Sunday, 25 November 2007

WeBS, ringing and birding

An interesting weekend in all... Dog-sitting for a colleague meant I had chance to trot round a fairly unwatched part of Devon in search of some birds for the Atlas - no great excitement, but a handful of typical woodland species including Marsh Tit and Nuthatch, with Redwing much in evidence in the evening.

The afternoon was spent in a largely bird-free Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) count on the Exe, where the main excitement was finding a nice juvenile Great Northern Diver on the estuary - unfortunately outside our count area. A sprinkling of waders included a very few Black-tailed Godwit, handful of Turnstone and a nice quartet of Greenshank. Best of the wildfowl were about 70 dark-bellied Brent Geese, travellers from the area round the Taimyr peninsula in Russia which winter in quite reasonable numbers on the Exe.

After dropping the dog back at its home, I then hoicked up a substantial amount of netting in the orchard at the end of our road to try and catch some of the thrushes which have been gorging on the windfalls...

Toady (Sunday) saw me up and out by 6.45 to open the nets, in order to leave the site as quiet as possible for the arrival of the thrushes. The first check was just about what I'd hoped for: half a dozen each of Blackbird and Fieldfare, followed up by a rather mixed bag of parids, finches and a Song Thrush - first I've ringed in the village. Now just hoping to get a decent recovery or control from one or more of these wintering birds!

Fieldfare gets it's own back... The unfortunate hands belong to Judith. This was the one adult male we caught; the rest being an adult female, 2 juvenile males, a juvenile female and an unaged female which was probably an adult. Really interesting to see a bird we don't often have chance to catch - lucky to have an orchard that could almost be tailored for ringing!

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