Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Good Question 4

It's Tuesday night Quiz night again already.

Tonight I have switched on the comments moderating thing, so all your answers will be show at the same time later on tonight!

What nasty substance (harmful to birds) commonly occurs on peanuts that have been stored for too long?

All your answers and the correct answer will be posted at 8:30pm


And the answer I was looking for is Aflatoxins which are caused by Aspergillus flavus fungi.

Thank you to Grandpa Peter for also pointing out that Aflatoxin is dangerous to humans too, and some forms of it can be absorbed though the skin.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Green, Gold and Red

Yesterday I went for a ringing session with Peter, Pete, and Dan. I was really glad to be back with Scouse Ringer and hear about his trip to Portugal, and he explained to me about the Yarelli sub species.

One of the first birds out of the nets was a male Bullfinch, Moxey fished this one out, whilst me, my dad, Peter and Dan went to check the rest of the nets. 


I hadn't been to Kings Moss for a while, so I really enjoyed holding the Greenfinches, probably one of my favorite birds of the day! I was allowed to take quite a few birds out of the bags yesterday, however when I got the bird out of the bag I had a few peck marks on me.

On this Greenfinch, Peter was explaining to me how to know if it is a young or adult bird, male or female.

I got to ring a few birds yesterday as well, all this experience is making me much more confident in handling and ringing the birds. The next picture shows me closing the ring on a Greenfinch.

We caught a female Goldcrest in the mist-net, a first for me at Kings Moss. 

As the morning came to a close, a good amount of Long Tailed Tits came into the net, (my dad's favorite).

Red Polls also came to the net in a reasonable size, they males are absolutely astonishing, as shown in the picture.

Me and Dan were comparing the two Robins we caught, to see if they were juveniles or adults.

I am surprised that the Robin didn't get feisty. 

My first ever Reed Bunting was in my hand yesterday, you can see it's a male because you can see the white collar.  

And to finish the day off a stunning Yellow Hammer (another one of my dads favorites).

And before I finish this blog I just want to say thank you to Peter who lets me come out ringing and my dad who takes me.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Introduction To The New feeding Station

Today I want to tell you all about a feeding station I put up in my local patch I couple of weeks ago, I'll be telling you more about this over the next few weeks but I really hope it is going to be something special.  The friendly farmer who lives not to far away gave us special permission to put up the feeders in one of his private woods. As we approached the feeders today there was a Buzzard getting mobbed by crows.

I got some great footage from a female Sparrow Hawk today, I don't see where she came from, but I suddenly caught a glimpse of her grabbing a Starling. The Starling had joined a Fieldfare and Redwing flock, so I am just glad it didn't catch the the Fieldfare or Redwing. As soon as the Sparrowhawk had caught the Starling, the crows started mobbing the Sparrowhawk.

 You have to go along side a train track to get to the feeders, which gives me a view of a collection of holes which I am pretty sure is a badger sett.

I have put the feeders in a very good place. The feeding station itself is in the canopy of the trees at the top of a steep valley. Beside the feeders there are several dead trees that tower above the feeders, which are really good for woodpeckers. I am doing a special project on Great Spotted Woodpeckers, however Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers have been seen here, so in time I hope I manage to see one on my feeder. But more on Operation Woodpecker coming soon.                                      

The birds love the feeders already. There are a lot of Great Tits about, in fact at the moment, I would say there were more Great Tits than Blue Tits.

Today was really about putting all three of my nest boxes up, next time I come (probably tomorrow after ringing) I should really put some more cover on them.

 I wasn't tall enough to put the boxes up, so my dad gave me a helping hand of putting them up for me. Although he did slip and fall and roll done the bank. Mum walked away so dad didn't see her laughing.

The wood seems to be full of Long Tailed Tits, they absolutely adore the nut feeders.

Lovely little birds to watch...

What an end to a busy but brilliant day!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

I Was Supposed To be King of the Day!

Today I had a brilliant Birthday walk with some of my blog and twitter followers; Keith, Trevor, Andrew, Gary, Sharon, Phil, Kane and Chris and mum ,dad and Harley

When everyone got here we started our walk down to the Vale Royal Locks. On the opposite bank of the river, it looked like a new Heronry was being set up. Lots of Herons were busy nest building.

