15 July 2012

Geese Roundup

The Greylag Goose is a very common resident breeding bird here in Orkney with the numbers increasing in the winter with the arrival of birds from further North.

At this time of the year we go to an area on West Mainland to catch and ring some of the resident geese while they are moulting and unable to fly off. As well as the usual metal ring the geese are fitted either with an Orange neck collar or a White Darvic ring on the leg if they are too small to take a neck collar.

Both coloured rings allow for identifying individual birds without the need for recapature, all you need is a telescope or binoculars if they are close enough. The advantage of a neck colour is that these birds spend either a lot of time on the water or wading around the edges of water so their legs are hidden from view making individual identification from leg rings rather difficult.

Most of the geese ringed to date appear to stay fairly close to their breeding territories but a small number have been seen wintering in East Anglia!!

Saturday 7 Jul 12

This afternoon nine of us went to two sites and ringed a total of 143 geese, 100 geese at the first site and 43 at the second.

Tuesday 10 Jul 12

This evening five of us made a return visit to the second site and caught and ringed another 42 geese.

Some of the geese waiting to be released

Little Raptors

The trouble with summer is that there ares so many things going on that getting time on the computer seems to be very limited, consequently I have got a bit behind with the blog. So now it is time to play catch up again.

Monday 2 Jul 12

Just as I was finishing work for the day I got a call from Brian to say that if I wanted to ring some Buzzard chicks I needed to meet up with him immediately. I wasn't going to miss an opportunity like that so I grabbed my kit and set off to meet him.

When I got to the meeting point I found Brian and Stuart waiting for me. They had been out monitoring some of the raptor sites in the area and a visit to the Buzzard nest was their last port of call for the day.

As Brian climbed up to the nest one of the parents was flying around close by keeping an eye one him but was a bit pre-occupied by a Sparrowhawk who had decided to mob it.

Soon there were four chicks for me to ring and weigh. Once they had been ringed Stuart fitted wing tags so that they could be identified out in the field without the need to recapture them. The wing tags were Red in colour with a single White letter and were fitted to each wing. So now when I see Buzzards out in the field I will be looking for tags M, X, Y and Z.

The last chick to be fitted with wing tags.

Chicks ringed and tagged and ready to return to the nest

With the ringing and tagging complete the chicks were returned to the nest.

Thursday 5 Jul 12

Another call from Brian to say there were some more raptor chicks ready for ringing. I met up with Brian at the meeting point where we were joined by Lorna.

The first port of call was a nest box, which we had visted last year but had been empty at that time. This year it had been occupied by a pair of Kestrels and there were four chicks for ringing. It was interesting to note that the Kestrel site that we had ringed at last year, had been visited nearly 5 weeks earlier than this year's nest site.

We then moved onto the next site which was occupied by a pair Sparrowhawks and this nest held another four chicks. Four seems to be a good number for all the sites visited this week.