30 October 2011

More Blackies

After ringing my first Blackcap yesterday it was a pleasant surprise this morning, when I came out of the garage, to spot a movement on the far side of the garden which turned out to be a male Blackcap.

Moving as quickly as I could into the house, hobble permitting, I grabbed the binoculars to get a closer look and found not one but two males skulking around the base of one of the trees and the surrounding undergrowth. It was a pleasure to watch them flitting around.

Whilst watching them foraging other movement through the field of view kept distracting me so I scanned around to see what else was around. A female Chaffinch and a male Brambling were quickly spotted.

By now the two Blackcaps had moved further down the garden and were joined by a third. There could have been more as they were in and out of the undergrowth and bushes, but three was the most seen in one go. They seemed to like feeding on the various red berries we have in the garden. Hope they leave some for the Waxwings.

This was about as good as I could get.

29 October 2011

Blackie's Galore

Late on this afternoon saw 3 of us over on Deerness at one of our ringing sites to see what was about in the way of migrants. After days of South/South-Easterly winds it would be interesting to see what was about.

Three mist nets were set and after just over two hours 36 birds had been caught. 28 of them Blackbirds, 3 Goldcrests, 2 Housesparrows, 1 Song Thrush, 1 Wren and a Blackcap.

For me, I got to ring two new species a Goldcrest and the Blackcap as well as the Song Thrush and around a dozen of the Blackbirds.

Compared to the Wren the Goldcrest was a very docile little bird. So much so that when we walked back to inspect the nets one sat on a tree branch just feet from us and didn't seem bothered by our presence at all.

The rain held of until just as we were packing away the last net so all in all a good afternoon.

24 October 2011

A flash of 'Blue' inspiration

As I sit here listening to the Force 6 gusting 7 wind which the locals refer to as a gentle breeze it was interesting to read on the BBC News pages about a Kingfisher that has recently been retrapped at Orford Ness in Suffolk.

The Kingfisher is a rare sight up here, but I have seen a few on the Scottish Mainland and in England. Most people are amazed at the bright Blue of the plumage which is usually the first thing they see as it whizzes past as it flies along a river. When they perch on a branch over hanging a river or on a post next to a stream the Orange of the body also stands out well. These birds are often considered a local resident just patrolling their patch of river bank.

So it was interesting to read that the Kingfisher caught at Orford Ness was wearing a Polish ring making this particular bird a record breaker. The actual part of Poland it was ringed in is yet to be confirmed but it is thought to have flown at least 620 miles (1000km) breaking the current record of 603 miles (970km).

For the full story go to:


9 October 2011

The first week of October

It's been a while since my last post and I've not had the opportunity to get out and doing any ringing since then so I thought I would just add some other bird activity.

After a fairly quiet end to September in terms of garden visitors the first day of October bought a sudden influx of visitors. As well as the usual House Sparrows, Starlings, Colloard Doves, Blackbirds, Greenfinches and Pied Wagtails we also had visits from a Robin, Song Thrush, Redwing, a pair of Chaffinch and three Linnets.

Then it all went quiet on the 2nd and back to the usual visitors. Oh well it was good while it lasted.

Out the front of the house, overlooking St Mary's and Ayre Bay's there where the usual Eiders, Red Breasted Mergansers, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Common, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls and a couples of Grey Heron. Towards the end of the week Turnstones also started appearing after their summer absence.

The big news of the week was the appearance of a Bonaparte's Gull between Graemeshall and Churchill Barrier 1. I've not managed to see it yet but I keep looking.