30 July 2013

Wandering Barn Owl

Barn Owls don't tend to go very far, so when I received a report today of a ringed bird just up the road at Ruan Minor (Lizard) that wasn't one of mine I was intrigued. 

It turns out that GC58243 had actually been ringed as a chick at Nanjizal (Penwith, in blue below) in June 2010, some 37km from Ruan Minor (in red below). With so much good Barn Owl habitat between Penwith and Lizard it's a bit surprising it made such a long journey, but that's the joy of ringing!

View Wandering Barn Owl in a larger map

24 July 2013

First Cornish Stock Doves ringed in 25 years

Yesterday we had a great CES morning at Gunwalloe, with 81 birds caught easily beating just 30 on the same visit last year! Good numbers of juvenile Sedge and Reed Warblers made up most of the catch, with three more very juvenile Stonechats new for some bisitonv ringers from up country. Amusement (for some) came in nearly losing our newest C-permit holder to the marsh...

We then mopped up some remaining Barn Owls, which have been about six weeks late this summer. Many birds have also given it a miss this year, presumably in too poor condition to breed, including this Newquay pair.

Other sites checked included an abandoned clutch of three eggs, one unused for the first time in 17 years and broods of just one or two. The highlight in Cornish terms though, was an adult Stock Dove with two big chicks - the first Stock Doves to be ringed in the county since 1988! In fact, the three birds doubled the total number ringed in the county since the 1970s!

18 July 2013

Not a Swallow

We've tried and failed at our first Swallow roosts this last week (at Gunwalloe), catching just a handful of birds. This did include a few Sand Martins and a Swallow we ringed at roost in July 2011 though, but the highlight for some was this rather smart (and very juvenile) Stonechat.

Our latest CES visit at the site was a bit more successful, with the 51 birds caught comparing well to 31 from the same visit last year. Lots of young Reed Warblers out now and also a few Sedge Warblers passing through, including a 'Fat 4' bird. Hopefully bodes well for the rest of the season...

8 July 2013

New moon Stormies and an old Kittiwake

The current new moon (and rare calm conditions for The Lizard!) gave us our second opportunity of the year to catch a few Storm Petrels. The night started a bit quiet, but by 2am (when Tony had left) things picked up and we ended the night at 3am with 79 new birds and a ringed bird which looks to be from Co Dublin.

When you catch a good number of Stormies there's always a few missing toes or feet and last night was no exception, with one footless bird and one missing a whole lower leg! Birds seem to do OK with bits missing (presumably nipped off by fish), so we ringed both birds on the good leg and away they went.

We also took advantage of the low tides a new moon brings to get into the zawn at Rinsey to colour ring a few more Kittiwakes. However, with so few birds actively breeding though this was never going to be easy, and most birds went out to loaf on the sea before we got close. Not all bad news though, as there's always been one metal-ringed bird in the colony that I've wanted to catch, but it was always a bit too high on the face. But with a bit of patience and effort we managed to catch this bird - originally ringed as a chick on Tresco, Isles of Scilly, in 1998! So this is now sporting a new colour ring (CC - below) and it'll be interesting to keep track of this bird from now on.

15-year-old 'CC', now a Rinsey resident

Only other birds of note were a couple of Shags ringed and a few more Herring Gulls also colour-ringed in addition to our urban birds.

5 July 2013

More urban gulls and a very Cornish surprise

Yesterday was spent catching up with the Rinsey Kittiwakes, but this didn't entirely go to plan. In perfect weather, the colony was worryingly quiet and a scan through produced a few sat birds but the only birds I could see on anything were three pairs on a total of four eggs! I know the season is a bit late, but compare this to 5th July last year when I counted 32 chicks, some of which were well on their way to fledging...

The only consolation was a very Cornish surprise on the way down to the site, barely viewable in this shockingly low-quality iPhone footage.

So further work abandoned we headed to Falmouth to mop up a few more roof-nesting gulls. This was marginally more successful, with an easy roof yielding 13 Herring Gulls of various sizes, but all big enough to now be sporting a colour ring.