 3rd Common & Jack Snipe, 4th Common Snipe, 5th Jack & Common Snipe.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

More Dazzling Success . . .
Tuesday evening saw another Tufted Duck dazzled and brought back to the Obs for processing. During the day more Purple Sandpipers were Spring trapped in the Havens, a few more Snow Bunting were ringed after being caught in the single panel net on the beach & a striking Woodcock was trapped in Vaadal. On Wednesday, a change in the weather brought in an influx of Redwing with numbers ringed  reaching double figures. Wednesday night saw a return of higher winds & rain - so more dazzling was called for. This time the 'Dazzlers' brought back 5 Greylag Geese & 2 fabulous young Whooper Swans. . .