Saturday, 24 March 2012

First Post

Here we go with my first post. I have been off work all week and have done a bit of ringing each day. Best day of the week in terms of numbers and variety of birds ringed was Wednesday 21st when I went up to Haigh Hall Country Park near Wigan. I started off putting a net across the river Douglas in the lower plantations where I had previously missed Dipper and Kingfisher. I kept an eye on the net from a little distance away and I didn't have to wait long before a Kingfisher flew in. As I was extracting the Kingfisher a Dipper flew in the net just to the side of me. A excellent start to the day.

I decided to stay a bit longer and within an hour a second Kingfisher was caught. Shortly after another Dipper bounced out of the net so I decided to pack up and try my luck elsewhere.

I drove up to the feeding station near the Hall to top up any feeders that were running low. This baited site has been highly productive since I started using it at the start of the year. It is still producing good numbers of birds considering the time of year and warm weather. Having topped up all the feeders I decided to put up a net for a couple of hours. This session produced a modest catch of 14 new birds and 4 retraps before it was time to move on.

On route home I decided there was time to try for Kingfishers and Dippers on another stretch of the river Douglas. A net was soon being erected across the river with my dog ,Bryn, looking on in his usual cross pawed pose. I didn't mention his presence earlier but he often accompanies me and has learnt to be very patient.

Bryn looks on
Another net was erected on the bank in an area of scrub and it wasn't long before a Chiffchaff, Wren, Goldcrest and Nuthatch had been caught and ringed. Over the next hour the net across the river produced a Kingfisher, a Dipper and 2 Grey Wagtails to round off a pretty good day.

The final ringing totals for the day were:
Kingfisher 3
Dipper 2
Grey Wagtail 2
Chiffchaff 2
Blue Tit 2
Chaffinch 6
Bullfinch 1
Greenfinch 4
Wren 1
Goldcrest 1
Nuthatch 1
Total   25

Not a big total for the time and effort but nice to get a few riparian species that I don't usually catch.

Here are head shots of the 3 Kingfishers. All 3 were males and it was interesting to see the subtle variations in the bill shapes.

So that is my first post and we will see how it goes from here.