Sunday, 31 January 2010

Otley Gravel Pits

I walked in this morning to the sound of 200 Curlew taking flight from their roost and a pair of Mute Swans shattering a thin layer of ice that had formed over night.

Met up with Andy and Sean - No luck with Water Rail or Reed Bunting so we moved round to the feeders where we caught about 30 birds including Chaffinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Bullfinch.

Traps are set at Bishop Monkton tonight so hopefully I’ll have something to report tomorrow!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A slow start at Bishop Monkton

For the first time this year we put the nets up at our Bishop Monkton site. It was a quiet day with only 4 new birds and a few retraps. Our best retrap being a male Reed Bunting that we ringed on 28 March 2005 – Making this bird 5 years old.

On a walk around our site we managed to flush out Woodcock, Snipe and Jack Snipe. Later in the week we may have a go a trying to catch a few.

4 New birds and (9) retraps – Dunnock 1(8), Goldfinch 3, Reed Bunting (1).

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Boom time

Today I met Andy, Shaun and Ian down Otley Gravel Pits. We had no luck in trapping the Water Rail or Red Kites that were around. However, all was not lost as we got to see the Bittern that’s been there this week – At around midday it flew over our heads and then spent about 30 minutes sitting about 40ft up a distant tree.

We also erected a mist net a the side of the track and caught a small number of birds including Robin, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch and Goldfinch.

Saturday, 16 January 2010

2009 Totals

Six months ago today I ringed my first bird - 3J Sand Martin. Since then I've learnt alot about birds, made a number of new friends along the way and recently become an IPMR expert. Below are my 2009 totals for our Bishop Monkton site.

New Birds


Tawny Owl1


Sand Martin6


Meadow Pipit21

Pied/White Wagtail2






Song Thrush29


Grasshopper Warbler5

Sedge Warbler43

Reed Warbler13

Lesser Whitethroat6


Garden Warbler12



Willow Warbler44


Long-tailed Tit4

Blue Tit11

Great Tit11




Tree Sparrow15





Lesser Redpoll34



Reed Bunting21

Grand Total:939

Total Species:39

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Gone skiing

While I haven’t been ringing this week (to busy skiing) I did get chance to fill the smaller feeders up at our site; they’ve taken quite a hit recently. Amongst the birds still around were numerous Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer - Dave’s heading down with the tractor tomorrow to fill the larger grain feeders so hopefully we’ll get the weather to ring the birds I saw in the next few weeks.

The big freeze continues to draw birds to our towns and cities; ticks for my garden and work (Leeds centre) this week included the occasional Fieldfare and now frequent Redwing.

Nyjer Feeders (A Smith)

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Buzzards, Red Kites and Carrion Crows

Out with Andy and Shaun today trying to trap Buzzards or Red Kites - The Buzzards just flew past, the Red Kites sat in trees and the Carrion Crow snacked on our rabbit without triggering the trap!