Wednesday 25 February 2015

AHA, 3 Norwegians!

Had a batch of recoveries from BTO headquarters today including the details of the 3 Norwegian-ringed Dunlin we caught at Ynyslas back in September. 

Two of the birds were ringed at The Makkevika Bird Reserve near Giske, 1,262 kms from Ynyslas, and had been ringed 18 and 44 days previously. The third bird had travelled 917kms from Revtangen, Klepp in just 8 days. It weighed 42 grams when originally caught but, not unsurprisingly, only 35.3 grams when it was retrapped.

This autumn saw a larger than normal number of Dunlin ringed at Ynyslas, just short of 500 in fact, so maybe it was a very productive breeding season - well that's My Take on It!

Saturday 14 February 2015

New Black Redstart longevity record?

Brendan sent me some photos recently of the Black Redstart on the Old College in Aberystwyth. In the various photos the last few ring numbers can clearly be seen as 893. This matches the ring number of the one and only Black Redstart we have ringed in Aberystwyth which was caught by Paul and I at the same location on 5th December 2010. The ring was read on previous occasions from photographs supplied by Janet Baxter and Kev Joynes and what is presumed to be the same bird has wintered on the Old College every winter since. 

Checking the BTOs online ringing reports (Robinson, R.A. & Clark, J.A.(2014) The Online Ringing Report: Bird ringing in Britain & Ireland in 2013 BTO, Thetford, the current longevity record is held by a bird ringed as a nestling in Sussex on 3rd July 1947 and retrapped by a ringer in Dover on 21st June 1952! It was 4 years, 11 months and 18 days between ringing and retrapping and since it was ringed as a nestling that is pretty much how old it was bar 7 days or so. The Aberystwyth bird was an adult when caught so was at least 16 months old already, making it at least 5 and a half years old! Unfortunately the age is measured soley on the elapsed time between ringing and recovery so we'll have to wait until next year to make it official but who said it wasn't worth ringing it ?!

Tuesday 10 February 2015

Just like London buses...

I had to pick Silvia up from Luton airport on Friday so we decided to stay at my sisters in southwest London again. As my 3 nephews (aged 3,5 and 8) love it when we catch birds with them, I took my ringing kit with me. Normally when we mist net here, we catch the usual garden birds plus the odd corvid but never the brightly coloured Parakeets that regularly visit the feeders. It was looking like this was going to be the case again until Sunday afternoon when one decided to get caught in the mist net. Despite knowing their reputation for being a bit nippy with their powerful beaks, I quickly rushed outside and extracted it. Looking back it might have been useful to put some gloves on, but I'd seen a few escape on previous visits!! Needless to say it took several chunks of my skin, but worth it nevertheless. They are actually quite tricky to ring without getting bitten, but it's all very good learning. Only an hour or so after, a second Parakeet flew into the net. This time I managed to extract it with out being attacked as much.

Despite catching the 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, the star of the weekend was undoubtedly this very smart male Sparrowhawk, a species that I could never get bored of ringing!

All in all, another productive trip, with around 60 birds trapped and ringed, all adding to the bigger picture of the wildlife that visits my sister's amazing urban garden.