Sunday, 27 December 2009

Toys for the boys

It's a sort of birding bling; a karibiner with built in LED, fitted onto the neck sling to read the controls on a new walkie-talkie. So on a cold morning Jake was finally allowed into the whoosh net hide with all his paraphernalia and the trigger, while David fed sausages into the George Foreman. Within minutes Jake's voice came through 'There are two REEBUs in the catching area what shall I do'. Well he was hoping for a Fieldfare ringing tick and Reed Bunting is only our target species at the Nursery. 'Fire Jake!' and I rounded the corner to see the net still set.
'Why didn't you fire then?' 'Well I was just about to when the next door neighbours slammed their car door.......' He still hasn't got that ringing tick either.

Train spotting Siskins?

The Dowager Duchess of Dobcross does it again. The disused trackbed of the Delph Donkey runs north south quite close to Margaret's garden bringing a stream of juicy migrants onto her feeders; recent Siskins are a bit special. V605953 ringed in her garden in Aug 2008 was controlled in Baldwins Hill East Grinstead March 2009, passing on its way X281045 ringed at Baldwins Hill in Feb 2009 and controlled in Dobcross (east of Oldham) April 2009. Where did they go from East Grinstead? My feeling is that they travel annually to East Grinstead hoping to greet Bluebell's first steam train into the town since 1957. If you have a better idea let me know!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Interesting, but not a hen.

The Goyt valley between Marple Bridge in Stockport and New Mills in High Peak is regarded by local shooters as 'Woodcock alley', and in the winter months it is not uncommon to flush one or two in bits of woodland anywhere nearby. At that time of year they are regularly seen flying over our ringing site nr Macclesfield. A request from Adele Powell for Woodcock feathers resulted in a modification to my permit, and David and Jake flushed five birds in a local wood.
As a break from ringing finches we slung a net across a woodland ride followed by beating up to it. A bird flushed from its roost stormed over the net at a height of 4 metres. Yesterday working partly on a hint from Jim Hodson about nest finding we moved the net 50 metres down the ride and tried again. It was 1400 hrs and the sun was out, and the first bird flushed, and our ringing group's 2nd went straight in the net. A second bird doubled back well before reaching the net. It was satisfying to post off a few feathers for stable isotope analysis; good luck with the PhD Adele.