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

Friday, 24 June 2011

House Martin part 2

On Tuesday 21st we were out again, this time at Waxham Great Barn for part 2 of the RAS project.
There were several flying about when we arrived, with at least 80 birds flying around.
A quick count of the nests produced 11 at the front and 46 ! at the back, most looked occupied.

Some of the nests.

A Hobby came through and caused pandemonium for a brief spell, but they soon settled down. 
28 were caught with 23 new, 4 retraps all from last year and 1 control.
Dave has found out that the control, L568614 was originally ringed as a 3 (bird of the year) on 25th September 2010 at Icklesham, Sussex.

Sharon was chief catcher on the night with the aid of Dave's net.

Superb bird !

Also during the week the Spotted Flycatcher nest was revisited, fingers were crossed in the hope it had survived the recent downpours .
 When we arrived the adults were seen taking food in , so we knew at least something was there.

Spot Fly nest box

On inspection 4 pulli and 1 cold egg were found in the nest, so the chicks were duly ringed. There was no sign of the other Spot Flys that were present on the last visit.

Spot Fly pulli.

Friday, 17 June 2011

House Martins

This year we are catching House Martins for a RAS Study and need to catch around 100 birds ! Our first session was on Thursday 16th at Horning Hall, this has been a very productive site for this species for a number of years now.

Nets at the ready !

This technique was first shown to us a number of years ago by the late Sandy Hill, who was ' Mr.House Martin' . He had written several papers on the subject and also compiled the House Martin entry for the BTO Migration Atlas. A very knowledgeable and informative gentleman.

Adult House Martin
Adult House Martin

29 House Martins were caught, 24 were new and 5 retraps, 12 proved to be females and 17 males, no youngsters were caught.
Of the retraps 4 were originally ringed as adults in 2010, the other was ringed as a juvenile on 13/07/2009.
A very good start for the RAS project.

The business end.

The Spotted Flycatchers nest was checked and found to have 3 recently hatched chicks and 2 eggs, hopefully the weather won't put them off and should be ready to ring mid week.

On Wednesday night the lure of a 1st. Summer male Red Footed Falcon at Horsey proved irresistible. It was present at the beach end of the Nelson Head track and was seen hawking for Dragonflies over the fields.
Also present in the same area was a Hobby doing the same thing.

I need to win the lottery to get a bigger lens !

1st. Summer male Red Footed Falcon doing what it does best, catching Dragonflies.

Its still present at the moment, Friday, but maybe finding it hard to catch Dragonflies in the rain and strong winds we are now getting !

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Not 5 but 6 !

Ormesby Kestrel site, very apt !

Last night (Monday) the Kestrels were visited again to ring the chicks (see last post ).
As the chicks were extracted  for ringing to our surprise the box contained not 5 but 6 chicks ! The adults have been seen regularly sitting on the nearby  bales and seem to be finding plenty of prey.

Still can't get them all to look !

Out of the 6, three were males, two females and one to small to determine. 

Male with grey upper tail coverts.

 Female with brown upper tail coverts.

Some more Swallow pulli and another Stock Dove pulli were also ringed. At another Barn Owl site 3 adult Stock Doves came out of the box and on inspection contained 3 nests, 2 with one egg the other 2 eggs !
We also had a Hobby hurtling past as we left the site.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Females gone?

It's been a busy few weeks recently, checking boxes takes a lot of time!
All the tit boxes are finally finished, they have done quite well this year. Blue Tits seemed to be on average a week earlier than Great Tits, this is unusual for us as its normally the other way round. Most fledged well and there seems to be a lot of young ones about now.
One box at Ormesby contained an unfortunate individual with a swollen head, the rest of the brood (9 others) were fine. We did check the box later after fledging and it had gone, so may have fledged after all.

Not looking too good!

We are now checking the larger boxes for Barn Owls and are finding that some areas are doing well  while others not. The Caister/Ormesby areas seem to be struggling while Potterheigham/Martham /Hickling areas are doing well.
The usual suspects have been found nesting, if Barn Owls are not present, Jackdaws and Stock Doves are all too ready to move in.

Fed up Jackdaws!

Stock Dove squab

Adult Stock Dove

Two of the Barn Owl boxes have contained dead female Kestrels, both long dead, we assume they starved in the Winter. One was ringed and is a control EL44851 (any takers?)  On a brighter note we have at last had a pair of Kestrels nest in a purpose built box with 5 chicks present.

5 Kestrel pulli (one is camera shy).

The Barn Owls have been interesting to say the least,  no young have been ringed yet as they are too small at present.  Largest clutch being 2 young and 5 eggs, another having 6 young. Several have 5 eggs. Interestingly none of the boxes have contained any prey items, Gary has been collecting the pellets at all sites to try and find out what they are eating and what mammals are present in each area, this will take some time!
At four sites the females caught proved to be different birds from last year, so where have all last years females gone? Two controls have been caught so far GC68232 and GF65522, also a  retrap female proved to be a chick that was ringed  at another site nearby last year.

Barn Owlets
At some sites Swallows have been present and several broods ringed so far, these also seem to be a week or so earlier with some already on the wing, however others are still on eggs.

3J Swallow

More good news at Horning was a nest of Spotted Flycatcher with 5 eggs, historically this has been our only reliable site for the species with 3 or 4 pairs breeding up to 5 years ago, but now has become quite a scarce breeder. We have not found any for a couple of years now, this year there may be 3 pairs present, fingers crossed!

Several species of Dragonfly have been seen on our travels; Black Tailed Skimmer, Norfolk Hawker, Four Spotted Chaser and Hairy Dragonfly. Butterflies have included Red Admiral, Wall Brown, Small Tortoiseshell and Common Blue.

Common Blue

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Barton Demo 2011

We again attended the Barton Broad 'Go Wild ' day this year. It took place on Sunday 22nd May and was organised by The Norfolk Wildlife Trust.
There were several other organisations and displays present. The weather was dry and sunny but the unrelenting wind done us no favours. 

Mel sorting the picture quiz out.

Birds were few and far between, luckily for us Mel came along and organised a bird picture quiz that went down well in between birds and a prize was given to all correct answers! The younger attendees also enjoyed Arthur explaining the way we catch birds in mist nets, cuddly toy birds (supplied by Gary, much to his grandsons' dismay!) were thrown into a 20' net and then extracted, bagged and brought to the ringing table.

Dave doing what he does best....... talking !

Justin done most of the ringing until Sharon turned up and ringed the last 2 which included the bird of the day a Gropper. We did have a couple of more nets up this year and some feeders were put out in advance but due to the wind we caught about the same as last year. 21 new birds were ringed.

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1
Robin 2
Blackbird 4
Grasshopper Warbler 1
Sedge Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 1
Marsh Tit 1
Blue Tit 3
Great Tit 3
Chaffinch 1
Reed Bunting 1  

Marsh Tit 
Thanks must go to Dave and Justin for cutting the rides, Dave again for putting the feeders up and Mel for the Quiz and photo displays.