Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Good Question

I have thought it would be nice that every Tuesday we could have a quiz night just for a bit of weekly fun, due to Scouse Ringer giving me a question every week. I thought it would be nice to have a bit of a quiz night.

So tonight's Tuesday night quiz question is:

In Britain a Cuckoo has 3 main host species of bird that they use for raising their young, what are the 3 species? 

See if you can have a go without using google. I will post the answer tomorrow night.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

A Well Earned Roost

It's been another great week and I have so much to blog about, so I will have to split all the information across a few blogs. Later in the week I will be blogging about some more fox cam success and about some filming this weekend.  

Hope you all enjoyed doing your RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch this week - what did you get? We got Reed Buntings, Rooks, House Sparrows, Tits, Blackbirds and even 6 Black Head Gulls feeding from the back tray in the snow.

 Scouse Ringer set me a challenge this week, and I had to pass it to go on a roost ringing session with him. I think we caught the most species on the first net round, catching Chaffinches, a Blackbird and a stunning male Gold Crest. I was lucky enough to ring it which was a real treat!

They take a AA ring type. I was really addicted to the fiery head - amazing colours.

Another small bird that we caught taking an AA ring was a Wren, the first for me this year.

Here we are comparing the size of a Gold Crest and a Wren; in comparison the Goldcrest is quite a bit smaller than the Wren, although it doesn't show this so well in the picture. Check out Charlies thumbnail compared to the size of the Goldcrest.

When I was ringing the birds I was checking if they were male or female, juvenile or adult and all this information is recorded.

I think I got most of them right.

Some of the Chaffinches were almost in full breeding plumage especially the males, however the males' bills weren't blue yet. I was taking a few birds out of the bags and I think I did quite well.

I rung a new tit species today (a Coal Tit) one of my favorite birds.

A fabulous day with lots more great teaching from Peter. I also got to see a Peregrine, Woodcock, Teal, 2 Ravens and a single Grey Lag Goose flying over. 

(And no wellie disasters this week!).

Scouse Ringer's challenge was to name the only group of birds that can't walk if any of you want to have a go.

Wild Bird Wednesday

Sunday, 20 January 2013

The Yellowhammer and the Missing Wellie

I was up early today as I was lucky to be taking part in another ringing session - with the scouse ringer. I really can't tell  you how very lucky I am to be able to do this sort of thing, not many children my age get to do this. 

A cold and white start to the day brought some mega birds for me. The first net round probably gave us the most birds; the long net along the field brought us two Yellowhammer, a few Chaffinch and two Fieldfare. 

I can't believe I was lucky enough to hold one of these stunning Fieldfares.

It doesn't get any better than this, I was allowed to ring a Fieldfare (with a size C ring). When I got home I was watching a few Fieldfare in the garden and thinking that I had actually had one in my hand.

As great as it is to hold them, it  is also amazing to watch them fly free again....

Another stunning bird that turned up was the Yellowhammer...

I was lucky enough to hold one as well and I am getting more comfortable holding the birds now.

After I had ringed the bird, I kept hold of it for a while to study it closely. 

It was the female that I ringed, however I still got to hold and study the males.

We caught quite a few Blackbirds in the nets today, so I got to handle a few of my favorite birds.

This particular blackbird had been feeding well and was  rather fat and you could see the fat layer under its feathers. It was weighed also to compare with other birds.

Even though it was another perfect ringing session, I went down a path I have never been down before and it was really muddy; so when I lifted my leg up to take another step I hadn't noticed my welly had come off, and when I finally noticed my sock was a meter down in mud! 

Another brilliant weekend.

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Armchair Birdwatching

Because of the snow, football was cancelled today so I was excited to see what Winter birds the snow had brought to the garden. By the end of the day I think I got a good result.

This beautiful male Reed Bunting had joined a Chaffinch flock; he stayed for about 20 minutes then took off with a few Chaffinches. Chaffinches were everywhere today, I counted about 12 the most I've ever had at once.