I was telling Kane and Chris all about my feeding station, and the rest of the gang about my birding life. I was also describing how we are hoping to monitor breeding Woodpeckers of all the 3 types ( we hope )  in the wood, in fact when my dad was walking back he counted lots of possible woodpecker holes in trees.

 You can tell Keith was really enjoying himself.

When we eventually got to the locks, the water was much more powerful than last time we were there, we could even feel the spray. 

I'm not sure what Harley had just said to Keith here!

Moving on from that .... I thought I was supposed to be king of the day. However, this beautiful Kingfisher turned up on a shallow pool beside the river and stole the show.

Kingfishers are stunning...! I kept looking to see if it was ringed but I don't think it was.

They are so focused when they are fishing and he stayed around for ages giving us a great show. Their plumage is spectacular.  I think it really made Sharon's day. We are going to see who got the best shot of it.

Believe it or not it is only the second time I've seen it on my local patch. What an end to the best birthday I have ever had.

After the walk we went back to the house for some stew and dumplings and of course some cake.

I really want to thank everyone as well for making the effort to come and celebrate my birthday.

Wild Bird Wednesday

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

100th Post and My Birthday Blog

It's the 13th February, and guess what, it's my birthday! It is is also really special, not just because I am going bowling, pizza hut and having a special treat at the weekend (not sure what it is yet),but also it is finally my 100th blog post.

So now I would like to share some of my blogging and birding high lights... (by the way they are not in order of my favorite, I like them all the same).

  • Meeting Andrew (Rambles With a Camera) at Haydn's Pool, the one who started me off on my blog.
  • I loved going bird watching with my Grand-Parents in North Wales, seeing my first Great Grey Shrike.
  • I love going ringing with Scouse Ringer, he gives some of the most amazing information and experiences.
  • I loved being interviewed by Cheshire Life.
  • I loved me and my family getting filmed by and interviewed by Lucy McRoberts.
  • I loved collecting my duck picture from Sharon and Gary.
  • I loved writing a guest blog for Mark Avery and seeing all the supportive comments I got.
  • I loved meeting Bill Morton from Frodsham Marsh and doing the bird count for him.
  • I loved meeting Phil Gately at RSPB Conwy.
  • I love sitting with Grandad Terry and doing bird surveys in his garden.
  • Of course I love interacting and talking to all of you bloggers such as HoldingMoments, The Herald, Tex, Phil, Pete Woodruff, Richard Peglar, Mike Mottram, Adam Tilt, Bob Bushell and all the rest of you. I have learnt a lot from you already.
  • And I have really enjoyed putting up my own feeding station in my local patch, seeing and knowing whats about, but in particularly monitoring the Green Woodpecker.
  • And of course sharing all this with Dad, Mum, Harley and Jura.

By the way, still not seen those pesky Waxwings!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Good Question 3

It's Tuesday night quiz question again.

Tonight's quiz question is going to be tricky but fun  (it is a funny anagram)...

Try and un-scramble these letters into a farmland bird, that had declined massively over the last few decades.

Here's the anagram... 


Good Luck! 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Wet And Marshy

This week I was really excited to be asked to help out with the the Frodsham Marsh bird count as part of the Monthly Wetland Bird Survey. Thanks Bill Morton for asking me and my family. The Mersey Estuary is one of the best wetlands in Britain and bird numbers have fallen lots and helping do a count helps find out WHY ?

The weather this weekend has been terrible and no football. Due to us not going ringing, I decided to invite Peter Fearon to do the wader count with us. As the tide kept on coming in, it pushed a reasonable flock of 1500 Dunlin, joined by some Lapwing and about 30 Black Tailed Godwit on to number 6 tank.

This mixture of Dunlin, Golden Plover and Lapwing were disturbed by a Peregrine that came across number 6 tank and onwards to number 5 tank.

Hardly any geese were about apart from a a pair of Canada Geese that thought about coming in to land, but then thought not.

A mixture of duck species today; there were 60 Tufted Duck, 10 Pochard, 65 Shelduck, 150  Mallard, 20 Widgeon and 25 Teal.

Number 5 tank brought 15 Raven, 500 Lapwing, 150 Golden Plover and 4 Redshank. 

As we were driving down the lane this Cormorant flew over (I called it The Cormorant of the North).

This gully doesn't normally have much activity, however today I saw a Little Egret.

As we moved forward it also did, which made it rather hard to get a photo.

Although I think we did quite well in the end...

