Saturday, 20 February 2010

Low-key ringing

Heysham Obs
What is the difference between a Dunnock and a Robin with respect to surviving a hard winter? OK, Robins are aggressive and do not like other birds at the feeder but others usually get a look in at some time or other and reasonable numbers are 'usually' caught in the single feeder net at Heysham. Indeed, there is usually very little difference between the numbers of Dunnock and Robin caught at the feeding station. Dunnocks do average up to 5 grams heavier, but the size and eating habits would seem basically similar.

Seven 2-3 hour mist net sessions at the feeder since the damagingly cold spell finished in mid-January has produced the following different individuals:
11 Dunnock
14 Long-tailed Tit
3 Robin
1 Wren

Breeding season data will undoubtedly determine whether Robins have really been clobbered or whether they have simply moved. In this respect, there is little evidence of any scattered around the nature reserve. The Long-tailed Tit survival and presumed relationship with regular attendance at the feeder is notable for here, but simply following the national trend

Ringing by the office
Back to today - a "record" six retrap Dunnock was the 'highlight' along with another unringed Long-tailed Tit

However, this was at the expense of a good look at the sea at low tide before the fog rolled in

Middleton IE
Iced up again: Pheasant, 4 Mute Swan, 14 Coot, 3 Moorhen, 2 Teal, 3 Goldeneye, 15 Mallard, 3 Pochard (2 males), one Little Grebe

North harbour wall
Med Gull - 2 adults on the railings - these birds have been very reliable of late at/near high tide - one Czech ringed (metal above the knee right leg)
Dead offshore at high tide, as it has been recently & no Twite (noisy anglers & several dogs)

The usual lack of sightings in this area in the public domain on Saturday!