Wednesday, 27 July 2011

A Trip To Chew

Early on Sunday morning after getting a couple of hours sleep at a friends house I quietly packed my bag (at 4.30am) and snuck out of their house - why? To take a trip to Chew Valley to help out on their CES. I have always wanted to go to Chew Valley and have heard many stories about it  and as I was in the general area anyway I thought I would take a wee trip. I was very excited to go.  I was especially hoping to ring my dream bird - A Kingfisher, but did I get it?

I arrived at 5.50am and met up with the other ringers. There were 11 nets set with a further 2 being erected later in the morning. There were a lot of birds during the 6 hours of CES including: Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Song Thrush, Long-Tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Wren , Robin, Blue Tit and Blackcap. There was also a stunning Grasshopper Warbler caught - the first I have ever seen but another lucky ringer got that one.

Sedge Warbler
Whilst at Chew I was taught how to do fat and pectoral scores which was great to learn and very interesting.


Reed Warbler
There was also an odd looking juvenile Dunnock caught which has us boggled for a while as to its identity.

The mystery Dunnock

During the last hour of the CES I got a real treat, no not a Kingfisher but a recap Treecreeper. I love Treecreepers and processing it was amazing. They are so small and delicate and make the cutest wee chirp sounds. It was great to see one up close and to be able to marvel at it's hooked beak and specialised claws.

A very cute juvenile Treecreeper

My first Treecreeper

Soon the morning came to a close and it was time to take down the nets and head over to the fancy ringing hut for a chat and some much needed caffeine for some. Chew Valley has a great set up, operating two CESs (one on either side of the lake) and having a central ringing station. After arriving at the ringing station and meeting up with the other ringers from the other CES I started to get ready to head off back to Wales but just then my new favourite person (Alan Ashman) came into the hut holding a beautiful and unringed Kingfisher! After a bit of teasing I was handed the bird and given the absolute honour of ringing and processing it. After ringing it and receiving some daggers from the Kingfisher virgins I took the little stunner outside for it's very own photo shoot.

Say cheese!

The Kingfisher was absolutely stunning, the blue is so vivid and their feet so odd! A special overlap (SO) ring is used on Kingfishers which is applied by hand and is a delicate process. I am so thrilled to have ringed such an impressive bird and will never forget it, thank you Chew!

What a stunner, a beautiful juvenile Kingfisher

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone at Chew and especially Alan, Mike, Robin and Ian. I thoroughly enjoyed my morning and would recommend a trip to Chew to absolutely anyone and everyone!

My first Kingfisher!

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