Click on the link below to take a look at a very interesting website about a project looking at migrating Woodcock. The Manx RG will be joining the 'Woodcock Network' project this year and we hope to catch them once the migrant Woodcock return to the British Isles for the Winter.
It is one of the birds from the Irish Brent Goose Study. They colour ring Light-bellied Brent Geese on their wintering grounds in Ireland and also on migration through Iceland on their way to/from Arctic Canada where they nest.
We have seen several of their colour ringed Light-bellied Brent Geese on the IOM over the last few years.
Another of their colour ringed Brents is 'J4YY' which has been wintering in Derbyhaven/Langness for the passed 5 winters.
Having had a great day, Sean and I decided to try a dazzling session for waders last night. It wasn't an ideal night as it was low water resulting in a huge amount of beach to cover, however we quickly found the birds had settled into the line where the shingle met the sand, well below the high tide line.
We caught 2 Turnstone and missed many more due to the perfect colouration of the backs of the Turnstones blending in with the shingle.
A great day out today. I met Sean this morning at the Curraghs garden feeder site with 40 birds caught, 19 new and 21 retrap - much quiter than the previous winter visits but then everything will be moving onto the nesting territories at the moment. Thanks to Steve & Sue for the tea & biscuits!!
We then took a look at a couple of new sites where Sean has obtained permission for access and to do ringing, one of which was a fantastic farm site near Andreas with great looking hedgerows and meadows which are being expertly managed for farmland birds. The owners used to be farmers in England and had ringers on their land there so they know exactly the sort of things that we look for in a ringing site - thanks to Mark & Sarah, looking forward to ringing there!
Just as we arrived there we both saw a Buzzard land in a distant tree. Sean got out the 'big camera' and got some cracking shots...
After a quick pit stop at the garage in Ramsey, we just had time to check if the Black Redstart was still knocking around, which it was, and then off to pick up Sean's RIB.
We put the boat into the harbour as we were after the last 2 Mute Swans that were unringed. Having struggled to catch them from land, Sean had the idea of trying from the boat as the Swans regularly come up to the boats in the harbour. We managed to catch the unringed adult but unfortunately the unringed juvenile kept getting chased away by a dominant Cob so it remains unringed. 8 other Mute Swans were present, all of which were already ringed (B21, C21, F21, Y21, D23, J23, Z23 & A86).
Whilst onboard the RIB, we also took a quick trip out to Stack Mooar to check on the Cormorant colony and the nearby nesting seabirds.
Cormorants at the colony at Stack Mooar
A few Kittiwakes, Shags and Fulmars on nests already and about 40 Cormorant pairs already holding territories with some sat on nests now. There are still a lot of pairs yet to arrive on site though - hopefully they will be arriving soon!
I took advantage of the calm winds today and opened the net in my garden. 21 birds caught, 15 new and 6 retraps.
Dunnock 1 Blue Tit 7 (+6 retraps) House Sparrow 1 Chaffinch 3 Goldfinch 3
One of the Blue Tits had an interesting appearance. The front of its crown was bright yellow with a yellow wash to the loral area and front part of the 'cheeks'. It was an adult (euring code 6 - hatched prior to last calendar year) so its not even as though it could have been retained juvenile feathers.
I initially thought it could be pollen staining as all the willow trees along the stream are in flower, however there was no sign of any powder or dust and the feathers appeared 'clean'.
None of the other Blue Tits caught showed any yellow colouration like this bird.
One of the retraps was originally ringed in my garden as a first year bird in December 2009.
Here are some recoveries from the latest batch for the Calf of Man Bird Observatory. Click on the map markers to view the details or clicking on the link directly underneath each map will open up a larger view with the details on the screen.
Some interesting recoveries there, including the mid-winter, northwards movement of the adult male Blackbird LB12685 to Norway only for it to be killed by a cat there. Looking at its biometrics, it had a wing length of 140mm suggesting it was of Scandinavian origin but it seems very early in the year for it to have been returning North.
GBB Gull Blue 1JN, Peel breakwater - photo by Sean
We heard back from Chris Honan today with the ringing details. It is one from his colour ringing project and was ringed as a chick on 25th June 2011 at Ireland's Eye, a small Island just North of Howth in Dublin Bay.
A87 had been resident in Ramsey for the last 9 years and had roamed the South of the Island for a few years prior to this. It was at least 16 years old this year as when it was originally caught in 1998 it was already a full adult (at least 2 years old).
It had last been seen in Ramsey harbour on 31 January 2012.
Sean and I recently jumped at a rare opportunity to help Kane and the WWT teams with two planned catches at their reserves at Martin Mere in Lancashire and Caerlaverock in Dumfries & Galloway.
First up was a catch at Martin Mere. Although only a relatively small number of Whooper Swans were caught on the morning, the catch also included a good selection of Ducks with Shelduck, Pintail, Wigeon, Pochard, Teal and Mallard all being caught.
It was also good to meet up with Steve Christmas form the North West Swan Study, a project which we are a part of, and also Craig Brookes, Ciaran Hatsell and Dave & Jill Hallam.
After the catch Sean, Craig, Ciaran and I went to Southport Marine Lake to help Steve catch more juvenile Mute Swans for the NWSS and we managed to catch 16 juvs and an adult.
Mute Swans at Southport Marine Lake
It was also great to meet Dave Sowter here, the ringer who inspired us to start our Large Gull project and who kindly donated the colour rings for it.
The next day we had moved to Caerlaverock, a reserve on the Solway Firth where huge flocks of Barnacle Geese spend the Winter before returning to Spitzberegen to nest. A fantastic catch of 204 Swans made up of 147 Whoopers and 57 Mutes was taken.
The catch in the 'Swan Pipe'
All the new Whoopers were given colour rings to allow identification in the field and various biometrics were taken on all the Swans to enable the team at WWT HQ in Slimbridge to work out a body condition of each bird. Thanks to Gillian Dinsmore for the photos of the action!
Measurements were taken on tarsus length, head and bill length, weight and wing length
It was also great to meet up again with Sveri and his wife from Iceland who were down for a special visit to see the Whooper Swan catch. It was great to discover that we caught a Whooper which he had ringed as an adult bird 16 years ago on the breeding gorunds in Northern Iceland.
Sveri with his best friend!
Sean and I also managed to fit in some birding at Leighton Moss, Marshside and Fleetwood with some nice rarities seen including 3 Snow Geese and a cracking male Ring-necked Duck.
It was also nice for me to see the likes of Nuthatch, Marsh Tit and Bullfinch - species which don't occur on the Isle of Man.
A great few days with a great pal meeting some great new friends! Thanks to Sean and Gillian for their superb photos too!
It was another good month with over 300 new birds ringed. There were good numbers of finches ringed with 50 Chaffinch, 35 Siskin and 15 Lesser Redpoll. We also ringed singles of Wintering Blackcap and Chiffchaff, equalling the totals caught in January for these two species of warbler.
We have received some interesting recoveries from the lastest batch sent to us from the BTO this week with 2 Goldfinch caught by other ringers in North West England and a Siskin found dead in the West Midlands.
Maps for the 3 birds are shown below - click on the markers to reveal the info/dates etc.