Sunday 8 October 2017

A bit about ringing

You wait for ages for a blog post and two come along together ( or maybe not...)

The ups and downs of ringing...

A week past Tuesday, it was late September,  the wind was out of the east, but light and there was fog on the coast, should've been great condition for ringing birds so I took the day off and I ringed 15 birds all morning.

It's been either windy or wet ever since and the wind has been constantly out of the west. Not one to be deterred, the forecast for today predicted light westerlies, so we decided to ring. We weren't going to be inundated with birds so we put six nets up. Janet and I were joined by one of Phil Hanmer's trainees, Sasha. Skeins of barnacle geese flew overhead at first light as the nets went up and about 2000 pink-footed geese lifted off the Budge fields.

Catching was steady, with robins, wrens and blackbirds early on and a female bullfinch and a couple of tree sparrows, which are always nice to catch.

Tree sparrow
Reports came in of yellow-browed warblers elsewhere on the coast and on the next net-round we caught one. We caught another soon after which came in with a flock of twelve long-tailed tits. I think these birds may have just arrived on the coast.

One of today's two Yellow-browed warblers
Yellow-browed warblers are now more common on the patch than both pied and spotted flycatchers, garden warblers, redstarts and even lesser whitethroats.

Tom Cadwallender arrived and we chatted, I was going to pack up the nets then, but he came with me to check them so I decided to wait until next time around - I'm pleased I did.

Tom went and I started to take down the nets, there were a few birds in the second net including a warbler, which, to be honest, at first had me flummoxed - I thought I knew it what it was, but the bubblegum pink legs had me confused. I phoned Tom, who was still on site and took it back to the car.

Tom and I quickly agreed the ID of the warbler and Janet (who had gone to ride the horse) was summoned. We'd caught a Cetti's Warbler! (I'd never taken much notice of their legs before)

Cetti's warbler
Cetti's warbler is a recent colonist to the UK (first breeding in 1973 - the year I was born!), it's range is expanding northwards but is still a very rare bird in the north and even more so in Northumberland with only a handful of records.

I've put my neck on the line and said that Cetti's will be breeding at Druridge within five years - even more reason to keep on top of our coppicing efforts as they like a scrubby habitat. Not that we should need a reason as we know it benefits breeding warblers and other songbirds.

Blackbird's nest in coppiced alder stool
We ringed 69 new birds today.

Cetti's warbler is my 246th species for the patch and my sixth new species for the year and my second new species of the weekend. Happy days.

1 comment:

cresswell visitor said...

I stayed at Cresswell holiday park and like looking at birds. On 8 October I saw a lot of twitchers on the little coast road, so from your blog I learned the sort of birds that might be there. I really like your blog, and will read it in future. Thank you. GW