Monday, 5 December 2016

Garden Ringing

Sunday morning was perfect for ringing, with grey, overcast skies and no wind. I was out with Sorby Breck Ringing Group at the private garden site in Wingerworth, where we had a steady number of birds, resulting in 46 birds of 8 species caught.

Numbers were (new/retrap): Blue Tit (12/5), Great Tit (6/4), Coal Tit (3/3), Robin (1/3), Great-spotted Woodpecker (1/0), Chaffinch (4/0), Goldfinch (2/0) and Wren (2/0).

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Starling Murmuration - Middleton Moor

News of a large Starling murmuration/ roost at Middleton Moor near Stoney Middleton, Derbyshire, was posted on Darley Dale Birder's website earlier in the winter. Yesterday, Jayne and I decided to drive up to have a look. We arrived at about 3.20pm, and the first birds began to arrive almost immediately. In the next 45 minutes tens of thousands of birds flew in and roosted in the reedbeds. Unfortunately the birds didn't "murmurate" much tonight, but it was still an excellent experience.


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Linacre 3rd December 2016

After a break of 2 weeks, Luke and I were down at Linacre again this morning. It was quite mild ( 4 - 6 degrees celsius), grey, overcast and completely still. Waterbirds were present in good numbers, and we had a very nice close encounter with a very confiding Robin.


Waterbirds present were: Mallard (112 - the highest count of the year so far), Tufted Duck (57), Mandarin Duck (29), Coot (7), Moorhen (19 - again, the highest count of the year), Grey Wagtail (5 - a very good count for December), Grey Heron (1), Black-headed Gull (c.50), Little Grebe (1) and Cormorant (1). Unfortunately, we couldn't locate the immature Shag today,  but it was reported yesterday on the Sheffield Bird Study Group website, the first record for December.

Fieldfares and Redwings were present in the surrounding fields, with 18 and c.20 respectively reported. The Fieldfares flew over, while the Redwings were feeding in the Hawthorn bushes by the top reservoir. A Mistle Thrush was also heard in this area, and a couple of Blackbirds were also feeding on the berries. Siskin were heard, along with a couple of Goldcrests, Jay, Wren and a Magpie.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Linacre Shag - one year and counting...

Last November, on the 21st,  I was lucky enough to find a couple of Shags at Linacre, my first ever record at this site. Over the next few hours, the number of birds increased to 8 (!), 3 of which stayed until the start of 2016. 2 were present until March, when unfortunately, 1 bird was found dead, attached to some discarded fishing line. The final bird has remained all year, and so 21st November 2016 marked the first anniversary of its discovery. Here are 2 pictures taken in poor light at 4pm this afternoon as the bird swam close to the dam wall of the middle reservoir.


Let's hope it stays into 2017 now!!

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Linacre Ringing and a nice retrap

The weather forecast for this morning was dry and settled, so I was down at Linacre with 3 other members of Sorby Breck Ringing Group, and my nephew, Luke, for a ringing session. Ringing was steady and in the 3 and a half hours on site we caught 22 new birds of 7 species. Birds caught were (new/retrap): Blue Tit (7/0), Great Tit (5/2), Coal Tit (0/1), Goldcrest (1/0), Robin (2/2), Chaffinch (1/0) and Nuthatch (1/0).


Whilst ringing at Linacre we often retrap birds that we've previously ringed here. As you can see from the totals above, today we re trapped, amongst others, 2 Great Tits, 1 of which was wearing a B ring. As soon as we see a Great Tit wearing a B ring we get excited, because this means the bird was ringed as a pullus, in the nest (adult birds are ringed with an A ring). Anyway, this afternoon I found out that today's bird was ringed at Linacre Reservoirs, by me, in a nestbox just above the top reservoir, at 7.30pm on Thursday 4th June 2015 (thanks for the details David).  It came from a brood of 5 birds, and this sighting is the first since it was ringed. All the birds ringed in this box fledged successfully, but none of the other birds have been re trapped ... yet. See blog post here for details of the ringing trip. Here's a picture of one of today's Great Tits (can't remember if it's the re trapped bird or not!).

Great Tit

In between net rounds we also recorded the following birds: Kestrel (1), Sparrowhawk (1), Jay, Starling (c.20), Magpie (1), Mistle Thrush (1), Bullfinch (heard), Siskin (heard), Long-tailed Tit (heard), Woodpigeon (10s) and the immature Shag (found on the bottom reservoir by Luke- thanks).

Friday, 18 November 2016

Waxwing in Chesterfield

For the last few weeks there has been an increasing numbers of Waxwings being reported on Birdguides. There were a couple of reports in Derbyshire last week, and then, at the start of the week a report came through of 2 or 3 birds that were present in the Donkey Derby pub car park in Chesterfield. I had a drive down earlier in the week, without success, but today I returned, and managed to see 1 bird. Here are a few photos.


Year List update:
183: Waxwing

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Ringing and Linacre

No ringing last week because of the weather, but I managed to get out this morning with David from The Group. We had a couple of hours at a private site in Sheffield, where we caught and ringed 11 birds of 7 species (new/retrap) : Blue Tit 3/0, Great Tit 0/1, Coal Tit 2/0, Goldfinch 2/0, Wren 1/0, House Sparrow 1/0 and Dunnock 1/0. Thanks David, for letting me ring them all!

I haven't managed to get around Linacre this weekend, but I did have about half an hour there this afternoon to see if I could find the Shag. Thankfully, after a "no-show" last weekend, it was back on its favourite perch on the bottom reservoir. Next week, the 21st, is the "anniversary" of the discovery of 8 Shags at Linacre (see here), so I'm hopeful that this one will remain until then. I'm keeping everything crossed.