The Dark Room

Monday, 17 January 2022

Thermal Imager

On the 5th and 11th of January I went out with PRO and PH surveying farmers fields at night with the thermal imager. Good numbers of birds were using the fields including 28 Woodcock, 12 Grey Partridge, 35 Skylark, 12 Fieldfare over both sessions. A small sample of birds were ringed 2 Woodcock, 4 Skylark and 1 Fieldfare.
images taken with the iphone

Sunday, 9 January 2022


Thought I would update the blog as it's been a while. Here is my favourite lastest image of a group Turnstone down at Southend-on-sea pier last Sunday afternoon on a very cloudy day.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Thermal survey

After navigating the M25 last Friday afternoon I finally made it Matt Prior in Swindon to do a thermal imaging survey on three farms on the Marlborough Downs. As before we checked the farmers fields for Skylark and Corn Bunting. We ringed 12 Skylark and 1 Corn Bunting the latter was was the 100th to be coloured ringed for Matt's project! 2 Barn Owl and a Kestrel was noted and 2 stunning Adult Tawny Owls were ringed.
image by MP
Corn Bunting Thanks to Matt for letting ring all the birds.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Shetland 2021

Since arriving back from Shetland a few weeks ago I thought it's time I better update my blog. I joined Paul Hawkins, Andy Lawson, Martin Blow and Tony Brown from the 1st - 8th October for my first ever visit. As a group we done well finding our own birds with Little Bunting (PH) Greenish Warbler and Common Rosefinch (AL) and I chipped in with a Red-eyed Vireo! That was a amazing moment for me and the group.
And if you add in the list of birds seen over the week plus 3 Otter and the Monarch Butterfly and the Aurora Borealis you can see, we really did had a fabulous week. 2nd October * Red-backed Shrike * Woodchat Shrike * Eastern Yellow Wagtail 3rd October * Semipalmated Sandpiper * Shorelark * Little Bunting * Olive-backed Pipit * Western Bonelli's Warbler 4th October * King Eider * Red-breasted Flycatcher * 2 Red-eyed Vireo 5th October * Olive-backed Pipit * White-billed Diver * Radde's Warbler 6th October * Rustic Bunting * Greenish Warbler 7th October * Common Rosefinch And 10 Yellow-browed Warblers, Jack Snipe, Pied and Spot flycatchers. RBF
Rustic Bunting
Monarch Butterfly

Monday, 20 September 2021

In Wiltshire

I was invited down to Salisbury plain by Matt Prior on the 14th September for some survey work and mist netting. So after work on Tuesday I drove down and cracked on straight away with surveying Skylark on the farmland. Using a technique I've only used once before - but Matt is very good at it! We trapped and ringed 10 Skylark, Corn Bunting and a Meadow Pipit which was a very good return. After only having a few hours of sleep in the back of my car I went out with some of Matt's ringing team. 123 birds were ringed and 1 control. Highlights were Whinchat, 2 Stonechat, 3 Grasshopper Warbler and good numbers of Meadow Pipit. The landscape is just amazing as is the habitat. I really enjoyed myself and learned a lot - thanks Matt.......
Skylark 3j

Monday, 30 August 2021

Site first

This Common Redstart (code 3 male) was trapped and ringed at our little site on 21st August with PH. It's our first for the site.
Numbers are down from last year probably due to a late spring? but we'll have to see and look at the total figures at the end of the autumn. What's also interesting is the large amount of fault bars we're seeing in young birds due to that wet weather we had earlier in the spring. So, with our time split between two sites Walthamstow Wetlands and ours over the past few months the former has come to a end as we've finshed the CES. It's been fun and some good solid data has been collected. On 29th our final CES 12, we had this Juv Grasshopper Warbler and again this was a first of the site to be ringed.
Also while we were processing birds at the ringing table we had 3 Great white Egret fly north.

Sunday, 22 August 2021

Pied Flycatcher

Looking out from the conservatory window this morning at my mist net half way down the garden I saw the first bird of the session drop into the top panel. Wow! I did't expect to find a immature male Pied Flycatcher in there. A superb bird for any garden or ringing site in greater London but my garden - well chuffed.
The session finished as it normally does for the garden Robin, Great Tit, 3 LTT and a handfull of Blue Tits.