Sightings week ending 04/12/2016

Its been a cold an frosty week but the weather hasn’t really pushed the birds down. Still very few Fieldfare or Redwing through a few have been spotted at Farlington. The forecasted Waxwing still haven’t turned up yet.

 

Farlington

Lots of wader as usual especially with some quite high tides. There are still a couple of Spotted Redshank on the stream a long with a large number of Pintail and Teal. There has been a large number of Avocet in the channel west of the marsh. Largest count so far has been 53.

The Short Eared Owls are still there, three of them and a couple of overwintering Dartford Warbler can be seen in the point field. A Barn Owl has also been seen in the bushes area.

Swanwick Lakes and Hookheath

Both sites have the usual woodland mix. Lots of Goldcrests, undoubtedly with some Firecrest in there. A number of Marsh Tit have been seen on both sites.

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7 thoughts on “Sightings week ending 04/12/2016

  1. Hi Chris, Just a note to say my friend and I visited Farlington on Saturday the 2nd. We approached Point Field at sunrise and found what I understand to be BTO bird ringers in operation in said field. They had at least 4 mist nets erected all across the field.
    Having visited recently we found the 3 Short Eared Owls roosting in the grass there. We kept to the paths as we are conscientious people who respect the Owls’ need for privacy and observed them from a distance.
    I was aware also of your call for people to keep to the paths to limit disturbance and observed the laminated signs on both entrances.
    I am fully aware that bird ringing is a great contribution to understanding avian life that helps in their conservation but was it really necessary to carry out this operation in such a sensitive area at such a time of year when they were fully aware of the Owls’ use of the field?
    Do their scientific studies need to carry on regardless even if they are aware of sensitive bird activity?
    My friend and I work full time, so weekends are the only time we get to spend out walking. So we were quite disappointed of their actions and so were many other people too.
    Needless to say there were no Owls spotted up to the time we left (12pm) and we were not aware any were seen all day, bearing mind they were there the previous day and consecutive days prior to this.
    Coupled with the fact on the same day, the wildfowlers were about murdering ducks as I am told they are allowed to do, which made the birds we did see extremely nervous.
    All told there were very few decent sightings to be had which was a shame as it was a beautiful day.
    Kind Regards
    Ian Smith

    • Hi Ian, Apologies for any inconvenience caused. I’m aware that it does come across a little hypocritical but the ringing carried out was part of an ongoing monitoring programme carried out by the Farlington Ringing Group at various points around the site. This collects data important to the management of the reserve. It is however very infrequent and won’t be occurring again during the period when the owls are there so as to minimise the disturbance. Again, sorry for any inconvenience caused.

      • Hi Chris,
        Thanks for your prompt reply.and explanation.
        Let’s hope they return, I’m sure they will, assuming there are enough rodents to go round!
        Regards
        Ian

  2. Just a thought relating to the ringing – what about putting signs up just so people are aware what’s going on? (I realise not everyone knows much about bird ringing). Seem to remember one day while volunteering there some posters about ringing were found, but can’t remember what happened to them.

    • Hi Amy,
      I am very aware of the scientific benefits of bird ringing as quite a few people actually are even if they have never participated. My issue was the fact that the known birds were using this as a roosting site and they are very sensitive to disturbance. As was evident as they failed to show. Whether a qualified bird ringer or not, surely there must be a code of conduct to adhere to? And if an area is unsuitable at the time then a decision can be made to postpone, even on the actual day of ringing?
      I was well aware of what was going on as where many others that day.

      • Hi Ian, sorry, not aimed at you – I just think in general maybe signs when ringing is taking place is a good idea, and remembered that after reading your comment. I agree with what you’re saying!

  3. I should also add that we were told by the ringers that they very rarely ring in Point Field at this time of year, they concentrate this from April to September. So you have to question once again why did they choose to do so when they were fully aware of the the owls using the area to roost in? From what I saw the Robins and Dunnocks were not too pleased either, being hung upside down, and decorated with rings!

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