Sunday, 23 July 2017

LRG & FSG trip to Inchkeith Saturday 08/07/2017

12 of us met at Granton harbour for the annual trip to Inchkeith to primarily ring Kittiwakes. Our boat was arranged to leave at 09:00hrs, arriving on Inchkeith for around 09:30hrs. The trip and all relevant permissions to land on the island were organised by Lothian Ringing Group & Forth Seabird Group members.

Looking back at Granton Harbour

Inchkeith was once a strategic location for a lighthouse and for defending the Firth of Forth from attack. In 1986 the lightkeepers were withdrawn when the lighthouse became automated and the owners, the Northern Lighthouse board, sold the island. It is now partly owned by Kittiwakes, Fulmars, Puffins, Shags, Razorbill, Guillemot etc... for a few months of the year.

Perfect weather for our island trip!
Arriving on Inchkeith 





















As the team disembarked, we could hear the familiar call of "Kittiwake" from around the cliffs where they were nesting. We quickly put most of our rucksacks into one of the abandoned outbuildings for safe keeping from the inhabitants. There was no way we would chance leaving our food out in the open for the Gulls to have a feast, our boat wasn't coming back until 17:00hrs!

After the team briefing of do's and don'ts while we were ringing on the island it was then time for us to head off to ring some Kittiwakes and any incidentals that we could also ring on the day.


The team being made aware of island ringing rules
For some of us it was a very useful learning curve with a few members never having ringed Kittiwakes. Before too long we were upon the cliffs where the Kittiwakes were nesting.

Easy does it, ringing the chicks on the nest
Carefully placing the chicks back on the nest
Staying on the island for near enough 8 hrs was giving us plenty time to try and catch some adults, we were hoping that this would bring us some re-traps from previous years. We weren't disappointed, we managed to re-trap 10 on the day along with another 11 new adults ringed.


One of the adults caught
We managed to ring 127 Kittiwakes: 106 chicks, 21 Adults & re-trapped 10 from previous years.

If you do happen to read one of our Kittiwake rings, please let us know. Below is the reward we receive, these are some of our most recent re-sighted birds from Inchkeith, this gives us a real insight into where our birds like to holiday.


Ring no: Date ringed Sighted by non-ringer  Date Distance (km)
ET66991 16.07.2001 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France  20.04.2017
667





EG46119 05.07.2003 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 15.04.2017
667
EG46119 05.07.2003 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 04.07.2017
667
EG46119 05.07.2003 Boulogne sur Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 06.07.2017
667
EG46119 05.07.2003  Boulogne-sur-Mer, Pas-de-Calais, France 15.07.2017
667





EL98111 14.07.2007 Cap Blanc Nez, Escalles, Pas-de-Calais, France  24.04.2017
651
EL98111 14.07.2007 Cap Blanc Nez, Escalles, Pas-de-Calais, France  13.07.2017
651




 The team also managed to ring:

Catching Shag chicks
 2 Adult Puffins & 1 puffling.

25 Shag chicks, 1 re-trap Adult & 4 colour rings read.

1 Adult Razorbill & 2 chicks






Descending after ringing Shag chicks




















Well done to everyone who volunteer and spend their time ringing seabirds on the Forth Islands throughout the summer months!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

CES Visit 5 18/6/2017

Visit 5 produced our first Juvenile Treecreepers' of the season although we hadn't seen or heard any adults in our previous sessions we knew that they must be around as it seems we haven't failed on catching any in the last few years, it was Visit 5 in 2016 that we also caught our first Juv Treec, that day last year only produced the one, this year we caught 5 juv in this session, great to see that they've all survived our very wet June long enough to fledge. We also caught our first juvenile Coal Tit's of the year.  A returning Chiffchaff that was ringed as a Juvenile in June 2015 was the first re-capture of this bird, did we miss it in 2016 or did it breed somewhere else?


