Thursday, 6 July 2017

CES Visit 5 18/6/2017

Visit 5 produced our first Juvenile Treecreepers' of the season although we hadn't seen or heard any adults in our previous sessions we knew that they must be around as it seems we haven't failed on catching any in the last few years, it was Visit 5 in 2016 that we also caught our first Juv Treec, that day last year only produced the one, this year we caught 5 juv in this session, great to see that they've all survived our very wet June long enough to fledge. We also caught our first juvenile Coal Tit's of the year.  A returning Chiffchaff that was ringed as a Juvenile in June 2015 was the first re-capture of this bird, did we miss it in 2016 or did it breed somewhere else?


One of 5 Treecreepers caught today


Species Total New Retraps
Blackcap
3
1
Blackbird
1

Blue Tit
3

Bullfinch
1

Chiffchaff
4
4
Coal Tit
2

Goldcrest

1
Goldfinch
1

Great Tit
1

Robin
3

Treecreeper
5

Willow Warbler
1
1
Wren
1
3
13 Species
26
10

We managed to catch 36 birds this visit compared to 34 in 2016



Monday, 3 July 2017

Leith Dock Terns

A successful trip was undertaken to the Leith Dock ternery to count common tern nests and to ring chicks during the visit on Saturday 17 June. A total of 995 nests were recorded in the main colony, with an additional ten on a separate jetty; amounting to a record total of 1005 apparently occupied nests (AONs). This is the highest count on record and is a large increase on last year with 720 AONs. 103 common tern chicks were ringed during the brief visit. (All photos Carmen & Euan Ferguson).
Ringing in the colony. Hard hats and hi-vis are required by the Ports Authority

The colony on the 'island' pier

John Davies closely monitors the colony, he organised and led the trip and captained the LRG dinghy!

Leaving the colony.

Huge thanks to John Davies for organising everything surrounding the session and to the team Laura, Carmen and Euan.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

CES Visit 4 04/06/2017

If this years visit 4 was going to be a repeat of last years then we all thought it would hardly be worth setting our nets up.

As we arrived on site we began to reminisce about the 11 birds that we caught in the 6 hours we were there in 2016. However, the optimistic bunch that we are we started to quickly decide prior to erecting our nets how many birds we would manage to catch to-day, it was like we had just joined in with an auction rather than a ringing session. 10 soon became 15, 15 soon became 20, 20 then became 30, I'm sure this was to be the highest bid before setting the nets up, we decided we would be more than happy if we managed to catch 30.

Mark O'Brien used to be one of the regular ringers on this site, it was Mark who took the initiative and decided to turn this site into a Constant Effort. In 2007 we helped Mark set up the nets in the position where 6 of them are still sited to this day, he initially set up this CES prior to his work with Birdlife International relocating him to Fiji in 2010, no we weren't at all envious of his relocation as we were now left this site to look after!!! In 2011 we added a seventh net and to date we still use 7 nets. 

To-day we welcomed Mark back, he was back for an annual holiday and just couldn't resist the temptation of an early morning rise to head out and help with the huge amount of birds that would gracing our nets?  Mark must have brought some good luck along with him, this was to turn out to be our best catch of the season so far with 42 birds caught,  31 birds more than last year and our first juvenile birds were also caught, 2 weeks earlier than last year. Mark has now returned to Fiji so we'll wait and see what visit 5 brings in.
Mark letting us know how terrible our catch rate was until his arrival today

Our first Juvenile Chiffchaff of the year
Species Total Retraps
Blackbird
2
2
Blue Tit
2
2
Bullfinch
1

Chaffinch
2
2
Chiffchaff
15
5
Dunnock
5
4
Goldfinch
2

Robin
6
1
Whitethroat
1

Willow Warbler
4
4
Wren
2
1
11 Species
42
21

Our best catch of the season so far, lets hope it continues.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

CES Visit 3 21/05/2017

I must admit it was a slight struggle when the alarm went off at 04:15 this morning, I suppose in comparison to some CES this might be regarded as a long lay in. 3 of us completed this visit. Again no surprise our first round of the day produced 3 birds Robin, Blackcap and a bird that hasn't let us down so far for being caught on the first round, Chiffchaff, a returning female that had been aged and ringed as an adult on visit 2 in May 2016.

