Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Colourful Tits!

As part of my dissertation project, I am exploring the territorial behaviour of Blue Tits when it comes to collecting nesting material. I am doing this by placing 10 differently coloured sheep wool samples in 10 territories.
As a control, to ensure that there is no colour-preference where certain colours are not used because of their brightness, or association with other materials, I have placed small samples of all 10 colours - Light Blue, Dark Blue, Yellow, Red, Pink, Lilac, Black, Brown, Green, Orange.
The Blue Tit photographed above has already used the wool (even though it's only March 28th!) and has taken Brown, Orange, Yellow, Pink and Red from the samples.

I literally can't wait to both start my Atherton Woods experiments, and to also check the next box in my neighbour's garden at the end of the season to see the psychedelic lining! 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Brockholes Wetland NR LWT - 26th March 2012

 My first visit back to Brockholes NR LWT this morning and it did not disappoint! Upon arrival at 07.30, I locked eyes onto a large bird of prey flying over the motorway towards the new quarry workings on the west side of the motorway. The flight style of the bird instantly got my heart racing and as I put my scope on the bird, it was evident that I was watching my first Brockholes Marsh Harrier! What a cracking bird!
 Small Tortoiseshell
Lots of migrants were about today with 6 Little Ringed Plover, 15 Sand Martin, 25+ Chiffchaff, passage Meadow Pipits and Redpolls.
In addition, a Knot and 2 Dunlin on No1 pit were very nice and the former is a species I always try and see at Brockholes when they turn up. The Dunlin were new in, which was a bonus as again, these are one of my favourite birds to turn up at Brockholes.
Butterflies seemed to be out enjoying the sun, with Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells all waking up after their long winter sleep.
 Mink - This Mink was seen near to the weir on the Ribble at the east of the site and was on show for 2 minutes allowing decent scope views, but too far for a decent record shot.
Little Ringed Plover

Sunday, 25 March 2012

First of the migrants!

 My first traditional summer migrants have now been seen in North Wales with a plethora of singing Chiffchaff, stop-off Wheatears on the Orme, as well as much more resident species such as Redpoll, 'alba' wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Siskin and Goldcrest all moving over. Earlier in the week, I also did a did a raptor-scan from the harbour (accompanied by the above Rock Pipit), because the evening prior, I saw my earliest ever Osprey flying north over Bangor.  
 The Great Orme produced this fantasic male Black Redstart which is the first migrant of this plumage I have seen which was excellent! It was a very timid bird though and flushed even if you were 100 feet away, so we viewed from a distance and was to appreciate this fantastic bird. We sadly missed a male Ring Ouzel though which was a shame, as I love seeing early Rouzels!

I'm back in Preston now and at 18.08, I locked eyes onto my 2nd Osprey of the Spring, and it's only the 25th March! Incredible!
I will be back at Brockholes tomorrow with the intension of spotting more migrants including hirundines of which I am yet to see, even though it's almost April!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Dunnock on territory

Just a quick post today! I was at the Welsh Mountain Zoo today,  for a practical observing Chimpanzee behaviour for my Conservation Practise module which was fantastic! I was allowed to go for a quick wander around the zoo after the practical was finished and must have been near to this Dunnock's territory as he was going mental singing away, allowing me to get a couple of pleasing photos.

Hope you enjoy these and please be patient with my lack of blogging. The Spring is in full swing now, so expect many a migrant post over the next few weeks!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Get your Woodcock Out!

I have finally got out with Chris WOODC Bridge and Rob Sandham lamping at Glanwydden Lane. Almost as soon as we entered the field, Chris got onto a Woodcock and within a few minutes, his net was descending onto the little beauty! Chris allowed me to ring it, which I was most grateful because I've never even seen a Woodcock on the ground, let alone in the hand! It appears that I timed the visit very well because previous visits have produced 17 Woodcock in the field alone, whereas tonight there was only 2, so they have nearly all moved off to their breeding grounds in Scandanavia.
Moving onto another site, we failed to see any more Woodcocks, but Chris hilariously managed to attract a Woodpigeon down from the top of a 50 foot tree! Very impressive!

A very enjoyable night and a big thanks to Chris for catching the birds and to Rob for doing the driving.

Stress relief in the form of House Sparrows! - 17th March 2012

I've not posted for so long! This is not because I've not been bothered to blog, but it is simply because I've not been out at all! My university work load has suddenly increased with my 3rd year project proposal etc. It was therefore very nice to get out early yesterday morning with Steve and Rachel at Arthur's farm near Caernarfon.

We caught 71 birds during the morning including - Great-spotted Woodpecker, Dunnock, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch and House Sparrow.

We caught 2 House Sparrow including a retrap, which I thought was pretty exciting because House Sparrows are very clever and can avoid the net with general ease. To caught a retrap was even better! Perhaps this was a slightly simpler House Sparrow! A really enjoyable morning and great to get out handling fantactic passerines. Can't wait to get back out!