WELCOME TO THE SORBY BRECK RINGING GROUP BLOG FOR 2016
Our group blog includes interesting anecdotes and photos to illustrate the group's ringing activities throughout 2016. Blogs for previous years can be accessed via the links below or if you are interested in a particular species, use the links on the 'Index' page.
Jack Snipe (01/02/2016)
Conditions recently were at last good enough to get some nets up on the marsh at Blackburn Meadows, for an attempt to catch some Snipe. My hopes were high as the day before I counted 21 Common and 7 Jack Snipe in the same area. We only managed to get 1 Common but 3 Jack Snipe (pictured below) were nice.
Ringing Waterfowl (26/01/2016)
With the recent weather hindering many a mist netting attempt, and now with the cooler temperatures finally arriving, I have turned my efforts to the waterfowl on local lakes and ponds again. Many of the birds in these suburban environments readily welcome food handouts from the public during winter months, allowing easy capture for ringing.
Within the first two weeks of the new year, 129 Mute Swans, 36 Coots, 33 Canada Geese, 4 Greylag Geese, 2 Tufted Ducks, 2 Moorhens, a Mallard and Black-headed Gull (a total of 208 birds) have been processed and/or ringed. Of particular interest have been both Mute Swans - which Sorby Breck has been colour ringing extensively over the last ten years - and Coot which we are now colour ringing too (see picture below). Both these colour ringing projects have seen some fantastic movement of birds throughout the country, and now even into Europe.
I was particularly pleased to catch two Moorhens at Thrybergh Country Park, with the use of a three metre mist net and some wholemeal bread. Both were sexed as males and the pictures here clearly illustrate the difference in age. The EURING age code 5 bird (pictured below) possesses white under parts and speckled white chin, with the 9th primary feather pointed and narrow.
Up until the year end, there is a colour difference in the iris of the eye to also assist with the ageing of these birds, but worth noting that from January onwards, the crimson colour is as the same as an adult bird (pictured above).
Two male Tufted Ducks (one pictured below) were also caught at Rother Valley Country Park. As these birds dive for food, it's a good idea to take along some wheat or mixed corn which can be fed in to the shallows of the water, which then allow for birds to caught by hand when they rise to the surface once more.
I have begun a blog for my own ringing activites, which can be found here
Amy, Helen and I joined Phil at his Broomhead Reservoir feed site on Saturday morning. This is a mixed broadleaf and coniferous plantation with running fresh water creating small pools.
Over 140 birds were processed in total including Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Nuthatch and Treecreeper, but the star bird was this first winter male Crossbill. A good start to my year being a new ringing species for me. Thanks Phil!
Our report is currently being compiled and will be available soon - watch this space.