Caister beach
Welcome to the ENRG blogspot. We hope you enjoy reading about the bird ringing activities and experiences of the group.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Windhovers at Lound

In somewhat balmier weather Dave and Justin set out on Sunday evening to check some barn owl boxes and a kestrel box at Lound Lakes. All of the barn owl boxes were empty aside from one containing a young jackdaw sitting proudly atop a wood pile almost completely filling the box. The kestrel box however proved to be a success with three youngsters looking out with fierce eyes and even fiercer talons; well two of them were anyway! They were ringed, weighed and measured before being returned safely to the nest. A good result for the first use since the box was installed a couple of years ago.

Spot the shy one!

On route to one of the owl boxes a strange noise was heard in a meadow and after a brief search a 1J lesser whitethroat was discovered that must have taken a wrong turn from a nearby hedgerow. Moments later another was found hiding in the long sward. Both fledglings were quickly ringed and reunited with their sibling calling loudly from the hedgerow. A nice surprise rounding off a pleasant evening seeing a welcome break to the recent windy cold spell.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

'Flaming' June

With a 20mph Northerly blowing and temperatures of 11°C it was more like Winter than Summer. No chance of any mist netting again, so the order of the day was to check a few more boxes.
The Barn Owl chicks are now getting big enough to ring, a brood of 2 and 3 were ringed. No prey items were found in any of the boxes and at one site the adult was out hunting in broad daylight at 9am! However, the chicks seemed to be of a reasonable weight and doing well, time will tell.

Looking sweet

A slightly older chick with a more pronounced facial disc.

Difference in wing growth and patterning

More boxes contained Stock Dove, they seem to like our Barn Owl boxes, at least something is using them.

Adult Stock Dove

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Captain Beaky

A trip to a Broadland site one evening produced some memorable birds as well as a sad sight.
10 Cranes were seen feeding in a grazing marsh( all adults), a superb Hobby being harassed by Swallows, several Marsh Harriers and several Avocet were the highlights.
The first cygnets were about, not as many as normal though.

Which ones the ugly one ?

While checking a Barn Owl site in a disused mill a very sad sight was seen. On opening the door there was a rather pungent smell, on inspection this was to be a pair of Shelduck and 7 young all dead. They had fell down into a pit beneath the mill's wheel and become trapped, what a way to go!
Dave and Justin had visited the site a couple of weeks ago and found 2 pairs of Avocet breeding, they have bred here before but only occasionally.  A military manoeuvre was set in place to see if we could find any young to ring.
One chick was found and amazingly another 5 nests with 4 eggs each! (We do hold the necessary schedule 1s to ring Avocet ).

Avocet  nest

Unfortunately the chick was too small to take a ring as it had only recently hatched, still having its egg tooth.

Captain Beaky

A long way to go yet.

Hopefully he can dodge the predators and survive until we go back again.
A large Drinker Moth caterpillar was found in the grass to round the evening off.

Drinker Moth

 I have just recently received a report from a work colleague of a ringed Oystercatcher. The bird was found dead on the Wash near Kings Lynn, Norfolk last month, it was originally ringed on Snettisham beach, Norfolk on 25/08/1968 !!!!!!! It must be the grandfather of all Oystercatchers.
Thanks to Russel for the info.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

This week

A number of sites were checked this week.
Mainly big boxes and Swallow nests. The Swallow's seem pretty slow starting at the moment with either very small young or still with eggs.It must be a combination of late arrival and poor weather.
At one site a dead female was found under a nest with the male looking from the nest forlornly on.

A very sad sight

The male looks on

Some of the boxes had Barn Owls in either with very small young or eggs, one box contained only one chick with 4 dead Voles and a mole. Another box contained the  remains of a Moorhen.
A couple of the other boxes had Stock Doves in, one with eggs and the other with 2 young.

Stock Dove pulli

While visiting the farm's etc. you never know who might be watching you ! 

I spy with my little eye..

We had a tip off from Ted at Horning that the Oystercatchers had hatched and were still on his marsh, so we made a visit to see what was going down. On arrival Ted told us where he had seen the chicks and offered to lend us his all terrain vehicle, so off we went. The first things we saw were a pair of Redshank with 3 large young, we watched for a while then moved in to find the chicks. After a half hour searching we gave up very despondently with none found and marvelling at their amazing disappearing act. In the meantime the Oykes were doing nothing.
We decided to go away and come back in half an hour.. When we came back they were still doing nothing !
We eventually decided to have a look to see what was going on, again nothing was found. Then as if by magic  just as we were going to give up  one chick was found then the other. The cold and wet did not seem that bad after all !
Doing there best to look like Sheep sh-t

Worth the effort

Saturday 12th saw the group at Martham again , we would like to welcome  a new trainee on board, Sharon.
The nets were again erected on the Friday night, beforehand we met at Tony's garden to ring a brood of Greenfinch and Collared Dove.

Greenfinch pulli

The session produced 31 new birds and 5 retraps.
Wren 2 (2)
Dunnock 1
Robin 7 (3) one originally ringed 25/04/2007
Blackbird 1
Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 2
Long-tailed Tit 12, 9 were Juveniles.
Great Tit 2
Chaffinch 1
Bullfinch 2

Juvenile Long-tail 

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


On Tuesday 1st. June we returned to Repps to mop up the last Tit boxes.
 I think we have finally finished checking them now and these were the last to ring this year. 
We have never had such a long Tit season, we can now move our attentions to checking the Barn Owl boxes.
The dykes at Repps have recently been widened for the flood alleviation programme that is continuing in the Broads, these already have a good population of Damselflies. Mainly Red eyed, Large red and Azure.

Large Red

Red eyed
We did check some Barn Owls at Caister, one was empty another had 4 eggs and the last had 5 chicks.

Barn Owl nest

The box with the 4 eggs also had a Wood Pigeon nesting on the roof, this had one egg and a recently hatched squab !

Wood Pigeon nest on roof of box
Inspector gadgets new invention came into its own tonight when we were able to extract the female from the last box. This was a retrap and had originally been ringed as an adult at the same box on 04/10/2004 ! and previously retrapped on 07/05/07. A good age for a Barn Owl, She is still going strong with 5 chicks this year, this is usually are most productive site.

The largest Owlet