29 May 2009

Springwatch update

As you will of course seen, ringing had its own slot on Springwatch last night. If you managed to miss the show, find it on the Springwatch site here.

Chris Packham and our two helpers really enjoyed the experience, and hopefully this will have generated plenty of interest from new people.

Special thanks to our two helpers (Elly and Abby) for doing the scribing and to Nikki Waldron from the BBC for the photos.

27 May 2009

Ringing on Springwatch!

Just a very quick post so people can keep an eye out for a piece on ringing which will be on Springwatch either tomorrow (Thursday) or Friday.

We filmed a Constant Effort ringing session at Pensthorpe this morning with Chris Packham and two young helpers, and actually managed to catch a good variety of birds. So tune in to see Sedge Warblers, Chaffinches and maybe even my ugly mug!

26 May 2009

London buses (and LRPs)

We were pleasantly surprised to receive photos in April of a ringed Little Ringed Plover (on the blog here), as its rare to manage to pin these birds down. But just today we heard of another bird, this time in Hampshire.

This bird, seen at Blashford Lakes, hadn't come quite as far, having been ringed as a chick just up the road near Ringwood. This was back in May 2004 though, making this bird 5 years old now. The oldest LRP we know of in Europe only made it to 6 years and 8 months (another British bird), so this is getting close!

Thanks to Steve Copsey for the photos (see his blog here), and to all the birders who managed to piece together the ring number.

22 May 2009

More bizarre nest sites

Following on from the railway Oystercatcher, a couple of other bizarre nests have come to light this week...

Just last weekend I was shown this Blackbird which is nesting in a coiled up hosepipe right out in the open on the side of a house in Skegness. The female seems quite happy there, and tolerates regular trips to the garage!

Also in Lincolnshire is this Robin family. The nest is just two 2 ft from the back door of the house, where the comings and goings of the adults are regularly watched by 5 english setters. After years of not being used, as soon as the box acquired a decorative Kingfisher, the birds moved in!

Since 2005 this Swallow has chosen to nest on top of a motorbike wheel in a barn in Hoylake, Wirral. They've successfully raising chicks in all five years, with 20 raised so far.

Thanks to John Elliott for the Swallow photo, Keith Bowden for the Robin photo, and Mick Briggs for showing me the Blackbird.

20 May 2009

Manchester Peregrines ringed

Urban-nesting Peregrines have become more of a common sight in recent years, but they never lose their appeal.

These photos show the ringing of chicks reared on their custom-built highrise tray in Manchester last week. Peregrines have bred in the city since 2006, and even appeared on the One Show last summer.

The provision of a nesting tray by the Greater Manchester Bird Recording Group has suited them fine though, and the birds can regularly be seen on the BBC Big Screen at the Triangle behind M&S, so do go along and see what's happening. Video of the birds can also be seen on the BBC website here.

Thanks to Adrian Dancy for the images, Craig Bell for letting Adrian tag along and, of course, the steeple jack Colin Brooks who offers his services free of charge to retreive the chicks for Craig to ring.

18 May 2009

Oystercatcher goes off the rails!

An Oystercatcher has been spotted nesting between the railway tracks of a busy train station in Cumbria. An email was sent to the BTO yesterday morning detailing that the track is used by commuter trains, freight trains and nuclear flask trains from Sellafield!

The Oystercatcher is incubating three eggs and presumably it sits tight and tucks its head down whenever a train comes! Only a few hundred yards away from the railway is a far more suitable breeding habitat of coastal sand dunes and riparian land. What a silly bird!

08 May 2009

Happy Birthday to us!

100 years ago today, a Lapwing chick was ringed at Sand of Forvie in Aberdeenshire - the first bird ever ringed by the British and Irish Ringing Scheme.

36 million birds later, and we were out this morning ringing Starlings with the BBC, celebrating the Centenary event. This was for our local news, but we'll try to get the film up on the blog soon.....

For more info on what's happening near you in the Centenary year, check out the BTO website.

06 May 2009

Fighting Blue Tits

This amazing sequence of events was captured by the nestbox camera of a BTO Nest Recorder. The female incubating a full clutch of eggs is attacked by an imposter, presumably a second female. During the scrap, the male of the nesting pair keeps entering the box and attempts to feed his mate, oblivious to the commotion.

Is he just insensitive to her plight or just intent on carrying out his feeding duties, ignoring the female squabbles?