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Monday, November 21, 2005

Ringing Blog - Eskmeals

Saturday 19th I was collected before dawn by friends Ken Hindmarch, Jack Sheldon and John Pearson for a ringing session at the Ministry of Defence land at Eskmeals, adjacent to the Esk estuary, just south of Ravenglass. The area comprises mature sand dunes extensively colonised by Sea Buckthorn (now laden with their golden-yellow berries), supplemented by planted pine trees.
Arriving to a frosty first light, hundreds of thrushes, Blackbirds, Song Thrushes, Redwings and Fieldfares,

John, Ken and Jack (seated)
were vacating their their roost sites to commence feeding on the buckthorn berries. With nets soon unfurled we were quickly among the birds and amassed an excellent catch of 130 of 15 species (18 Bullfinches; 16 Robins; 14 Blackbirds; 12 Redwings; 11 each of Chaffinch, Blackcap and Song Thrush; 8 Dunnocks; 3 Goldcrests, GreatTits, Coal Tits and Fieldfares; 2 Greenfinches; and one each of Mistle Thrush, Reed Bunting, Blue Tit and Great Spotted Woodpecker).

It was particularly remarkable that we caught each of the five over-wintering British thrush species - Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare, the Mistle Thrush being especially unusual to catch. Notable too were the 11 Blackcaps, a species which is normally considered a summer visitor but which is becoming increasingly common as an over-wintering warbler species. The picture is of a Mistle Thrush.
Sunday morning (20 Nov) was spent supervising ringing trainee Jenny Holden, working in her garden at Ulverston. Jenny is the UK Conservation Officer at the World Owl Trust, Muncaster, and is already qualified to ring owls.

Jenny Holden extracting a Chaffinch from a mist net

Ringing birds that are attracted to feeders in gardens is not necessarily part of a particular project but useful information about survival and longevity may nevertheless be obtained from such data. Moreover it provides useful training experience for Jenny to extend her ringing qualifiacations. We ringed some 20 birds, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Chaffinches and Greenfinches, Robins, Dunnocks and Blackbirds.


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