Friday 24 July 2015

23/07/2015 Garden Ringing & Sand Martin - Visit Three

This mornings session was in Kens garden, beside the University and he had invited one of his restricted C permit holders down from Belfast, to do some training.  The weather was cloudy, dry and a little breezy but the garden is fairly sheltered.  Ken feeds throughout the year, but much reduced in summer, from c 12 larger mixed feeders in winter to 2 seed feeders.  There are plenty of finches visiting the garden and they empty the feeders each day.

Rook - I wasn't on the ball with pictures today, so here is one from February last year

The catch through the morning was steady and kept the three of us busy, plus we managed to resolve yet another problem on IPMR!!  The best birds of the day were the 2 Rooks but they also carried two flat flies each, which decided to find a new host.  Three were caught and dispatched, the fourth remains unaccounted for...  Fifteen Chaffinch was also good and it was interesting to see juvenile Chaffinches, as I tend not to catch the species until the autumn. 

Species               Total (new+ retraps)
Chaffinch             15
Goldfinch              5
Dunnock                3
Robin                     3
Great Tit               3
Blue Tit                 4
Coal Tit                 3
Rook                      2
Total                     38
Sand Martin - Visit Three
We finished off around midday and headed up to Macfin for the third and final visit to the Sand Martin colony of the year.  I arrived first and set up the usual 12 + 6 metre nets and let the birds gather.  The number of birds has greatly reduced from the c300 birds in mid June to perhaps 60/70 this afternoon.  This is of course expected, as the birds move on, once their young have flown the nest (burrow).  The conditions weren't fantastic, with sunshine and a breeze, making the nets very obvious from 60 metres away.  In the hour that we stayed, we caught a total of 21 birds, of which 11 were retraps (9 from this year and 2 from last year).    
For the season we managed to catch  128 new birds and only 8 retraps from last year.  I am very disappointed with the number of birds re-caught from the 144 ringed last year.  I had perhaps hoped to start a RAS (Retrapping adults for survival) but you require a minimum of 30 birds to be re-caught from previous years.  Maybe next year, with potentially 272 birds bearing rings, we might have more success.
Again apologies for the lack of pictures but here are a few shots from last weekend, taken at the Umbra Nature Reserve managed by Ulster Wildlife.


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