Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Transfer to Sheffield Wednesday

For me one of the big disappointments of our Dipper project was that Stuart Sharp had failed to secure funding to expand his Dipper project on the other side of the 'hill' in the Peak District, but at least he has a PhD student carrying on his pilot in NW Sheffield. However to Stuart's obvious delight the female controlled at nest under a bridge in Hillsborough was RX54621 ringed as a pullus in 2008 at Diggle east of Oldham having travelled at least 37 miles. As far as I know Oldham Athletic and Sheffield Wednesday are the only two football clubs to have an owl on their crests; perhaps they should change them to Dippers.
How interesting it would be to know the birds dispersal route over the hill.

Dippers galore

Why Dippers? Because we have some. It would perhaps be more appropriate to run a project on a red or amber listed species, but to be honest we would struggle to trap/retrap 40 warblers of all species combined, so at least we thought we might achieve a modicum of usefulness with Dippers. It started out in Sept 2005 with the ringing of RV21625 a 3J mist netted on Todd Brook SW of Whaley Bridge, and after bridging the credibility gap finally developed into a Colour Ringing RAS and Nest Record project.We started in 2007 in various tributaries of the Mersey. After a posting on the Manchester Birding Forum requesting sightings of colour ringed Dipper, we received help from several birders starting with BTO RR Steve Suttill who started sending us sightings of birds in hitherto unknown territories. We soon began to realise there were more Dippers in our study area than we had anticipated. Although some nests proved extremely difficult to find, Nev Powell could not resist the opportunity to add to the NRC total and got into the habit of inspecting every bridge as we drove around ringing almost endless nests of pulli. One of the difficult territories was Tesco Whaley Bridge, but birds were seen heading back towards the village. After parking in the White Hart car park, a quick leap over the fence soon established that there was indeed a nest under the main road, but frustratingly the four pulli were just out of reach. A mist net was stretched across the River Goyt just upstream from the bridge and the female quickly bagged. The bird was none other than RV21625. It wasn't a big movement but the bird at 4 years is our oldest so far.