Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Colourful Coots - 21st August 2011

Last weekend I went to The Rutland Birdfair 2011 with Chris and Kane. It was great to have 'my boys' back from Iceland and hear about their Whooper chasing adventures, see here for Kane's Whooper blog post.

This was my first time at the Birdfair and I must say I really enjoyed myself. There was so much to see and do and so many interesting people to met and talk to. I loved the fair and will definitely be back. The highlight of the fair was meeting my favourite wildlife celeb: Johnny Kingdom, such a great guy.

Me and Johnny

I got to met so many great people including Stephen Moss, Mike Dillinger, Bill Oddie and lots of people from WWT. The WWT had it's own stand at the fair which was promoting the trust, it's work and in particular the current projects on Common Crane, Madagascar Pochard and Spoon-Billed Sandpiper.

Another highlight of the fair was getting ringed! At the BTO stall you could get ringed as Garden Warbler, Osprey or Pied Flycatcher. Each ring was numbered and you could then go online to discover the story behind the bird that you were ringed as: brilliant idea and great fun!

Photo 'borrowed' from Kane

Of course no weekend with my boys would be complete without a spot of ringing so on Sunday we went to Redsmere to kick off the Coot colour ringing season. It was my first time colour ringing and I have to admit I really enjoyed using bright pink rings!

Colour Ringed Coot

Kane was teaching me how to age the Coots and how he takes biometrics on these feisty little birds. It was great to be able to look at the differences in ages and I think I might be starting to fall for Coots with their red eyes, awesome feet and punky attitude!

In total 8 Coots were caught: 6 new and 2 metal ringed controls. The controls were both ringed in Manchester City Centre and travelled a distance of just under 14 miles. Kane is colour ringing Coots in the North West to discover more about their movements. The project is about to enter into it's 4th year and so far has produced some amazing results: See here. If you see any colour ringed Coots you can email your sightings to kanebrides’@’gmail.com where they would be gratefully received.

My first colour ringed Coot

A nice highlight whilst out looking for Coot was seeing and hearing a Green Sandpiper flying overhead.

Thanks goes to the guys for a brilliant weekend and it's so great to have you back : )

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