Monday 28 January 2013

Woodcock to Norway !!

Our first Woodcock recovery, taken by a predatory bird 24th November 2012 in Southern Norway
I think only the 6th British ringed Woodcock reported from Norway (BTO data)
Caught with a lamp and hand net, and ringed on one of our upland pasture sites on 24th January 2011.
Hopefully from Wednesday night onwards we go back out to those hills......

Sunday 27 January 2013

Garden ringing...Wales to Costa Rica!

Saturday at home, and not only my first Siskin of the year, but our first Greenfinch control for the Group! We immediately knew when we caught it  that we had never used B rings of the TP0 series. Not knowing much about Greenfinch movement it will be interesting to find out where it was ringed.
As expected a great proportion of our birds caught were adults, further confirmation of a widespread poor breeding season. As mentioned on some other ringing blogs, Coal Tits are becoming more common.
Following the success in my garden, Richard, who not usually here in January ! made a first attempt at home with one 20 foot net in the garden.
 51 birds the total including 24 Siskins, so hopefully this too can develop as a site for keeping trainees active before our return to the main sites in the Spring.

Back to Costa Rica where we were used to catching rather bigger birds in gardens.
These Blue-crowned Motmots are commonly seen in  public gardens in San Jose. Richard caught this one at Inbioparque.
In Tortuguero one of the banding sites is in the grounds of a luxury hotel.  Rather nice to catch a Trogon here, this a female Black-throated Trogon.

Continuing the garden theme, some Blue and White Swallows were seen in the garden at our base up in the mountains coming out of their roost under the eaves every morning. With few ever ringed, it was good to catch one to record the moult pattern.

 At least when garden ringing in Wales we never come across monster spiders like this
 or four foot long fighting Iguanas!

Monday 21 January 2013

Garden ringing in 3 continents......

While most of the UK is blanketed by snow we were able to ring some birds in our milder climate in West Wales. Bullfinches have been flocking to the garden feeders and this was the 9th ringed this year.
 All have been good weights and look in great condition.

 A few Starlings added to the variety, being attracted by the fat balls.
 Photos never do justice to the glossy sheen but even in the hand the glossiness can't match the appropriately named "Beautiful Glossy Starlings" that we were ringing in Uganda this time last year in rather warmer weather.
With 3 House Sparrows ringed today, this years total is now six, more than doubling the group's four year total!
No picture of today's Sparrows but this a brighter species of Sparrow caught in our garden in the highlands of Costa Rica .
Rufous-collared Sparrow which were undergoing an unusual moult pattern which is still being studied.
More Costa Rica birds in the next blog.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Very long bills.....and tongues.

Last night...a Common Snipe caught. We don't often catch Snipe in our Woodcock pastures. Three Woodcock caught last night in the interesting weather !
 No snakes in the pastures either, see below .........

And from Costa Rica;-
This a Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, an aggressive species of hummer with the amount of red on the mandibles a guide to ageing, complimenting bill striations and also a guide to sexing.

This Keel-billed Toucan was in a middle shelf pocket !!........No surprise he got out and grasped the mist net bamboo to gloat .........

This a Vine Snake (I think) found in the grounds of our accomodation at the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
A harmless snake...more snakes to come........

Sunday 13 January 2013

From 30° to 3°... or below !

I'm back too, and no surprise for January -- 3 Woodcock my first birds caught !
This Prothonotary Warbler, a retrap was almost the last bird I caught in Costa Rica, one of the commonest wintering North American birds in the Caribbean coastal forests...
This Woodcock the first woodcock of 2013......hopefully a few more about with this cold weather..
.......more posts about Costa Rica soon.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

It's that time of year...

Our ringing data for 2012 is all entered on IPMR  (Total of 2,661 birds processed) so a chance now to reflect on the year. 
Follow the links for our controls and recoveries received so far and ringing totals.
Controls 2012
In previous years we have had many recoveries and controls of Sedge and Reed Warblers but new species for us this year are a Pied Flycatcher, Storm Petrel

Sand Martin, Cetti's Warbler and Oystercatcher.
Ringing Totals 2012 
New species ringed for the group last year included this rather photogenic Wryneck 
and a Snow Bunting
The total was well down despite similar effort mainly due to a very poor CES season with far less juveniles in comparison to previous years. See the interesting preliminary results for CES across the country on the BTO website here . This shows poor productivity across most species.

Wednesday 2 January 2013

The final Cano Palma

Just finished this morning's last banding session
- a second Pale-vented Thrush the highlight, this species had  not been caught in this lowland area before this trip.(photos when home)
An imm. male Ruddy Quail-Dove was nice too.

Just before we boat back for a few final days based at the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Tortuguero,15 mins from the crow's nest above the boat-dock
- the Sungrebe appeared again, making strange noises and had a strange wing-flicking motion as it swam. A 5 foot Caiman floated around with a carefree attitude, and a Double-toothed Kite sat watching, taking it all in, but not going to move from his perch above...

See posts below for further details of all our locations and activities with CRBO - Costa Rica Bird Observatories