15th – 17th March – Holton Lee, Canford Heath and various other ringing activities   Leave a comment

On the 15th John Dowling and I ringed at Holton Lee, we trapped about 25 birds but 15 of them were re-traps. As spring proceeds wintering flocks are breaking up and birds are dispersing to breeding areas. Even so we were able to ring a nice male Siskin and new Great Spotted Woodpecker. The latter was extracted from the net, placed in a bag and hung over the back of a wooden chain as usual manner, then to our amusement we heard a loud tapping as it pecked at the wood of the chair through the bag!

Blue Tits are by far the commonest bird at the Holton Lee feeders ..........

..... but Coal Tits are regular visitors.

Ageing first year Blue Tits is easy based on the contrast between greenish-blue primary coverts and blue greater coverts......

..... this contrast is present but much harder to see on a first year Coal Tit.

In this feature, Great Tits are intermediate between the two, but this bird was unusually grey and the contrast in the wing on this first year bird was clearly visible.

Although this bird was unusually grey it did demonstrate typical tit aggression.

By spring first year male Blackbirds have developed adult plumage but contrast between moulted black and unmoulted brown feathers in the wing allow them to be aged.

The lack of a red nape identifies this Great Spotted Woodpecker as a female. Unlike most birds woodpeckers are very vocal in the hand and can be quite deafening!

The most attractive bird ringed this morning was this male Siskin.



On the 16th I joined Terry at his ringing site on Canford Heath. This small patch of scrub has proved quite productive and we ringed some 17 birds and 11 re-traps.  Most interestingly we captured a ‘control’ Reed Bunting that we have since heard was ringed at Longham on the 30th September last year. A very feisty Magpie was an unusual capture and left Terry with multiple cuts on his hands.


Terry's fingers suffer as he rings this feisty bird.

A Magpie's bill is a formidable weapon.

The dark face might lead you to believe that this is a male Reed Bunting abrading into breeding plumage, but the shape of the black in the crown feathers, the lack of a white collar and the wing length all go to prove it is a female.



On the 17th Shaun and I went to to Durlston and put the poles and guys in place for the forthcoming ringing season. In the evening the ringing group AGM was held at our house. Of the 17 in the group, 15 attended, it was a bit of a squash but everyone squeezed into our conservatory. We covered a lot of issues and made plans for the future and it was nice to meet up with several members who I haven’t seen in quite a long time.




Posted March 18, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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