Our lowest catch so far this season with 26 birds caught, in terms of birds caught this visit equaled what we had caught in 2016.

Although not too busy with the amount of birds we were catching in the nets, in between rounds we were kept occupied with ringing broods of chicks in our on site nest boxes.


In between net rounds


Species Total Retraps
Blackbird 4 2
Blackcap 3

Blue Tit 1 1
Chiffchaff 3 3
Coal Tit 1 1
Dunnock 2 1
Goldcrest 1 1
Robin 4 3
Willow Warbler 2 1
Whitethroat 4 2
Wren 1 1
11 Species 26 16

CES Visit 2 13/05/2017

Visit 2 kicked off in the fashion that we are pretty much used to, with the first round of the morning catching 1 bird, again it was a Chiffchaff, a returning adult female caught in net 1. The second net round was a little more productive with 10 birds caught, our first Whitethroat of the season was caught amongst them, we managed to go on and catch another 3 Whitethroat throughout our 2nd visit, coincidentally it was visit 2 last year that also produced our first Whitethroat of the season. 21 birds were caught on visit 2 last year with 31 caught this year.

Species Total Retraps
Blackbird 1

Blackcap 1

Blue Tit 3 2
Chiffchaff 4 3
Goldcrest 3 3
Long tailed Tit 2 2
Robin 4 4
Song Thrush 1

Willow Warbler 2

Whitethroat 4

Wren 4 1
11 Species 29 15

CES Visit 1 29/04/17

Constant Effort Site


CES season is now upon us again, back to the early morning rises to carry out 12 visits to our site throughout Spring/Summer.

The Constant Effort Sites Scheme aims to gather information, which will help to explain bird population changes, through a programme of standardised summer mist-netting at sites in specific habitats. A series of standard net-sites are used to gather trapping data. It is important that the net positions and the number and type (i.e. length, height and mesh) of nets remain constant for each visit in both initial and subsequent years. 

We arrived on site for 05.15hrs and quickly erected our 340m of mist nets, we have seven lanes around our site 3 x 60m & 4 x 40m. 

Our first round of the morning isn't usually too productive, in previous years we're lucky to catch anything between 1-5. However, this morning was more than productive with our first net round totalling 14 birds. Our first 2 birds out of net 1 were returning Chiffchaff of which one was ringed as a juvenile in August 2015, we were now able to sex this bird as a male. Another which was first ringed in June 2016 as an adult female, it looks like these two could be paired up, hopefully we will catch some of their offspring this year and subsequent years.
Our first returning Chiffchaff of the season (W.E)

Also in the same net round we caught 2 new Bullfinch, she had a brood patch which would indicate that they are both breeding on site, this lets us know how important our site is for breeding birds, not only returning migrants but also for our local breeders. 




SpeciesTotalRetraps
Blackbird21
Blackcap4

Blue Tit11
Bullfinch2
Chiffchaff95
Dunnock42
Goldcrest2

Long tailed Tit22
Robin52
Song Thrush1

Willow Warbler2

Wren53
12 Species3916

Our first net round wasn't equalled throughout our morning but we did end our first visit of the season with 39 birds

Wednesday, 21 December 2016


The following is about winter ringing of farmland birds around Gifford in East Lothian. We have been posting reports of our winter ringing on BirdForum in the Bird Ringing and Banding forum for many years. 

and the reports are in threads titled Ringing near Gifford … , with a new thread started each winter.

Our project has aimed to gather information on farmland bird populations in this area. We have been ringing on three farms at different types of feed source aimed at providing food to granivorous birds. We only ring at two of those farms now.

2016 winter's ringing session's started in October. To read all 10 that have taken place so far this winter you can also follow this link.