Monday, 21 November 2011

English Gold

I write this having just returned back to Scotland from a nice wee weekend down in Manchester with Chris & Kane. It was a varied weekend which included a couple of new ringing experiences for me.

On Saturday morning we got up early and set up the mist net in Kane's garden with the aim of catching the visiting Goldies. We caught 8 new Goldfinches that morning along with a Long-tailed tit and a couple of obligatory Blue Tits. Goldfinches are by far my favourite garden bird to both observe and to ring, so bright and cheery and always puts a smile on my face!

One of the stunning male Goldfinches of the morning

After the morning's mist session we headed over to Dunham Massey to help Steve Christmas ring a brood of 3 Mute swan cygnets, each recieving a dark blue Darvic along with a standard BTO metal ring. This was my first time doing a swan brood. When ringing a swan brood you have to tie their wings and feet to prevent them from escaping before the ringing process is complete. Previously I have only ever used jackets at Abbotsbury to restrain the swans and it was nice to use a different technique. The Abbotsbury swan catch 2011 will be on BBC1 tonight at 7pm and there's a good chance that I might appear!.

DN6 - all ringed and ready to go.

Whilst at Dunham Massey the guys managed to catch a few Canada geese which were great to ring (bringing back fond memories of The Llangorse Catch ). It was great being taught how to age the Cangos, something of which I missed out on at Llangorse.

Kane ringing one of the Cangos

We then headed off to some Coots sites to add some more willing Coots to the project. By the end of Saturday I was covered in cuts and scratches - I had forgotten how feisty the English Coots can be, especially compared to the relatively placid Scottish ones. Weirdly I always thought it would be the Scottish ones that would be the real fighters!

After getting back to Kane's and cleaning all of the Coot 'you know what' off we decided to go out dazzling. This was the first time I had been dazzling and Chris lead the way. Unfortunately after roaming around the dark Lancashire countryside for several hours we can up blank and so headed back.

Ever the optimists! 

On Sunday we again mist netted in the garden, catching more of the English golden beauties. We then went off in search of some more Coots. In total we Darviced 4 new Coots and  7 recaps.

Whilst out searching for Coots Kane ran into an old friend in the form of L06072 - a Canada goose which he ringed back in 2006! On Sunday night we had one last try with dazzling and discouragingly we came up blank again. I'm sure with a little bit of tweaking and technique perfecting we will one day mange to successfully dazzle - never say never! Once again a really great weekend was had and thanks goes to the guys and Steve Christmas, roll on next weekend!

...and don't forget if you see any colour marked Coots you can email Kane at kanebrides'@' and if you see any other colour marked wildfowl then you can email your sightenings to colourmarkedwildfowl'@' 

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