November: little bits and bobs

I’ll admit I’ve not done much birding or ringing at all this month after seeing the Franklin’s gull, mostly because of the large number of deadlines and also commitments with my band. However, I can see light at the end of the tunnel (apart for revision, exams and then more work…) and I’ve tried to make time for some birding and ringing.

I joined Paul White and Simon Lane for some ringing on 15th. We started in Romsey, in a rather lovely 100 acre garden(!) and this gave me a chance get to grips with species I don’t usually ring including blue and great tits and also chaffinches.

Female chaffinch. 15th November 2014

Female chaffinch. 15th November 2014

We then headed to Chilworth, the University’s science park, to try to ring green and goldfinches as they came into roost. Unfortunately we didn’t have much luck, so will be trying again later in the winter! It was still nice to visit new sites and meet other ringers.

I had a trip to Marwell Zoological Park on 27th (admittedly not a birding trip!) but, when not recording the behaviour displayed by the Humboldt penguins, I spent some time watching the rooks – a species I don’t see very often. I was also amused to watch the jackdaws taking advantage of the food thrown into the meerkat enclosure during the meerkat talk.  Always interesting to watch the wild birds, no matter where you are!

A rather dashing rook. 27th November 2014

A rather dashing rook. 27th November 2014

Feeding time for the jackdaws... I mean meerkats! 27th November 2014

Feeding time for the jackdaws… I mean meerkats! 27th November 2014

The weather was right for ringing again on 29th. Titchfield Haven sessions have ended now so we headed to Walpole Park with the aim of trying to ring the gulls there. Unfortunately, the gulls seemed unsure of the net that had been set up, so we’ll have to try a different tactic next time! Instead, myself and the other trainees had a go at ringing a mute swan each, which was different. It also gave me a chance to see Waldo, the wintering ring-billed gull who’s returned for it’s 12th winter!

1st winter mute swan complete with "bling". 29th November 2014

1st winter mute swan complete with “bling”. 29th November 2014

There was also a small group of brent geese at Walpole Park, and, as seems to be the current trend, there were quite a few 1st-winter birds which is good news.

Brent geese - the 1st winter birds are the ones without a white patch on their necks (usually) & have white barring on their wings.

Brent geese – the 1st winter birds are the ones without a white patch on their necks (usually) & have white barring on their wings.

Finally, on 30th, I made it to Titchfield Haven for a brief 2 hours and bumped into Sean Foote while I was there. I started in the Meonshore hide where there were large numbers of snipe, lapwing and oystercatchers. Estimates on the sightings board reckoned there were as many as 80 snipe – don’t think I’ve ever seen so many before!! A peregrine flushed the lapwing also one or two redshank which I hadn’t spotted earlier. I was thinking of heading to another hide when a goosander landed at the back of the South scrape. It swam around and came rather close to the hide. I’d never had such good views before! Correct me if I’m wrong, but this seems like a more unusual bird to turn up at Titchfield Haven, especially in the scrapes and not the river?

Goosander - South Scrape, Titchfield Haven. 30th November 2014

Goosander – South Scrape, Titchfield Haven. 30th November 2014

We moved onto the Meadow hide to see what was about. Not much, but a single brent goose and a group of distant pintail were lovely to see.

The lone brent goose - Titchfield Haven. 30th November 2014

The lone brent goose – Titchfield Haven. 30th November 2014

The feral barnacle geese are still around too, but only 3 yesterday – there had been 5 in the summer. Finally, heading back to the car, I checked Hill Head itself briefly. I was pleased to see a number of sanderling with the turnstones.

Sunset over Hill Head. 30th November 2014

Sunset over Hill Head. 30th November 2014

Hopefully with the end of term looming, I’ll do more regular birding in between revising for the all important January exams. I’ve invested in a camera for digiscoping, so with a bit of luck and practise the quality of my photos should improve…

2 thoughts on “November: little bits and bobs

  1. You really must read your posts again slowly after you type them – I’ve spotted a couple of glitches and so far I’ve only read the first couple of sentences; deadlines, apart from revision. Will read the rest now and let you know of anything else I spot

    _____

  2. Almost too many glitches to comment. You must read through your post again slowly and carefully – you will then pick up where you’ve typed swam incorrectly but the typo that jumped out at me most was loan where you mean LONE. You have typed change instead of chance at least once. I could go on, but I’d better go and eat my breakfast!

    _____

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