Wednesday, 26 January 2011



Sunday the 22nd of January seen the first ringing session at Killellan woods since I began baiting the site 2 weeks ago with peanuts and various seed. It was obvious that there were a good number of birds around upon our arrival, Mostly BLUE and GREAT TITS and the odd COAL TIT which was only to be expected at this site. I was aware of the two RAVENS calling overhead and imagine that they will be nesting very shortly in the nearby quarry. BULLFINCH were also heard in the woods and a small party of SISKINS landed in the tree tops down by the car. A single MISTLE THRUSH was seen along with small numbers of BLACKBIRD. Was surprised when Blackbird were not caught as th
e apples I had laid down showed signs of being eaten but I now suspect that it could be the rabbits that are feeding on them.
Although a tape lure for GOLDCREST was running none were capture though I had heard them in the area on previous visits. Totals for the day were;



Saturday, 15 January 2011


Postings have been a long, long time absent from this blog, heres hoping 2011 will see me making a bit more of an effort to keep up regular posts. Just a short one to get me started, to report my first bird ringed for this year. A JACK SNIPE that was dazzled using the car head lights while driving with Jamey around the Moss road. Not only the first bird of 2011 but also the first time I have ringed this species. A very exciting catch.

Sunday, 21 February 2010


13Th February 2010

First ringing trip down to Waterside of 2010 and as usual we were made welcome by John and Margaret who do a wonderful job of feeding the birds and managing this fabulous bit of habitat around their home. I was immediately aware of the many birds using the feeders as they were all over the place and very vocal. Quickly Jamey and I put up a small 20' net at the rear of the garden and returned to the car to see what we would catch. Although pretty cold as demonstrated by the frozen pond it was a clear day with little wind although we are further sheltered as Waterside sits on the floor of Conieglen and is largely surrounded by mature trees. While waiting we visited the fore mentioned pond and although covered in ice we could still see the first clumps of frog spawn seen this year, a Sparrowhawk passed by but high and on the other side of the road and then Jamey and I seen two Great spotted woodpeckers crossing from the wood on the far side of the road down into Waterside. These have been reported as being females and at least one is in the habit of appearing on the feeders, so excitement was climbing with the hope of catching one of these uncommon Kintyre birds.

On Checking the net for the first time it was no surprise to find it full of the abundant Blue tits and a couple of Chaffinches but alas no woodpecker. A Yellowhammer was spotted on the ground in front of the net and it has been a number of years since I have had one of those in the hand. As the morning wore on the catch of Blue and Great Tits increase with lesser numbers of Chaffinch, did see a single Dipper fly low up burn followed shortly after by a Grey Wagtail. On walking around the woods on the opposite bank of the river I was amazed by the amount of blackbirds feeding amongst the leaf litter, counting 38 in the small area that I was standing and being aware that more were rising from other areas of the woodland. A single Woodcock was also flushed from one of the ditches near the woodland edge. The highlight of the day for me was the capture of a male Brambling, a new ringing species for me and a bird I have only seen on a few occasions.

The ringing totals for the day are as follows;





BLUE TIT 53 (including 3 retraps, one from 2005)

GREAT TIT - 31 (including 2 retraps)




Wednesday, 27 January 2010


I have been planning some garden ringing for a week or two now, the first of 2010, but was spurred into action this morning by the sight of the Chaffinch's massing over the stump when I first looked out the kitchen door. We usually have between a dozen and twenty of these birds attending our feeders but here was a far bigger flock than that, of between 60 and 80 birds. The weather was dry, overcast and still, almost perfect conditions for mist netting so I wasted no time in getting a 40' net set between the trees. As it turned out the net could have been sited better as the birds were showing a preference for being on the stump no matter where else seed was placed. I had hopes that these birds may possibly be from the many fennoscandia chaffinches that swell our local numbers in winter. However wing lengths in the majority of the birds pointed to a local population although a notable number of them were carrying good fat deposits, a possible indicator of a migrant flock. It was good to see the distinctive black foreheads of the males breeding plumage coming through, the winter plumage wearing away to reveal the more colourful summer one.

Later in the day I put on the Redwing tape lure which had 3 birds in the trees within 10 seconds but as last time they frustratingly stayed in the tops of the trees and didn't come near the net. A nice flock of 80+ Fieldfares passed over and some of them responded to the lure but again none near the net. The only other thrush activity was a female Blackbird that was caught and ringed. Other captures included a Great Tit and a retrapped Blue Tit which has been caught four times now in the garden since its original capture in the autumn, also a Dunnock and Greenfinch and to Molly's delight a Collared Dove. Notable by their absence was the House Sparrows with not one in the net or being seen - strange. But the day belonged to the Chaffinches with a total of 42 ringed along with singles of the other birds mentioned. 24 of the total Chaffinch ringed were male, 57% - again a figure that hints a local birds as migrant flocks in the UK are predominately male, with large numbers of females traveling further into Ireland.

