This is foreseen to be an occasional blog relating to bird ringing at Abbotsbury Swannery. The site has operated as a BTO Constant Effort Site since 1995 and has taken part in the BTO Swallow Roost Project. In recent years we have concentrated in the autumn with both Yellow and Pied/White Wagtails. In 2009 we joined the Woodcock Network.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

A day off and no wind!

The combination of no wind and a day off was too much to resist. Setting up after lunch for a few hours was a must.  Always a chance for an afternoon Dusky Warbler. The withy nets were set first and then two around the feeders. Although not bristling with birds the tops of the Alders were busy with finches and goldcrests. First bird out of the nets at the feeders was a feisty female Great Spotted Woodpecker. Each woodpecker should come with an EU  health warning. Maybe the risk assessment should be updated. My hand had several leaks

During the painful extraction Steve G and Dave looked on smiling. The rest of the session produced several more new Chiffchaffs and the party of Long-tailed tits made contact just after 15.00hrs which boosted the total a little. New Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Robin, and Blue Tits helped. The best bird of the afternoon was a Grey Wagtail caught deep within the withybed. Possibly the wet mud had attracted it as it flew overhead  and it dropped down. Not many Grey Wagtails are caught here at the Swannery

Grey Wagtail

The stunning underparts of the Grey Wagtail

Long-tailed Tits

The session finished as it has started with a Great Spotted Woodpecker. This bird though was a male and had been ringed 9th september 2008. The ring was still as shiny as the day it had been put on. The longest retrap Great Spotted for the Swannery to date. Just under 40 birds at this time of year in two hours wasn't too bad.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

News from the BTO

Today news was received of a Willow Warbler controlled at the Swannery back in August and also of two Sedge Warblers ringed there in July

Willow Warbler AYX919
Ringed at Murroes in Angus, Scotland on 25th July this year and controlled at Abbotsbury 20th August.  26 days
This was the first Willow Warbler control at Abbotsbury since 1995 when we started.

Sedge Warblers  Y230119 and Y230132
Two Sedge Warblers- one  ringed at the Swannery 23 July 2011 and the other 30th July 2011were both controlled at Saint Joachim, Loire- Atlantique in France. One 7days after ringing and the other 12 days after ringing. The later ringed bird got there first!  In recent years we have had other Sedge Warblers controlled here.  We do not seem to get so many pass through Etang du Trunvel in Finistere as we used to. Luck of the draw most likely.

Sunday, 6 November 2011

You wait all year.....

.... and three come along!  Luke and I were discussing yesterday the dearth of Cetti's Warblers trapped at Abbotsbury this year after the last hard winter when the species disappeared from the site when one turned in the withy net run.  Ten minutes later another net round and another Cetti's in exactly the same place!   But it gets spookier. Another ten minutes go by and another net round check and yes.. another Cetti's again in the same place.

Cetti's Warbler 

Apart from this the usual fare from the withies at this time of year. Dunnocks, Chaffinchs, Robins, Goldcrests, and a solitary Chiffchaff.

Sunday- a two hour spell again in the withy bed and around the feeders to give  a possible new trainee a taster session. On the second net round in the withies yes..  another Cetti's Warbler ... in exactly the same spot as the three birds were extracted yesterday. The rest of the catch was predominantly Blue Tits and Great tits. Although a new Treecreeper was welcomed and a heavy juvenile female Blackcap.  Fat score of forty on the bird. Probably not going to be hanging around much longer.  Just a single Goldcrest but the wind was billowing the nets considerably just before we left.

Treecreeper being ringed

The finished product

The wind looks like swinging SE during the week and staying mild so a few afternoon visits may be possible.

Friday, 4 November 2011

A gap in the clouds

A break from the rain this morning and being on late shift offered a chance to set the nets in the withy bed for a short while.  Whilst walking to the net ride goldcrests, firecrests, goldfinches, siskins and chiffchaffs were all calling. First bird 'on'  the net was a Firecrest which was in typical crest fashion just clinging to the net. When just a few inches away from extraction it opened its feet and shot off!


Anyway a useful session with several Goldcrests, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Treecreeper, Long-tailed tits, Robins and Chaffinch all obliging. The best bird was a male Bullfinch. Not a frequent bird down here. Luckily the camera was in the car.

Couple of retraps included a one  year old female Chaffinch and a  Treecreeper. Weather looks settled next two mornings so a couple of visits are envisaged. Walking back from work earlier Redwings could be heard overhead. The Northerly winds are doing their stuff