Friday, 10 May 2019

Warblers arrived

The session yesterday was noted for the arrival of resident warblers, some with brood patches. The reed beds becoming filled with noisy Reed Warblers. Altogether 39 birds were caught of 13 species including, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Blackcap and Sedge Warbler. A reasonable start to the breeding season.

Female Blackcap  (Photo Mike Tyler)

Sunday, 14 April 2019

Public demonstration

The Group held a public demonstration of bird ringing today and had 23 people attend during the morning. They enjoyed watching the processing of 33 birds of 13 species, including several migrants, as well as the usual expected species.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Colourful catch

Today the Group acted as hosts to the Reaseheath University College, Cheshire when 16 students and their tutors visited the Wetlands and spent the morning helping with the Group's ringing activities. This was part of the students field studies towards gaining an environment degree.

The species caught included, a Goldfinch, male and female Bullfinch and the highlight of the morning a male Redstart. These certainly made the morning colourful as opposed to the "little brown jobs" although those are still important in our research. A total of 30 birds were caught and processed of 15 species, including migrant Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps.

Photographs by Mark Wills of the male Redstart 

Second year Male Bullfinch bearing a tick under its bill (Photo Mike Tyler) 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

No migrants today

Our mist netting session today did not result in any expected migrants, although two Cetti's Warblers were retrapped, one a female. So will they breed this year on the Wetlands? The weather conditions today were ideal, cloud, dry and little wind. Forty birds were caught of 14 species as follows: Wren 4; Greenfinch 2; Goldfinch 8; Robin 6; Song Thrush 1; Bullfinch 2; Long-tailed Tit (1); Reed Bunting 3; Blackbird 1; Chaffinch 6; Cetti's Warbler 2; Great Tit 1; Dunnock 1; Blue Tit 2. Finches at garden bird tables appear to have increased in recent days similar to what was experienced today.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Busy morning

Friday 9th March turned out to be busy with a public session as well as the Countryside Team's Outdoor Group of 34 members joining us. With a small team we organised ourselves into two groups one operating in the Discovery Hut to demonstrate ringing and the large group in the Reed Base. Fortunately only 29 birds were caught so the morning was not to hectic enabling a smooth activity of sharing the birds between the groups. The Kingfisher was as usual the star draw to all as expected. Richard Austin the well known photographer was on hand most of the morning and took many photographs of the birds caught. So probably some photographs may appear in future editions of the Western Morning News. No specific highlights, apart from the Kingfisher and our first spring catch of a Chiffchaff.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Winter ringing

Despite a gathering wind the Group were able to spend the yesterday morning mist netting birds in a sheltered site on Colyton Common. Thirty birds were caught of eleven species, although no specific species to highlight. The catch included 5 Long-tailed Tits and 3 Reed Buntings.

Shelduck catch

On Sunday the Group met at Seaton Marshes at the crack of dawn to catch duck for the last time this winter. We were joined by students from the University College Reaseheath, Cheshire who helped with the processing of the catch. Unusually only Shelduck were caught in the cannon net, but a reasonable catch of 60. There were 19 new birds which has been the highest number at any catch this winter. The others were retraps from previous catches some first ringed in 2006. A long life non quarry duck which is loyal to winter sites. All Shelduck form part of the only specialist project monitoring their movements and longevity, with each bird colour ringed with a yellow Darvic ring with black lettering. Please submit any sightings to the Group at 

Tutors and students University College Reaseheath, Cheshire

Photograph Mike Tyler