Monday 15 December 2014

Christmas Bonus!

The Group held sessions on both last Saturday and Sunday. The Saturday mist netting session was programmed, but the cannon netting session the following morning was the first this winter, due to sheep grazing in November on the catching site. Once these woolly jumpers had been removed a start on our winter sessions of catching duck commenced in earnest.

Of the 135 birds caught over the weekend 75 presented us with a nice surprise on the Saturday, which included a Water Rail, two Cetti's Warblers, five Redwings, a Kingfisher and a Meadow Pipit. The Sunday also brought good results with 60 duck, including 28 Teal, 19 Shelduck and 13 Mallard. Not a bad weekend which certainly raised the spirits of both teams. A Christmas bonus!

One of the two Cetti's Warblers 

A fine looking Redwing

I am not trying to escape, just wondering when I get my ring

Male Teal in a duller winter plumage

Sunday's happy team

All photographs by Mike Tyler

Thursday 23 October 2014

Varied wader catch

Last night brave souls of the Group ventured onto a soggy deep marsh to set nets for the second autumn wader catch. Despite the mud a nice varied catch was made. Small, but well worth the effort. As with the last session a duck, not a wader, is first caught, this time a nice adult female Teal. Our smallest duck is always a delight to ring and process and this female Teal was no exception.

The wader catch resulted in five species, including a Jack Snipe we ringed last year, being a species very much site loyal. Other species included, Bar-tailed Godwit, Common Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Redshank and an adult male Curlew.

Colourful wing of female Teal (Photo Mike Tyler)

Common and Jack Snipe (Photo Mike Tyler)

Fraser admiring the Jack Snipe (Photo Mike Tyler)

Saturday 27 September 2014

Another good ringing morning

This morning the Group caught 63 birds among which included: 11 Blackcaps; 12 Chiffchaffs; 7 Long-tailed Tits, 2 Kingfishers; 2 Meadow Pipits; 1 Kestrel; 1 Treecreeper; and 1 Grey Wagtail. Several members of the public were present and enjoyed watching the birds up close and being ringed. The children were so thrilled by seeing a selection of 17 different birds.

That is not nice to treat Ian's finger as if it was a fish (Photo Mike Tyler)

The young male Kingfisher now behaving much better (Photo Mike Tyler)

A second year male Kestrel (Photo Mike Tyler)

Tuesday 23 September 2014

First autumn wader catch

Autumn always gives the Group the opportunity to try and catch waders using mist nets at high tide and normally after dark. Can be tricky, but with an experienced team the sessions are always challenging, but enjoyable. Last evening was no exception.

Our catches are normally small, but the session was certainly better than expected. Apart from a non wader species, a Shelduck, fourteen waders were caught and processed. These included:

one Common Snipe; five Dunlin; two Curlew; five Redshamk and one Whimbrel. The latter was a new species for the Group. A pleasing varied catch.

Common Snipe

Our new wader - the Whimbrel

Curlew and Whimbrel comparison
(Photographs Mike Tyler)

Friday 19 September 2014

Nice September catch

The second catch for September resulted in 50 birds caught of 14 species a nice varied catch. The usual autumn migrants were contained in the total, but 18 juvenile Greenfinches could not resist the local feeders, nor the interest of ringers.

Thursday 28 August 2014

Migrants on the move

After an early start today 34 birds were caught, mainly migrants, including Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Sedge and Reed Warblers. Unfortunately rain and windy conditions brought a promising catch to an abrupt halt by 10.00am.

Hopefully further sessions this autumn will prove more successful, including special wader catching sessions.

Tuesday 19 August 2014

August catch

After two earlier aborted sessions the two mornings over the weekend of 16th - 17th August allowed 91 birds to be caught and processed. Even the second session was closed early due to rain. As expected most birds were juveniles including: three Whitethroats; 12 Sedge Warblers; and eight Reed Warblers. Hopefully more interesting sessions will take place before the conclusion of autumn migration.

Thursday 24 July 2014

Group on Display

Even with a short gap in the ringing programme the Group has not stood idle. On 12th July it appeared at the Kilmington Village Fayre and last weekend at the Natural Seaton Festival. Many local conservation bodies were represented at this Festival which took place adjoining the new Tesco Stores and Tramway Terminus. Both events enabled the Group to show the public why we ringed birds and its importance in nature conservation.

Many thanks to the organisers of both events and Group volunteers.

Group display at the Natural Seaton Festival (Photo Adrian Bayley)

Saturday 5 July 2014

Latest update

Today the Group took part in the Axe Vale and District Conservation Society's Open Day held on the Axe Estuary Wetlands. We specifically put on a public demonstration of bird ringing for several dozen Society members and the public present. During the morning 64 birds were caught including two new Kingfishers, bringing the total caught at two sessions to 13, excluding retraps. Other species ringed included Reed, Warblers, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs.

Reed Warbler -Photo Mike Tyler

Male Blackcap - Photo Mike Tyler

Sunday 22 June 2014

Early ringers' catch the birds!

The Group yesterday were pleasantly surprised to catch 117 birds during a morning session starting at 5.00am. This is one of the largest catches we have caught of passerines and allied species. Not only a good catch, but within this total were 11 Kingfishers, definitely a record for one morning.

