Saturday, 13 March 2010

Cinclophiles abroad

The fourth season of our Dipper RAS has got off to a pretty good start. Kath, Phil, Steve and Stephen have not only sent us sightings of colour ringed birds on the River Tame, but perhaps more importantly of non-colour ringed birds. As we checked the nest sites of most of the territories upstream of Stalybridge we knew where to try to catch the unringed birds, especially those with only BTO metal rings, and this will help us with arranging priorities. We were using a 4 metre Ecotone, metal sectional poles and a pair of 'Rocks' (climbing jargon for half inch BSF nuts with string attached). It was a bit of a laugh really watching an out of practice trainer fumbling with bits of string and a couple of trees. The pair of Dippers patiently waited down stream for the variety turn to finish before Justin and I walked 50 yds down past them and twinkled the male into the bottom shelf. The female followed but bounced out, so it took another short walk before the female was successfully bagged. We were pretty cold after a morning's work, so it was interesting to check the fat and muscle scores to find out how the birds had survived the winter. 0/2 or as good as they were last year after a mild winter. Justin applied the colour rings to the male which was a recruit, 2009 pullus from Uppermill Garden Centre. This is the fourth recruit from this site which must have amazing food supplies! One the way home we called in to Greenfield, where we found possibly 4 unringed birds in a half mile stretch down to the Chew Brook confluence. There is still a fair amount of snow on the north facing slopes above Dovestones Reservoir, so maybe they like the warmer waters round the WwTW?

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