12th – 21st of September – mainly ringing.   1 comment

Over the last week or so I’ve been ringing at various times, but done little else in birding terms.

On Wednesday 12th we tried ringing Swallows at Lytchett Bay, we only caught a few but at least we were all set up for an early morning visit on the 13th. I got up early the next day but was surprised to find I was the only one there. I started unfurling the nets, but became a bit concerned by the breeze. I finally checked my phone and found a message from Shaun at 0530 ‘too windy to ring, meet at 0700 to take down’. Well, I could have had another hour in bed, but whilst I waited for the others I saw a Pintail fly over, a rare visitor to the Bay, and an Osprey fishing in the channel.

After taking in the gear some of us reconvened at the more sheltered location of Paul Morton’s garden where we were able to ring close to 20 Goldfinches.

The morning of the 15th saw six of us go to Durlston. We had enough manpower to man both the Garden and the Goat Plots and it proved to be a very busy morning indeed. We ended up with 79 birds ringed at the Goat Plots and 205 in the Garden. Surprisingly exactly the same number of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs were caught, 118 of each (sounds like an advert for directory enquiries!). There was little variety, but we did ring two Grasshopper Warblers a few Whitethroats and Willow Warblers.

Sunrise at the Goat Plots, the last time that morning that there was time to stop and take photos.

This Chiffchaff’s tail has sheared along a fault bar. As mentioned before these fault bars occur when there is a severe shortage of nutrients when the birds are growing tail feathers in the nest. Heavy rain this summer would have produced these food shortages.

This dragonfly was photographed in Durlston garden as we were leaving. I know little about dragonfly identification, can anyone help me with the identification?


On the morning of the 17th Shaun and I had another go at ringing Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits at the Lytchett Bay maize filed. The maize is nowhere near as high as last year, when it was more than head height, this year it hardly comes up to my waist. We were able to improve on our experience of last week and ringed four Yellow Wags and one Tree Pipit, plus a Linnet and a few Chiffchaffs.


Early morning at Lytchett Bay



The stunted maize field, another victim of this summer’s unseasonal weather..


Yellow Wagtails and Tree Pipits sat on the wires above the maize field before dropping down into the crop.


Yellow Wagtails have declined notably and no longer breed in Dorset but they still can be seen on migration. The pale tips to the greater coverts show that this is a first year bird.



Along with Sean Walls and Mike Gould, I went ringing at Durlston on Friday 21st. I had hoped for a fairly short session as I still had to pack for my trip to Shetland but it was not to be. By the time Sean and Mike left for work at 0845 we had ringed over 60 birds, almost entirely Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, but there was plenty more to come. Blackcaps and Chiffs kept arriving, with the occasional Whitethroat. A Robin in complete juvenile plumage was a surprise for the latter half of September was a surprise. As the morning progressed huge numbers of hirundines arrived and I ringed about a hundred Swallows and House Martins plus a couple of Sand Martins. A total of 227 birds were ringed, I didn’t get away until about 3pm, much later than I had hoped for but it was a great experience. Lets hope we get a few recoveries from all those birds.


An adult Woodpigeon was an unexpected capture. I didn’t have time for photography later in the day.


And finally a couple of photos from home. I will be away visiting my friends Paul and Liz in Shetland for a couple of weeks, but hope to do some blog updates from there.


Grandmother and Auntie sort out Amber’s fringe.


Anita adopts a characteristic pose when texting.




Posted September 21, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

One response to “12th – 21st of September – mainly ringing.

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  1. Have fun in Shetland, Gryllo! I’ll have a real plan next week!

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