 We also paid a visit to the marshes yesterday, seeing a beautiful Kestrel.

Which soon took flight as we trickled past it.

Lapwings and Golden Plover moved about loads yesterday and today.

This male Hen Harrier was a first in a while, it isn't the best picture, but you can still see the black wing tips and greyish blue wings.

Although nothing beats a wonderful Starling roost day finish.

As we were coming back along the track I spotted a Barn owl flying through the middle of the gully.

Thanks again for Bill for inviting me, its great to get involved.

Frodsham Marsh Total Count

Number 6 Tank
1500 Dunlin
65 Shelduck
60 Tufted Duck
4 Mute Swans
3 Grey Heron
150 Mallard
10 Pochard
20 Widgeon
25 Teal
2 Curlew

Number 5 Tank
15 Raven
500 Lapwing
150 Golden Plover
4 Redshank

Other Notes
Peregrine flew over and lifted all the birds off the marsh
Flock of 100 Goldfinch came over after the count
400 Lapwing and 200 Golden Plover on Lordship Marsh 
Little Egret in gully ditch

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Good Question 2

It's Tuesday Night Quiz night again.

Tonight's question is:

How many different names are there for the bird pictured below and what are they? 

I will post the answers tomorrow evening.

In the mean time I'm going to try and complete scouse ringers challenge! 

06.02.13 And the answer is:

The question I asked above was because of something I read in The Bumper Book of Nature by Stephen Moss (which a very, very nice lady called Lucy McRoberts gave to me).

The names I came up with are:

Mistle Thrush
Turdus Viscivorus
Holm Thrush
Storm Cock
Thrice Thrush
Screech Thrush

Peter W - There probably are more names, and I hope you all learnt something looking for them
Scouse Ringer - must try harder.
Richard - your names could be for any birds, so no they don't count, but nice try.
Grandpa - thank you for emailing your welsh name
Tex - thanks for trying
Tom - it was a Mistle not a Song Thrush, but good try.
Phil - maybe next weeks question could be name all the bands with bird names in them.
Daveyman - lots of good guesses, well tried.
Douglas - we got a few of the same ones
Stewart - I never found that one.

Same time next week everyone!

Monday, 4 February 2013

A Spoonbill Great Tit and So Much More

Morning Ringing With Scouse Ringer...

The day started off reasonably well, with 3 Robins firstly out of the net. Soon afterwards we were joined by a few Blue Tits and quite a few Great Tits. You would never guess what I held in my hand today; a "Spoon Billed" Great Tit, I mean who would of thought it.

We caught this Great Tit during the morning ringing session.

Birds bills can occur like that sometimes, and how it has fed I will never know, but it appeared to be quite healthy (at least it didn't give me a painful bite). The BTO have a page on their website about deformed beaks called the Big Garden Beak Watch

There was quite a bit of Coal Tit action going on today, probably one of my favorite tits.

We were joined by a special guest from Anglesey today called Kathy James. She joined us in the roost session; she seemed really enthusiastic about bird watching and ringing. Kathy's website is called Nature Bites.

Lunch at Hightown

After the first session of ringing we were told we were meeting Kathy at two o clock, which gave us time to have lunch and do a bit of wader bird watching at Hightown. On the far side you can see Common Redshank.

This big flock of gulls and waders was disturbed by a rather scruffy Peregrine Falcon.

Probably one of my favorite waders, Redshank were everywhere on the mudflats. 

Some very lazy Shell Duck were sat motionless on the mud, however as we approached they soon fled.

 There were plenty of huge ships cruising across the water.

I am getting kind of excited because this gull looks a bit like a Ring Billed Gull, could someone please help identify it for me? I know Ring Billed Gulls are usually found in North America, but this bird is puzzling and some have been seen in this country in the past. It had the black tipped wings and the end of it's beak was black like the juvenile Ring Billed Gulls. I know it might just be a 1st Winter Common Gull, but it seemed to stand out a bit.

Evening Roost Ringing

As we started on our evening roost, one of the first birds we had was a Tree Creeper.

They are truly remarkable birds. Just look at those feet for climbing. I felt it's tail which is really stiff which helps it to wedge in to trees.

And guess what, I got to ring one!!!

In the end we caught two, I rung one and Kathy rung the other.

Another perfect Scouse Ringing day.....

Don't forget it's my Good Question Quiz tomorrow night.