Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Fat Chaffinches

After a morning Dipper nest recording there was still time to get a few hours in at the nursery. The highlight was ringing three Chaffinches with fat scores of 5. Totals as follows:-

LESRE 20/6

David was too busy to run the whoosh so no JAYs, but still 45 'new opportunities to learn', for Jake and me.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Traffic light repair man?

Thursday is my day to visit Mr Bun for my speciality bread order, and involves crossing the A6 at the pedestrian crossing. This activity is more pleasurable now with the incubating Coloured Dove sitting atop the traffic light gazing down. I wonder if I can ring the pullus/i without being arrested.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

First Dipper eggs

With many territorial birds loafing about, and only one nest checked so far at lining stage, we were expecting first eggs next week. An early morning trip to Happy Valley hoping, in vain, to avoid the legions of dog walkers proved us wrong. The female shot off the nest parting Nev's hair (ha ha) leaving 4 warm eggs. The female at the next territory downstream looked bored perched up a tree keeping its feet dry and not bothering building yet. As we identified the colour rings, a kingfisher, the fourth in 8 days. shot by. Once again we didn't have a net up. As Nev left to sort out paternal duties on Mothers' Day, I headed for the Nursery, but with the wind getting up yet another influx of REEBUs skipped the feeding station nets. A similar situation prevailed at the whoosh net, so we only processed a Jay, our 14th new Jay since the middle of October and another adult. Before Jake disappeared to carry out filial duties we managed to find a couple of LOTTI nests currently at N1 stage; will they escape the MAGPIs this year for a change?

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?