There was an abundance of young birds in the catch suggesting a good breeding season. The tally was: Blackbird 4; Great Tit 23; Greenfinch 21; Chiffchaff 7; Chaffinch 6; Blue Tit 15; Dunnock 4; Whitethroat 1; Song Thrush 1; Blackcap 4; Robin 3; Reed Warbler 8; Wren 4; Great Spotted Woodpecker 2; Treecreeper 1; Meadow Pipit 1; Kingfisher 11; and Goldfinch 1.

Let's hope this is a good omen for the rest of the summer season.

Two juvenile Kingfishers with a  male on the left and a female on the right
Photographs  Doug Rudge

Friday 6 June 2014

Recent activity

Early this week the Group moved its activities to another part of the Wetlands containing reed beds, rough ground and hedgerows. Although rain prevented a full mornings activities 38 birds were caught of 11 species. One Blackbird had been ringed at another site in East Devon and obviously preferred a new feeding site!

Sunday 18 May 2014

A fluffy bundle!

The Group recently ringed two Tawny owlets and this one decided after it had fledged to pose for the camera.

Just fledged Tawny Owl (Photo Doug Rudge)

Saturday 17 May 2014

Good weather and good birds!

Last weekend the weather did not allow netting to take place due to heavy showers and high winds. To compensate it was decided to have a session today and we were blessed with good dry weather and little wind. The conditions were ideal.

The Group caught 36 birds which is considered a good catch in an areas where we are restricted. In addition 7 Great Tits and 10 Blue Tits nestlings were also ringed so the our summer season is now well under way. Interesting there were two Blackcap retraps of a male and female with consecutive ring numbers originally caught in the same net on two separate sessions in April and May 2012. The question is, have they been a pair for at least three years?

Sunday 6 April 2014

South-west ringers' Conference a sell-out

Yesterday over 90 delegates, speakers and stallholders attended the SW Ringers' Conference held in the Town Hall, Seaton.. Apparently it was a great success with delegates enjoying excellent speakers and good food.

Karen and Denise manning the registration desk (Copyright Catharine Willerton)
Mike Tyler Leader and Chairman of the Axe Estuary Ringing Group welcomed delegates to the Conference followed by the official opening by the Chairman of the East Devon District Council, Councillor Graham Godbeer.

Official opening by the Chairman of East Devon District Council (Copyright Keith Grant)
Presentations were made by Mike Hounsome about the Shelduck Project on the Axe Estuary; Pete Potts on the Operation Godwit - the first 21 years; Manx Shearwaters on Lundy by Tony Taylor; Monitoring of Pied Flycatchers by Malcolm Burgess; Matt Prior talking about Tree Sparrows in Wiltshire; and Mark Grantham telling us about the hatching of the West Cornwall Ringing Group and the various species ringed and habitats covered.
Enjoying a delicious lunch (Copyright Catharine Willerton)
There was a wide selection of displays from traders and organisations.

Simone manning the NHBS stand (Copyright Catharine Willerton)
Ringers' had an opportunity to raise questions with the BTO with Jacquie Clark answering points raised and updating the Conference on news from Headquarters.

Later in the day Doug Rudge and his team hosted a tour of the Axe Estuary Wetlands concluding with a BBQ. So pleasant end to a successful day, despite the weather.
Doug leading the tour of the Wetlands prior to the BBQ (Copyright Catharine Willerton)
The Group would like to thank the delegates, sponsors, traders and many organisations that made the event a success.

Wednesday 5 March 2014

St David's Day lucky catch

When we thought that the chance to catch large numbers of duck had forsaken us this winter we were in luck last Saturday morning. The first catch for 2014 resulted in 34 Shelduck netted of 43 present. The Group members were delighted, as indicated by the photograph, but also for a colourful bird caught in the reeds behind the group.

Whilst processing the Shelduck a visitor spotted a male Bearded Tit fly into the reeds. A mist net team was dispatched without delay and the bird was soon trapped. Prior to being netted it gave everyone present some splendid views. Although reported occasionally on the Wetlands this was the first catch for the Group and a very nice one too.

A happy team (Photo Mike Tyler)

A very attractive and unusual catch (Photo Mike Tyler)

Sunday 23 February 2014

New Year ringing at last underway

Since Christmas the weather had not been kind to the Group to allow it to get stuck into cannon netting duck or mist netting. February permitted a few evenings to catch Reed Buntings at roost in the young reed bed close to our ringing base and this weekend enabled us to take part in the Winter Festival arranged by East Devon District Council. Only a few birds were caught, but these did in include a Cetti's Warbler a species that has been seen and heard less in recent years on the Estuary.

The Festival enabled the Group to arrange a public ringing demonstration that proved a success with several children enjoying the chance to see birds close-up.

Cetti's Warbler carefully held by Ann prior to release (Photo Mike Tyler)
A keen young man releasing a female Blackbird clasping Derek's finger on release! (Photo Adrian Bayley)
Our Leader showing a Wren to a group of  children (Photo Adrian Bayley)