The Great Tits were enjoying the seed today, whereas the Blue Tits preferred the nuts. The Starlings just ate anything of course! 

I was looking for the Great Spotted Woodpecker all day today and finally succeeded; capturing it feeding on the fat balls for a good ten minutes.

A flock of ten Fieldfare kept on visiting the garden, (the most I've had this Winter).

This Wood Pigeon had visited my tray today, which is brilliant because I haven't seen him/her for ages.

3 Collared Doves were enjoying their share of the food.

The Robin was coming right up to the door, probably due to the snowy weather.

All the birds were trying out the bird table today, especially the Robin.

More Chaffinches in the snow, this one had a cold foot!

Another exciting thing that happened this week was getting this really old book called Birds of the Wayside and Woodland.

It is really interesting because it is has loads of information in, so it should help me with my bird identifications. 

 Thank you very much to Stephen Entwistle, the very kind man who has given me the book. He buys and sells old books at auctions. The paintings in the book are marvelous as well.

I hope there is snowy weather next week, ready for the RSPB big garden bird watch.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

D is for Jay

Today I have been lucky to be ringing again with the Scouse Ringer 

When I arrived at my ringing destination,  Daniel ( another trainee ) had already got there so we decided to walk up to the nets together. We were also looking for Peter (Scouse Ringer) at the same time, but we couldn't find him. Since we couldn't find him we waited by a sign where the path starts to split up. When he got to us, he seemed quite pleased when I told him we already had seven Redpoll and a solitary Blackbird. When we finished setting up the table and chairs and everything like that, we did a net round; the first net had 16 Lesser Redpoll (3 already ringed), a Long Tailed Tit, a few Blue Tits, Chaffinches, Greenfinches, Goldfinches, plenty of Blackbirds and quite a few others. The next net across the field brought us Chaffinches and Greenfinches. Moving on to the net where the feeding station had been destroyed by squirrels, we found a Jay and a few Chaffinches. The last net wasn't that busy apart from a Blackbird, a Long Tailed Tit and a Blue Tit (unfortunately no Gold Crest). 

When we got the birds back to ring, there were that many, we got stuck in straight away,  I rung one Redpoll and helped process the others, which means saying how old it is and reading out the ring number. I processed this male Lesser Redpoll. They are lovely birds.

Here Daniel is ageing a Redpoll using the tail feathers.

This is Peter and Daniel comparing the male and female Lesser Redpoll. The males have a much brighter red head top, the chest has much more red on as well.

In the end we ended up catching 2 Jays which is a great start to the year. Even though they look delicate birds when they fly, they are actually very fiesty.  

Me and Dan rung one each, but it wasn't an easy task.  The Jay takes a size D ring.

We are probably a least 50 times as big as these birds, however I was a bit wary!!!!!!!!! The most unpredictable bird I've ever held any way.

They are difficult to handle especially when they are squawking and attempting to eat your fingers. I just want to say a quick thank you to my dad for taking these splendid pictures.

Since this was an adult Blackbird it was quite big, so I had to use 2 hands.

If you look at this adult Blackbirds beak you can see it has grey/black markings on it, so there is a possibility that this bird isn't from the UK.

One of the last birds we got out of the net was a re-trap male Bullfinch. 

A 2013 first for me.

Greenfinches were everywhere today , so I got loads of help from Peter with the ages of the bird and how to tell if it's a male or a female.

Here I am looking at the tail feathers to see if it was a male or a female.

Peter is comparing the male and the female bird to me here.

This male Chaffinch wings were getting explained to me here to see if it was a adult or juvenile; it is much harder to tell the age if it is a female bird.

This is a Dunnock, a member of the accentor family, lovely birds.

Meet Canela (cinnamon in Portuguese I think) - the brains of the operation. 

Another totally brilliant day and lots more learnt.