If you go down to the woods today…

…you might be slightly disappointed!

For me, an integral part of ringing is nest recording, and I have a small Pied flycatcher study with 60 nest boxes. Today I made my first check of the year to assess what the timing of the season is going to be like as it can vary quite a bit from year to year. I like to get a first egg laying date for all my boxes for all species; usually just Blue tit, Great tit and Pied flycatcher.  I thought it was a little early but it was possible that I would have one or two nests with Great tit eggs.  It was not to be – although I had a couple of tit nests fully lined.

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Bird Ringing Demonstration at Kielder, 9 April 2016

Get up close to different species of songbirds during our bird ringing demonstration this Saturday, 9 April at Kielder Castle from 11am to 3pm. This is part of Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s Osprey Day with many other activities including a guided osprey walk, crafts and lots more.

If you want to find out more about how and why we catch birds and ring them, please come along! The ringing demonstration is suitable for all ages and free to attend.

Image by Ian Fisher

Little Egret from Newark to Lindisfarne

We were out and about at Lindisfarne, on 3rd Feb this year, and me being ‘new fangled’ with my new camera and lens kit was taking pictures of everything. Along the Causeway, a Little Egret was feeding in the salt marsh creeks (as had been most of the winter) so I drew alongside in my car and ‘rattled off a series of shots’. It wasn’t until I got home and was processing images on my computer that I realised that this bird was colour-ringed. Continue reading

Hauxley Rains

The winter of 2015/16 has seen large amounts of rainfall across much of the UK and Northumberland (inc. Hauxley) has had its fair share!

A day or two before 13th January, I received a phone call from Geoff of the Village to let me know the hut was about to be flooded, in case we had anything of value that needed to be moved! I knew Martin was working a little further up the coast so rang him and asked him to go and have a look as Geoff had also said the gardens and wood were also flooded and that he’d had to canoe the track by A trap to visit his Chickens at the top of the gardens!

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Little Owl Boxes

Adult little owlIn 2013 Steve and I were informed by Mike Carr of some little owl boxes that had been put up a few years back but not regularly checked. So, this seemed like a great opportunity for a nest box scheme. It just so happens that the boxes are only a few minutes from Steve’s house near Stocksfield in Northumberland.

In order to check the boxes we first had to find them. We were told there were about six, so with rough directions we set out to find them and after a little while we did. Fortunately these ones were all on level ground not like the Dipton boxes. All boxes were in good condition and we could tell they had been used in the past. The boxes are all situated in field boundary trees.

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Northumbria Ringing Group – Mute Swan Ringing RAS

AdultThe North East Swan Study Group, now part of Northumbria Ringing Group, have ringed Mute Swans in the Northumberland, Tyneside and Durham area since the late 1980s. Currently, the study covers an area from Amble and Warkworth in Northumberland, south into County Durham and west to Bolam and Belsay.

Every summer we catch and ring breeding swans and their cygnets as well as individual birds in the established summer moult flocks. In the winter we ring any birds that arrive at the winter flock sites. Ringing Mute Swans help us to study their movement, breeding biology and regional population.

All birds are caught by hand using a little feed to bring them close enough. Once caught, the swans are quickly ringed, aged, sexed and released again.

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From Get Carter to The French Connection – Gateshead Kittiwake dispersal to Northern France

Kittiwakes in Boulogne-Sur-Mer by Jean-Michel SauvageSince the Summer of 2003, members of the Northumbria Ringing Group (NRG) have ringed Kittiwake pulli, and adult birds at the purpose built nesting tower in Gateshead. The ringing is kindly facilitated by Gateshead Council who provide access to the colony via a cherrypicker.

The initial brief was to investigate if birds displaced from the Baltic Flour Mill, as it was developed as an Arts Centre, were using the tower. With nine birds originally ringed at “The Baltic” subsequently recorded at the tower early in the study, this successful displacement appeared to be proven. The study continues to monitor productivity at the site and any subsequent dispersal.

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