5 September 2016

26 Jun 16 – A trip to the Pentland Skerries

Following on from our recent trip to Swona today saw Colin, Brian and myself with some visiting RSPB staff heading for the Pentland Skerries. Again we were looking to retrieve and deploy geolocators. This time we only managed to retrieve four geolocators, all from Razorbills. We managed to deploy 13 geolocators, with three on Razorbills and ten on Puffins.

On the ringing side there were Herring Gull - 24 chicks, Lesser Black-backed Gull - three chicks, Puffin - 15 adult and 19 chicks, Razorbill – seven adult and 6 chicks, plus 5 retraps and Shag – one adult.

It was good to see that the Puffins were having a better year than last and a number of new burrows were found.
The number of shags about this year was quite disappointing however we did see a Shag with a Blue colour ring. This isn’t one of the birds from our colour ringing efforts so it will be interesting to see if we can find out anything about this bird.

When we got back Colin gave me some good news which now requires a bit of paperwork sorting out. More details to follow soon.

18 Jun16 – Seabirds on Swona

Today saw one of our annual seabird ringing trips to Swona and my first ringing session of the year.

The team consisted of Colin, Brian, Stan, Alison and me and the aim was to retrieve and deploy geolocators as well as ringing.

We were able to retrieve five geolocators from Razorbills who along with another 10 adults were fitted with new geolocators. The aim is to fit the geolocators and retrieve them a year later however the retrieved geolocators on this trip all came from birds that had them fitted two years ago so it will be interesting to see if the data can be retrieved and what it shows us.

In terms of ringing, we ringed Great Black-backed Gull - three chicks, Razorbill - three adults and 15 chicks plus an additional 12 retraps, Puffin – three adults and Shag two adults and 14 chicks. The Shags were also colour ringed.

Eight pairs of Great Skuas (Bonxies) were seen but there was no sign of any breeding terns this year.

We will hopefully pay another visit to Swona later in the summer to do the annual ringing of Fulmar chicks.

15 August 2016

2015 Summary

Unfortunately, other activities in 2015 took up my time so despite good intentions I didn’t get around to posting on my blog. 2015 was a fairly quiet year from a ringing perspective, mainly because the weather was poor, so I have decided to summarise the whole year’s activities in one post as I wanted to bring the blog up to date. So here goes.

The start of January saw a trip out with Colin and Stan to a site we usually use for Storm Petrels but on this occasion we were going to target Rock Pipits using spring traps. It was fairly quiet and we only managed to catch two.

At the end of the month I had a whoosh netting session with Colin in his garden. On this occasion we caught and ringed eight Greenfinch, three House Sparrow and two Starlings. We also re-trapped a Greenfinch.

My next ringing didn’t come until May when I met up with Andy to ring at a couple of Blackbird nests, with three chicks in each nest.

Staying with chicks on the nest June saw a trip out with Jim to ring at two Hen harrier nests with two chicks on one nest and three on the other. Attention then switched to seabirds and a trip to the Pentland Skerries. Here I ringed five Puffin and five Razorbill adults and one herring Gull and four Razorbill chicks.

July was back to raptor chick ringing and a trip out with Brian saw me ring nine Hen Harrier chicks and two Kestrel chicks.

August and September saw me back at the Swallow roost with six sessions in total. The usual species were caught and ringed: Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Sand Martin, Sedge Warbler, Starling, Swallow and Wren. A surprise catch was a Redpoll, which I think was a first for this site.

Towards the back end of the summer I visited my parents down in Sussex and was able to arrange a trip out with a local ringer called Val. We went to a site near to Cissbury Ring, somewhere as a young lad I had spent a lot of time. We met at day break when the weather was good but there was rain forecast for later in the morning so we weren’t sure how long we would have. We set the nets up and it wasn’t long before we started catching birds.

We caught a number of species that I have ringed in the past including 38 Blackcap, 3 Blue Tit, 7 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest and 1 Robin. I also got to ring a couple of new species in the way of 1 Bullfinch and 2 Whitethroat. In addition, we re-trapped: a Blue Tit, a Bullfinch, a Dunnock, Robin and a Whitethroat.

It was a great site and I hope to go back and ring with Val again sometime.
The poor weather meant that we didn’t get out to any of the gull colonies or do any Storm Petrel ringing and due to other commitments I missed the annual Fulmar chick ringing session on Swona.

2 November 2014

St Olaf's Wood

There's been a good flow of thrush species arriving here in Orkney over the last few days and there were certainly 40-50 Redwings in the garden and the field surrounding the house this morning along with three Fieldfares. Other local birders were reporting several hundred in the fields around them so when Colin rang late morning to say he was thinking of going to St Olaf's Wood on South Ronaldsay to see if there was  chance of catching some coming into roost I had to do a quick reschedule with some expected visitors so that I would be able to join him.

On arrival on site there were certainly some good numbers of both Redwings and Fieldfares in the area.

We set five nets in total and by the time we had the first two setup we were already getting Goldcrests.

It was a steady afternoon's ringing and after about four and a half hours we had caught and ringed 37 birds and had two retraps of ten species.

Totals were five Blackbird (including one retrap), one Chiffchaff, two Fieldfare, 12 Golcrests (including one retrap), nine Redwing, four Robin, one Song Thrush, three Wren, one Yellow-browed and the highlight of the day one adult male Sparrowhawk. The latter being my second mist net extraction of that species.

Yellow-browed Warbler
As dusk apporached rather than flooding in to roost the Redwings and Fieldfares seemed to disappear although we did get two or three Redwing.

All in all a good ringing session with a good mixture of species to help towards obtaining my permit.

Thanks to my friends for rescheduling at short notice.

21 October 2014

Berstane House

On Saturday, 18 Oct 14, Colin, Stan and myself went to do some ringing in the grounds of Berstane House on the outskirts of Kirkwall.

This was a new ringing site for me and Stan but somewhere Colin used to ring 30 odd years ago.

We set four nets, three in the woods and one on the lawn in front of the house.

It was pretty quiet for the first hour and a half but just before I had to leave a net round produced a Goldcrest and two Wrens.

Further net rounds after I left produced two Blackbirds, a Goldcrest, five House Sparrows, two Robins and another Wren.

So not a bad first visit and hopefully there will be more visits over the coming months.

Thanks to Nancy for letting us do some ringing.

Oct Three 2014

Update coming soon

Oct Two 2014

Update coming soon

Oct 2014

Sep 2014

Update coming soon

Aug 2014

Update coming soon