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 axeestuaryringing@gmail.com 

Tutors and students University College Reaseheath, Cheshire

Photograph Mike Tyler

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Dreary day

Today was dull and misty, but a few birds were caught and processed. The sudden mild spell must have had an effect on feeding habits. The abundance of school children on the Wetlands could have had an effect.

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

First mist netting session for 2019 off to a good start

Yesterday the Group's first mist netting session was a success with 63 birds caught of 14 species. The highlights being a Redwing, rarely caught on the Wetlands and a Teal, although not uncommon is rarely caught in a mist net. The other species were those one would expect, but there was an unusual leucistic Blackbird with several white feathers. Four Bullfinches and seven Long-tailed Tits also graced the catch.

Redwing

Leucistic male Blackbird

Male Bullfinch

Photographs copyright Mark Wills


Monday, 14 January 2019

First duck catch for 2019

Our first duck catch for 2019 took place at Seaton Marshes on Saturday 12th January and resulted in a reasonable catch of of 54 birds. These included 47 Shelduck, 5 Mallard, 1 Teal and 1 Wigeon. The previous catch in December resulted in a catch of 20 Shelduck of which eleven were retrapped at this latest session. At the time of firing the cannons all except three Shelduck all those present were caught suggesting at least 63 have visited the site so far this winter. The Shelduck is site loyal species. Hopefully we will catch more Wigeon at our last session in February as there are in the region of 50 birds wintering in the vicinity.

Four teams busy processing the catch

Adult male Teal
Photographs Mike Tyler

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Last sessions for 2018

The Group had two sessions on 16th and 17th December concluding the year's work on the Axe Estuary. The first session was programmed to catch duck with the use of cannon nets and 23 duck were caught comprising of 20 Shelduck and three Teal. Some of the Shelduck were ringed from earlier sessions several years before. They are fairly long lived and site loyal to the Axe Estuary.

The following day the last mist netting session took place and grand total of 54 birds were caught and processed. A good number for the time of the year. Mainly general species, but a Grey Wagtail and three Cetti's Warblers were a nice surprise. Other species included: Blue Tit 15; Great Tit 4; Blackbird 4; Wren 2; Chaffinch 4; Song Thrush 2; Robin 5; Dunnock 5; Goldfinch 3; and Reed Bunting 6.

We start again in earnest on 12th January hopefully with a duck catch.

Adult male Shelduck

Pair of adult Teal

First year Grey Wagtail

Different pose of the same Grey Wagtail

Photographs by Mark Wills and Mike Tyler