The Dark Room

Sunday, 25 November 2018

November

It's been a busy month with some ups and downs.  On the 3rd/4th of November we were at Rye Meads and our target species was Gadwall and Shoveler but despite all the hard work put in the week before by Paul Roper the ducks just kept out of range and sadly we couldn't take a catch. On the plus side the Rye Mead ringing group took a few of us out around the site and even let us ring Mallard and Coot.

Adult female Mallard

17th went out again with Paul H ringing and caught 4 Goldfinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Dunnock.

We failed to catch any Skylark on the 18th that evening but did get some good experience in using different techniques of catching.

24th was much better with 3 Redwing, 3 Goldcrest, Great Tit and a Wren. The 25th produced another Redwing but this time a spanking Adult. 3 Robin, 2 Dunnock and Blue, Great and Long-tailed tits.

Redwing (3)


Goldcrest Female left and male right


And thanks to both Paul H and Paul R


Monday, 29 October 2018

Putting the nets up

Spent Saturday morning ringing at the east London site with PH. Despite Brambling, 2 Siskin, 7 Grey Wagtail and Redwings over at the start of the session the nets stayed quiet with only 14 birds being processed but still enjoyable as ever. With it being slow it was a ideal chance to learn about putting the nets up and taking them down. Sounds easy but imagine putting a football net into a small envelope and making sure it comes out untangled and tying guy ropes with one hand while holding the 3m poles in the other and not dropping the net bag - not easy but I can now do it thanks to Paul.


A 3 Male Blackbird notice the old and new feathers (partial moult)

Sunday, 21 October 2018

A busy week

It's been a busy week what with decorating and building bedroom furniture in my daughters room and fitting in as much ringing and birding as I can. So, Wednesday morning up at Paul R's house, processed 36 birds which included a good mix of common birds.  Saturday morning back up to Paul's again ringing but with a lot more quality. 53 birds processed the highlights being 9 Redwing, 4 Meadow Pipit, Coal Tit, 7 Chaffinch, 2 Goldcrest, 3 Goldfinch, GSW, 5 Greenfinch and 10 Brambling  over. The Redwing are beautiful in the hand and are easy to age once Paul went through the key features.

And Sunday morning I went along to Wanstead flats to see the superb Rustic Bunting found by Nick Croft. A London/Essex  tick having seen one on the Scillies a few years back. It showed nicely and I did photograph it but if you want to see some very good images of it go to Jono's blog - they're very good.

Below are images from Saturday's session.

Redwing
 





Great spotted Woodpecker


Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Survey work

Went over to Kent Saturday morning with Paul to do a bird survey at Halstow Marshes.  Peregrine, Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tits, Raven. Little Owl, Corn Bunting and Great White Egret were the highlights in the autumn sunshine. Wader numbers were low but expected for the time of year.


Great White Egret

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Great white Egret

With the day booked  off work I was up and out early as it was just getting light. Redwings were dropping in and Chaffinches called above along with Meadow Pipits. It felt good and it didn't take long to feel really good when a Great white Egret went west over the viewing area at 7.39am. With the camera in my bag and set on silent single shot for the recent ringing session, it wasn't easy to get a record shot. However, I still managed something in the mad rush.

Some 22 minutes later Jono at Wanstead had a GWE go west too, which is no doubt the same bird carrying on its journey.

This is my second self found GWE on the patch with the first one being back in 2006 - they were rare then....

Others birds seen were 6 Grey Partridge, 2 Egyptian Geese, Blackcap and 2 Coal Tit plus 100 Redwing.




GWE and some Parakeets.

Saturday, 6 October 2018

Jay

Saturday morning ringing at the east London site with Paul produced 38 new birds and 8 retraps.

22 Blue Tit
11 Great Tit
6 Long-tailed Tit
1 Chaffinch
1 Robin
1 Wren
1 Dunnock
2 Chiffchaff
1 Jay 

The highlight was ringing the monster Adult (4) Jay and also extracting more birds under the watchful eye of Paul.


iPhone image of the Jay

Sunday, 30 September 2018

Another cracking morning in Hertfordshire yesterday ringing with Paul Roper, Paul Hawkins, Louise and Sarah with the following birds ringed.

5 Meadow Pipit
8 Dunnock
2 Robin
1 Chiffchaff
1 Goldcrest
1 Coal Tit
42 Blue Tit
9 Great Tit
5 Chaffinch
12 Greenfinch
2 Goldfinch
3 Yellowhammer

A busy morning for the group, nice to ring my first Yellowhammer as did the other two trainees - stunning birds. Also, it was really good to extract a few more birds from the nets.


Yellowhammer