Sunday, 10 January 2010


Saturday 9Th January
A bit of a thaw at last, the first time in over three weeks that I have gone out in the car without having to clear the windows first. There was however a bit of an easterly breeze that was keeping the temperatures down and in fact making it seem colder at times, cloudy with the threat of rain but not really materialising. Jamey and I went for a drive without any real idea of where we were going but heading out of town on the west road. Again Lapwings were a feature, they are being seen in almost every field I look in, even one in front of the house this morning when I lifted the blinds. There were several in the fields towards the Craigs and also a small flock of 5 Greylag Geese opposite Kilmicheal. Taking the turn off for Tangy Jamey remarked that we hadn't been along this road for a while and he was right, the last time being on a swallow ringing trip in July, how time flies. Yet again Lapwings were evident and in larger numbers as we climbed towards Tangy farm, a quick estimate of 130 birds in the fields along with a flock of c.40 Golden Plover. A Pair of Raven were displaying here too and wont be too long until some of these birds will be on eggs. Nice views of a male Stonechat on the fence, showing signs of summer plumage as the winter one wears away. Several Starling flocks were also seen each with about 40-50 birds. Several Song Thrush were seen and it has been very noticeable over the last week that these birds are being seen in good numbers. I seen lots of Song Thrush a few days before in the Langa Quarry area and am unsure if this is due to a influx from the Continent or as was suggested by Rab, birds moving out of the conifer plantations in response to the cold weather. A good sized flock of wintering Chaffinch were seen near the semi derelict farm and these are definitely catchable and will keep an eye on them for the next couple of weeks. We climbed up to the wind farm and there found the road a bit treacherous as the fallen snow had frozen and a couple of times I thought the car was going to end up in a ditch. Very quite up here though I did get a glimpse of an female Black Redstart perched on the post of the entrance gate. By the time I got the camera out it was well gone and an extensive search of the area didn't find it again. As we were turning to head out of the wind farm a fox darted across the road in front of us and disappeared into the snow covered grass. We left Tangy by the north exit and headed up the road the Ballochuntuy before turning and heading back down to Campbeltown

On returning to the town we took a quick tour around the piers, again in the hunt for a white winged gull, and again in vain. However there were good numbers of Eider with a count of 86 of one pier, also seen a single Cormorant and the first summer plumaged Black Guillemot of the year, the longer days are on there way yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!

Sunday, 3 January 2010


A very bright and sunny day today but also very cold, still patches of ice around and the threat of more snow in the next day or so. Jamey and I decided to take a walk beyond the ship yard (as it was) and down towards Macriggans point. The ground has been heavily disturbed during the laying of the new pipes and this was being taken advantage of by 3-4 Blackbirds feeding on the bare earth, I also spotted 2 Linnets and a party of 3 Greenfinches. About 30 yards out from the shore there was a group of Goldeneye, 3 females and a single male, numbers of these birds appear to be down this year and not seeing any around the piers.

Jamey and I also took some time in tracking down an unusual looking bird that was flitting between the rocks near to the sewerage plant, I had sneaking suspicions of a Black Redstart but it turned out to be a Robin , one of several feeding along the shore. Also 3 Carrion Crows were seen and a single Red Breasted Merganser (female) just offshore. A very pleasant walk though not much around in the way of birds. Before heading home we took a drive down the main pier with some bread in the hope of attracting in this years allusive first white winged gull, but again to no avail, some nice shots of Great Black Backed Gull though.

Friday, 1 January 2010


Although not as cold as it has been this last week or so , ice and frost were still very evident early on January the first 2010. A few birds are rediscovering my newly filled feeders with half a dozen chaffinch's, robin and a pair each of blue and great tit and of course the usual house sparrows. Counted 63 Common Gull in the field behind the house and the Snipe that has been roosting in the back garden was still there.
Was late afternoon before I managed to travel to the Moss, where I seen a large Common Buzzard sitting on a post near the backs cottage, did a double take when I first noticed it, always amazed at the difference in the various Morphs recorded here, with this bird appearing very large and bulky. Also counted 14 Lapwing in the field by the Aros farm feeding alongside 4 Hooded Crow and 3 Redwing.
The Moss itself was as it always appears at this time of year, very barren and lifeless, although this is not the case and it doesn't take much looking to discover just how much is still going on here, even in the depths of winter. The ground was still very water logged, though the surface has frozen solid in many places including the usual pools of water that gather under the willows and by the net rides. Between net rides two and three the water has run off the road (possibly during a thaw) and then frozen again in a broad strip about 4 yards wide. The ground is soft and muddy along the edges of this area and this is where a few birds are feeding, including Blackbird, Dunnock and Wren it is also the area where the Water Rail are congregating and I counted 3 birds here by call and managed to get a fleeting glimpse of one bird as it briefly rose into the air. Two Snipe also rose from the ground. Other signs of life included lots of rabbit droppings. several fresh owl pellets which I imagine to be Long-eared owl, and several new mole hills on the roadside. There also appears to be several vole runs in the exposed grass indicating an active population.


Chaffinch - 7

Blue Tit - 3

Great Tit - 2

Robin - 2

Dunnock - 1

Wren - 1

Blackbird - 2

Redwing - 3

Buzzard - 1

Lapwing - 14

Water Rail - 3

Snipe - 2

Hooded Crow - 4

Raven - 1