Sunday 19 November 2017

Copeland Bird Obs Winter Training - November 2017

I've been slacking once again and not updated the blog in a month but we have been a little idle over the past three/four weeks down to weekend weather and lack of free time. My last time out, until today, was back on the 27th of October at Portstewart Strand, so we really missed out on the thrush passage.

This morning Steve, David and I were up in Antrim for the first Copeland Bird Observatory training session of the winter. We ring here once a month Nov-Mar outside the Obs season to give the trainees a little more experience and to handle some new species. We had a good mix of 5 trainees, 3 C and 3 A permit holders.
The feeding station was really quiet with not a Goldfinch in sight and very few thrushes but we still processed over 100 birds.
The wild bird seed plot produced half the haul from two well placed nets.
The best bird of the morning was the first Blackcap for the site and 28 new Linnets is a great catch.


Antrim Ringing Totals - 19/11/2017
                             New       Retraps
Blackcap                1
Blue Tit                  6              2
Chaffinch              17             5
Coal Tit                  4              1
Dunnock                2              1
Goldcrest               8
Great Tit                 1               2
Lesser Redpoll      5
Linnet                    28              1
Long-tailed Tit      10
Robin                     7
Wren                      3

Totals                   92              12        

Initial signs are that it was a bad year for Blue and Great Tits. This time last year we caught 14 Greti but just one juvenile today. The Blue Tit catch was also low and only 3 of the 8 were juveniles. There were a few Blackbirds around but not feeding on the fruit trees just yet. We caught 27 new Blackbirds in the first two visits of last winter. A cold snap and a touch of frost would help the next catch!

Long-tailed Tits

Although we had planned to carry on at Portstewart Strand for a few more visits, it turns out that the 27th of October was the final visit of the season. I was down by myself in mild sunny conditions with some light northerlies. As I sit now I don't remember all that much about the day but I did catch 34 new birds. The total was heavily boosted by Linnets with 17 new birds.

Portstewart Strand 27/10/2017                            
                             New         Retrap
Blackbird               2                        
Blue Tit                  1      
Bullfinch                2                2
Chaffinch               4
Goldcrest               2                2 

Goldfinch               1
Great Tit                 1      
Dunnock                                  1  
Linnet                    17
Robin                                       1         
Song Thrush         1

Wren                      3

Totals                    34              6         


John was out on the 2nd  of November at the University River Site and over a few hours caught 23 new birds including 12 Long-tailed Tits and a Blackcap.

We were all up at the BTO Northern Ireland Birdwatchers Conference last Saturday at Oxford Island and thoroughly enjoyed the range of talks with plenty of focus on ringing, migration and talks on Ireland's two bird observatories!

I will follow up with the end of season totals for Portstewart Strand in the next month or so. As for now it should be back to Castlerock but I have been saying that for a few weeks and not made it out the door! There has been no sign of the usual winter thrushes feeding on the Sea Buckthorn berries but it is early doors yet. I have prepared the net rides at Castlerock but other than that, we don't have any real plans for the winter and have yet to set up any feeders but will find other bits and pieces to keep us busy.

27m net ride at Castlerock

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