Sunday, 18 February 2018

Spring in the air?


Definitely a spring-like feel to today even if the temperatures were cold first thing. A couple of Frogs were in our tiny garden pond and a fly-over Grey Wagtail suggested some passage going on. And the Song Thrushes are in good song now!

Nick Wood committed to some impromptu ringing today at Chase Park Farm which is close to the fabulous woodland of Yardley Chase. Just one forty foot net caught 72 birds made up of 44 Blue Tits, 22 Great Tits, 3 Coal Tits, a Marsh Tit, a Nuthatch and a Robin. Among the re-traps two of the Great Tits were birds initially ringed as nestlings in nearby nest boxes in May 2017 and two of the Blue Tits were first ringed in July and October 2015.

Kenny Cramer and gang were busy today too, ringing at Linford Lakes (near Milton Keynes) and capturing 115 birds of ten species. This total was made up of 40 Blue Tits, 30 Great Tits, 2 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Wrens, 6 Robins, 11 Dunnocks, 3 Blackbirds, 5 Greenfinches, 8 Chaffinches and 8 Goldfinches. An impressive trio of herons were on-site made up of a Great White Egret, a Cattle Egret and a Bittern!

I spent most of today at Ditchford Gravel Pits completing the monthly WeBS count. A female Scaup was on the Watersport Pit just west of Ditchford Lane, a Great White Egret was also west of Ditchford Lane and other birds included three Little Egrets, a Shelduck and four Goosanders. Waders were in short supply but an Oystercatcher, 15 Snipe and two Jack Snipe were present and other birds included 5 Water Rails, 3 Kingfishers, 2 Grey Wagtails, 5 Cetti's Warblers, a Chiffchaff and a Siskin. The Grey Herons and Cormorants were busy on their nests and mammals included Fox, Muntjac, Mink and an Otter!

Eleanor and Tor competed in a canine cross event near Castle Ashby this morning and somewhere along the 12km course Eleanor saw four Grey Partridges! A visit to Pitsford Reservoir this afternoon confirmed the continuing presence of the Slavonian Grebe in the Pintail Bay and a Stonechat in the Scaldwell Bay.


Neil M

Blue Tit.
Courtesy of John Tilly.

Male Chaffinch.
Courtesy of Kenny Cramer.

Grey Herons in the
winter sunshine.
Courtesy of John Tilly.


Adopting the 'ringer's
grip' in this way permits
an opportunity to examine
the finer points of the
plumage and is comfortable
for the birds too! In fact on
cold days we transfer body heat
to these small birds and warm
them up a bit!
Images courtesy of
Kenny Cramer.

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