Sunday, 17 November 2013

Garden Ringing

Had a session in the garden this morning, put a 40ft net up by my ringing shed for 07.30am. Had a cup of tea and went to do the first round. Got to the net and thought OMG, it had to happen to me sometime, it was full of birds, a lone ringers nightmare. A quick count came to 35. I used my 20 bags I had on me but had to go back to the house to unload the birds and took another 25 bags back with me. As I was extracting the other birds new ones were coming in behind me even though I had cleared the top shelf and bottom shelf and closed them up. In the end I extracted 45 birds.

Whilst it is an experience you do not need regularly, it was an experience nevertheless that was worth having. I felt I coped well with the situation and all birds were processed without any trouble.

A lot of the birds in the net were Blue tits but there were some nice ones as well. Where I live in South West Wales there seems to be a nucleus of Marsh tits. I am currently trying to assess there numbers and have had discussions with the BTO to see if the population numbers are high enough to consider the possibility of starting a RAS. See link for further information.

RAS, Retrapping birds for Survival is a national scheme where the ringer aims annually to catch 50 adult birds of the designated species during the breeding season. This will give us an indication of the survival rates of these adults

This Marsh tit is the first I have ringed for a while which was a little worrying because for a couple of months now numbers coming to feeders had reduced. I also caught a retrap last week a bird originally ringed by me last winter

Once the net was up this morning I played the Goldcrest call on my MP3 which brought two birds to the net.

This bird is a male The crown patch is yellow which often conceals the bright orange feathers of the male as in this case and on the top picture some of the bright orange feathers can be seen. Ageing is primarily done by assessing the shape of the 4th and 6th tales feathers. In this bird the tail feathers were neither rounded or pointed so I aged it as a 2.

Another bird, the Goldfinch has started to appear again on my feeders after none during the summer months. They seem to prefer the nijer seed at the moment but can be a little fickle and change to sunflower hearts and occasionally peanuts.

Quite easy to sex, this one being a male because the red goes slightly behind the eye. The female does not. Also it has black nasal hairs whereas the female has grey ones. On some adult males, tale feathers 4, 5 and 6 each have a white spot. 5th and 6th tail feathers are useful for ageing, the adult having more rounded feathers compared with pointed ones of a juvenile bird. Comparion of the outermost three greater coverts can also indicate the age of the bird. The tips of the GC's on the adult being predominately yellow whilst juveniles the colour is a buffish white or white colour.

The breakdown of birds caught today are:-
Blue tit 28 new, 1 retrap
Great tit 6 new, 1 retrap
Chaffinch 2 new
House Sparrow 1 new
Goldcrest 2 new
Goldfinch 2 new
Marsh tit 1 new
Dunnock 1 new
Robin 1 new

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