Friday 29 March 2019

Slow Start to 2019

The first three months of 2019 have been a slow one on the ringing front with seemingly continually bad weather any time we have some availability. Ringing at exposed coastal sites presents lots of problems with wind, usually some 10+ mph stronger than in Coleraine.

We haven't been totally idle and did manage three visits to Castlerock Golf Club and a single session at my work place in Magilligan.


The visits at Castlerock took place on the 5th Jan, 19th Jan and 24th Feb producing 41 new birds and eight retraps.

Species   New Retrap Total
Blackbird           5 1 3
Blackcap 1 1
Blue Tit 5 2 7
Bullfinch 7 4 11
Chaffinch 4 4
Dunnock 2 1 3
Fieldfare 5 5
Greenfinch 4 4
Robin 1 1
Song Thrush 6 1 5
Wren 1 1
Totals 41 9 45


The run of Fieldfares continued with another five, taking us to nine for the winter at the site. I still reckon we could up this substantially with a bit more tweaking and effort but certainly a big improvement. Another wintering Blackcap is always nice and it continued to a bumper winter for Song Thrushes.

Song Thrush

Magilligan Field Centre

I haven't touched on my work place previously but I work at the Magilligan Field Centre where I had been feeding the birds through the early winter. The facility is set amongst improved farmland on the flat lands of Magilligan and has a decent number of trees and hedges around the perimeter.

The main lure is the wintering flock of Tree Sparrows which also breed here in sealed nest boxes around the small nature garden.

Tree Sparrow

I have been doing the odd bit of ringing here and there through the autumn/winter up until the 4th of January catching 166 new birds and 48 retraps.

New Retrap

Blackbird 7 2
Blue Tit 14 12
Chaffinch 41 4
Coal Tit 2 4
Dunnock 1 1
Goldcrest 3
Goldfinch 37 4
Great Tit 8 8
Greenfinch 5 1
HouseSparrow 18 3
Pied Wagtail 1
Robin 7 3
Song Thrush 1
Starling 1
Tree Sparrow 17 3
Wren 3 3
166 48


I was particularly pleased with the number of Tree Sparrows and also the House Sparrows, a species I don't ring all that often. I had intended to continue feeding in to the mid-late winter but I let it slip. I did have the odd Lesser Redpoll and Siskin begin to visit but once the nyjer disappeared so did they. In the snowy conditions we had Fieldfare, Redwing, Skylark and Snipe all appear in the grounds but no attempts were made to catch them.

House Sparrow

Pied Wagtail

Spring looks to have arrived finally and so too has our drive to get out ringing (I hope). With the loss of our main site at Portstewart Strand we will need to do a bit of testing out to get a proper migration site up and running.

No comments:

Post a Comment