WELCOME TO THE SORBY BRECK RINGING GROUP BLOG FOR 2015
Our group blog includes interesting anecdotes and photos to illustrate the group's ringing activities throughout 2015. 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.
Whilst the cold becomes the main bane of bird ringers lives at this time of year, the frost it leaves on the ground does create some impressive scenery. This was on full display at Geoff's sewage works site near Bakewell recently, where the minus temperatures almost had the effect of making a sewage works look pretty!
Stanton-in-the-Peak sewage works
We werent there to admire the scenery however and after the six nets went up the birds started rolling in. There were around 100 Pied Wagtails (below) feeding on the beds all morning and it was these that made up the majority of our catch, with about 30 of the 60 birds caught being this species.
Other birds of note included a couple of Grey Wagtail (below bottom) and Meadow Pipit as well as six Starlings (below top).
A great morning all in all and a nice change from the usual winter ringing at feeding stations. Many thanks to Geoff for the morning.
Blackburn Meadows (21/01/15)
With the weather being stormy a week ago, we decided to do some cutting back on a couple of net rides. Blackburn Meadows Nature Reserve is one of our group's three CES sites, and it is important that the vegetation is the same as it has been in previous seasons. Here is my CES net ride no.2, not finished yet, but all net rides will be completely cut back in the next few weeks.
Net ride before (above) and after (below)
We also set the Potter trap to try and catch a Water Rail. This worked well as we re-trapped one that I originally ringed last winter.
Super Whooper (17/01/15)
On 29th December I was fortunate enough to catch and ring the group's first - and last - Whooper Swan of 2014, and the first since 2011.
The bird had landed in the territory of a pair of breeding Mute Swans on the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Canal at Kilnhurst, forcing the bird into the safety of the nearby lock. A quick thinking lock keeper closed the lock gates to prevent any further aggressive territorial fighting between the intruder and Mute Swan pair, and contacted me for assistance. Before setting my eyes upon the bird, I recognised its incredible call echoing around the lock walls, identifying itself immediately as a 'Super Whooper'.
I'm pleased to report the bird was completely uninjured and fighting fit, and within minutes was caught, ringed and released to the safety of the nearby River Don, free to complete the shorter part of its 1500+ km journey to the likes of Martin Mere or Slimbridge. Previous Whooper Swans I have ringed on behalf of the group have provided some very interesting recoveries; let's hope this bird follows the trend too!
Old year, new species (11/01/15)
On two of my last outings in 2014, I caught fewer birds than expected. However, a new species for me and a new bird for one of my sites, hid any disappointment. On Christmas Eve I visited a small orchard at 4 Acres, well before dawn, hoping to catch winter thrushes, but none were around. Around 9.00 am I noticed a Mistle Thrush, high up in a tall willow, so placed a tape beneath a 6m net below this tree. The bird was immediately attracted but took about an hour before flying into the net. This was my new species.
Mistle Thrush EURING age code 3
On 30th December Jack and I visited my site near Hodsock expecting a good catch of finches. Plenty of birds were around but were wary to approach the feeders. We came to conclusion the net stood out against the snow. Jack spotted a single Redpoll, so we played the tape and managed to catch one of six seen. This was a new bird for this site.
Male Lesser Redpoll EURING age code 4
Out in the cold (09/01/15)
Even though it was cold weather and snow was on the ground, it was worth the visit last week to a small orchard. Fieldfare were showing in good numbers with a mix of Blackbird and a surprising number of Robins in such a small area. Wil and I braved the elements for a successful morning with a ringing tick for Wil. We caught a good number of Fieldfare too.
Orchard with windfalls lying in the snow
BTO Conference (07/01/15)
Evie (second right) next to Chris Packham with her fellow speakers and Andy Clements, BTO Director (far left)
Along with five other young birders/ringers, I was invited to talk at the recent BTO annual conference about how our passion for birds and ringing started and what inspired us to have this passion. We arrived on Friday night to rooms full of birders ready for the weekend. It was great to meet new people and talk to them about birding and ringing. During our stay there were some amazing talks from people like Dave Leech and Ed Drewitt. All the young speakers had lunch with Andy Clements and Chris Packham, which was very interesting and exciting. On the Sunday we did our talks. Everyone did very well and we were all very proud. We were received so positively. You can read my full blog here
Evie, on the platform, giving her talk
Sorby Breck RG Annual Report 2014 (06/01/15)
Our report is currently being compiled and will be available soon - watch this space.