26 June 2013

Raptor chicks

If you thought I was going to do another post on gull chicks tonight you would nearly have been right, however I had the opportunity to go raptor ringing instead.

All the sites visited were over on the West Mainland. I met up with Marc and then we headed off to meet up with Brian to complete the team.

The first site was one I have ringed at before and had a Kestrel nest. This nest held five chicks, one more than last year.

Female Kestrel chick
Male Kestrel chick
Kestrel chick
The remaining three sites that we visited were all Hen Harrier nests. A special permit is required to visi these nests so it was a privilege to be able to get close to these birds.

The first nest held five chicks, four females and one male; the second nest held four chicks, three females and one male and the last nest held three chicks, two females and one that was too small to sex so was not ringed.

All the chicks were well developed and looking pretty healthy so there should be an excellent chance that they will all fledge.

Many thanks to Brian for taking us out and to Marc for the photos.

25 June 2013

Even more Gull chicks

Another gull chick ringing session tonight, this time over on the East Mainland. This site holds Common, Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

This session saw 45 birds ringed in total consisting of: 27 Common Gulls, 12 Lesser Black-backed Gulls and 6 Herring Gulls.

There is still at least one more site for ringing gull chicks to go.

No pictures from tonight's session as I forgot to take my camera.

24 June 2013

More Gulls and Wader chicks

This evening three members of the Orkney Ringing Group and myself went across to one of the small uninhabited islands that has a small colony of  Great Black-backed Gulls to ring any chicks that we could find.

We started off by finding and ringing a couple of Herring Gull chicks.

Herring Gull chick
We then moved onto the Great Black-backed Gull colony where we found and ringed 25 chicks.

Great Black-backed Gull chick
As we were searching the area for gull chicks an adult Snipe flew out of the heather. A close look around the immediate area revealed two Snipe chicks which we were able to ring.

Snipe chicks
We also found an Eider's nest with three chicks on it but these weren't ready for ringing.

Eider chicks
When we got back to where our cars were parked we had a quick scan of the pool in the field next to the track. I spotted an adult Lapwing skulking in the long grass at the edge of the pool. A scan along the grass at the edge of the pool revealed three Lapwing chicks which we were able to ring.

Lapwing chick
The drive back to my house added an Oystercatcher chick, which was in a field next to the road, and a Common Gull chick which was wandering up the track to my house.

The evening was finished with the ringing of the three Blackbird chicks that were in a nest in my garden.

So all in all a good evening of ringing with a few more birds/species than expected. Last year at the gull colony we ringed 1 Herring Gull and 31 Great Black-backed Gulls, this year we did two of the former and 25 of the latter.

18 June 2013

Gulls and Wader Chicks

This week I have my father staying and tonight I took him out on a ringing session so that he could get a close up encounter with some young birds and to meet some members of the ringing group.

The first part of the evening was just up the road from home where there was a small colony of Common Gulls. There was also a pair of Oystercatchers nesting and it was an Oystercatcher chick which was the first bird of the evening to be ringed.

There were 12 Common Gull chicks ringed as well.

Common Gulls
We then moved on to an area in the hills closer to home to take a look at a Black-headed Gull colony. On the way to the site we ringed a Lapwing chick and an Oystercatcher chick.

We also flushed a Snipe and after a quick look around the area the nest was located which held four eggs.

Snipe nest
On reaching the colony of Black-headed Gulls there didn't appear to be as many chicks as had been seen on a recce of the area yesterday. A total of 7 chicks were ringed.

Black-headed Gull
On returning home a second Blackbird nest was located in my garden which had two eggs and a newly hatched chick in it, so that will now be monitored to see when they will be ready for ringing.

Thanks to my father for the use of his photos.

16 June 2013

Stock Doves

On my travels back home, on Friday (14th) from Lancashire to Orkney I stopped off at my friends Neil and Suzanna, who I had met on my trip to North Ronaldasay back in May.

While I was there Neil invited me to ring a couple of Stock Dove chicks who were nesting in his garden. This was another new species for me so thanks to Neil for that opportunity.

13 June 2013

Wild Boar Park

I'm back down in Lancashire on my latest business trip at the moment so on Tuesday I took the opportunity to meet up with Seumus at the Wild Boar Park near Chipping in the Forest of Bowland.

There are a number of nest boxes located around the park and Seumus wanted to visit some of them to check on their progress since his last visit. We checked seven nest boxes, two were occupied by Blue Tits but the chicks weren't ready for ringing, the other five boxes were occupied by Pied Flycatchers. Two of these contained chicks that weren't ready for ringing but the other three had chicks that were. A total of 17 chicks were ringed, nine of the them by me.

On the way back to the car we spotted a young Nuthatch sat on the path being fed by one of the parents. We were able to catch it and ring it.

Also visiting the park was the local cub pack who were doing a wild flower identification exercise. We were asked by the park ranger if we could do an impromptu ringing demonstration and give a short talk on why we ringing birds.

As usual my thanks to Seumus for inviting me along to do some ringing.

4 June 2013

Hooded Crow Chicks

Another nice sunny day today only marred late afternoon by the arrival of some fog.

However, I had the opportunity to go out with Davie, one of the guys from the ringing group, after work this afternoon to visit a couple of Hooded Crow nests in Stenness. This was a chance for me to ring a new species.

We met up at the rendezvous point and walked a short distance to the first nest which contained three chicks. This was the more advanced nest of the two nest that we were going to visit.

The nest site
Closer look at the nest
One of the nest's residents
With the chicks ringed we moved onto the second nest. This nest contained four chicks which were a bit smaller and the feather development clearly less advanced compared with the chicks in the first nest.

The less advanced feather development
Thanks to Davie for inviting me along and for giving me a new species.