Thursday 30 July 2015

Portstewart Strand 30/07/2015 - Kingfishers - Goldfinch Control Details

This morning I arrived on site at 06.45 in fair conditions.  It started overcast, with winds around 5mph from the NW and it was 11°C.  The cloud broke and it heated up through the morning, with temperatures hitting 18°C on departure at 12.00, in full sunshine.  I did get caught out with one short shower but it didn't last long.  I operated the Gorse nets and East Ride. 

A juvenile Lesser Redpoll minus the red

In terms of singing birds it seemed to be quiet but there were more fledglings chirping in the scrub.  The usual flocks of Lesser Redpoll, Linnet and Starlings were flying about to and fro, with a few Goldfinches also.  The Sedge Warblers seem to have finished breeding and are now starting to move around the site.  Again the flies were a real problem with hundreds of house flies following me about.  I'm not sure how I stick it out as they really drive me mad. 
Todays entertainment came in the form of a Red Fox trying to catch roosting gulls and waders on the far side of the estuary.  It came very close to 3 Lapwing (the first since Spring) but for the next hour or two, it had little success.  It was the standard butterfly selection on offer plus some Cinnabar moths added to the mix.  The Orchids are mostly finished now, but the Sea Aster is in full flower along the estuary shore and the blackberries are nearly here.  

The Belgian Sedge Warbler

The catch was steady through the morning with the gorse nets taking the majority of the birds, which has become the norm.  The best bird of the morning goes to the control Sedge Warbler bearing a Belgian ring.  This is my first foreign control and the second non-local control for the ringing site.  I had a little trouble reading the writing on the ring but I was confident I could read Brussels/Bruxelles.  Hopefully the number of Warblers will increase over the next month as the locals start to move about and the passage migrants stop over.  

Ringing Totals 30/07/2015
                                        New        Retrap        Control         
Blackbird                                            1
Blackcap                            2 
Bullfinch                             1              1
Dunnock                            3              3              
Lesser Redpoll                   5     
Linnet                                 5
Meadow Pipit                     2
Reed Bunting                     1
Sedge Warbler                   2                                 1                
Willow Warbler                  2                                                    
Wren                                  2

Total                                25                5               1 
Yesterday (29/07/2015) I met up with Ken and Nick who were doing a bit of river ringing on the River Rhee near Macosquin.  After all the heavy rain, the rivers and streams were high and quite discoloured.    The target species were Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Kingfishers and it was a Dipper that appeared first but it bounced from the net.  The next bird stuck and it was a female Kingfisher, which was a first for Nick.
We then moved up river to another location and again caught one Kingfisher; this time a brilliantly blue male.  It's not often that Kingfisher is the only species caught, with Dipper being much more common. 
Kingfisher (female)
I often find that the river species move about in high water to find food.  In general the Dippers were absent and I presume they move upstream to find shallower water in which to feed.  We didn't see any Grey Wagtails, which seem to find their way to ponds, puddles and other standing water.  The Kingfishers on the other hand seem to move off the main over-deep rivers and come into the smaller rivers and streams, which helped us today. 
Kingfisher (male)
I have also received information from the BTO about a Goldfinch that I controlled in the garden back on the 3rd of March 2015.  The bird had been ringed at the Calf of Man Bird Observatory, on the Isle of Man, on the 16th of April 2014.  The distance moved is 164 km, 321 days apart.  Of the three Goldfinches controlled in my garden, this is the second from the Calf of Man BO.
The conditions look favourable tonight for a Storm Petrel session and we should be in peak season for birds passing the shore at Rinnagree Point.
  The guys in Donegal did persevere into Sunday and attempted to ring at Malin Beg and were rewarding with another Leach's Petrel, although only another 18 Storm Petrels.   

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