One of 5 Treecreepers caught today


Species Total New Retraps
Blackcap
3
1
Blackbird
1

Blue Tit
3

Bullfinch
1

Chiffchaff
4
4
Coal Tit
2

Goldcrest

1
Goldfinch
1

Great Tit
1

Robin
3

Treecreeper
5

Willow Warbler
1
1
Wren
1
3
13 Species
26
10

We managed to catch 36 birds this visit compared to 34 in 2016



Monday, 3 July 2017

Leith Dock Terns

A successful trip was undertaken to the Leith Dock ternery to count common tern nests and to ring chicks during the visit on Saturday 17 June. A total of 995 nests were recorded in the main colony, with an additional ten on a separate jetty; amounting to a record total of 1005 apparently occupied nests (AONs). This is the highest count on record and is a large increase on last year with 720 AONs. 103 common tern chicks were ringed during the brief visit. (All photos Carmen & Euan Ferguson).
Ringing in the colony. Hard hats and hi-vis are required by the Ports Authority

The colony on the 'island' pier

John Davies closely monitors the colony, he organised and led the trip and captained the LRG dinghy!

Leaving the colony.

Huge thanks to John Davies for organising everything surrounding the session and to the team Laura, Carmen and Euan.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

CES Visit 4 04/06/2017

If this years visit 4 was going to be a repeat of last years then we all thought it would hardly be worth setting our nets up.

As we arrived on site we began to reminisce about the 11 birds that we caught in the 6 hours we were there in 2016. However, the optimistic bunch that we are we started to quickly decide prior to erecting our nets how many birds we would manage to catch to-day, it was like we had just joined in with an auction rather than a ringing session. 10 soon became 15, 15 soon became 20, 20 then became 30, I'm sure this was to be the highest bid before setting the nets up, we decided we would be more than happy if we managed to catch 30.

Mark O'Brien used to be one of the regular ringers on this site, it was Mark who took the initiative and decided to turn this site into a Constant Effort. In 2007 we helped Mark set up the nets in the position where 6 of them are still sited to this day, he initially set up this CES prior to his work with Birdlife International relocating him to Fiji in 2010, no we weren't at all envious of his relocation as we were now left this site to look after!!! In 2011 we added a seventh net and to date we still use 7 nets. 

To-day we welcomed Mark back, he was back for an annual holiday and just couldn't resist the temptation of an early morning rise to head out and help with the huge amount of birds that would gracing our nets?  Mark must have brought some good luck along with him, this was to turn out to be our best catch of the season so far with 42 birds caught,  31 birds more than last year and our first juvenile birds were also caught, 2 weeks earlier than last year. Mark has now returned to Fiji so we'll wait and see what visit 5 brings in.
Mark letting us know how terrible our catch rate was until his arrival today

Our first Juvenile Chiffchaff of the year
Species Total Retraps
Blackbird
2
2
Blue Tit
2
2
Bullfinch
1

Chaffinch
2
2
Chiffchaff
15
5
Dunnock
5
4
Goldfinch
2

Robin
6
1
Whitethroat
1

Willow Warbler
4
4
Wren
2
1
11 Species
42
21

Our best catch of the season so far, lets hope it continues.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

CES Visit 3 21/05/2017

I must admit it was a slight struggle when the alarm went off at 04:15 this morning, I suppose in comparison to some CES this might be regarded as a long lay in. 3 of us completed this visit. Again no surprise our first round of the day produced 3 birds Robin, Blackcap and a bird that hasn't let us down so far for being caught on the first round, Chiffchaff, a returning female that had been aged and ringed as an adult on visit 2 in May 2016.

Our lowest catch so far this season with 26 birds caught, in terms of birds caught this visit equaled what we had caught in 2016.

Although not too busy with the amount of birds we were catching in the nets, in between rounds we were kept occupied with ringing broods of chicks in our on site nest boxes.


In between net rounds


Species Total Retraps
Blackbird 4 2
Blackcap 3

Blue Tit 1 1
Chiffchaff 3 3
Coal Tit 1 1
Dunnock 2 1
Goldcrest 1 1
Robin 4 3
Willow Warbler 2 1
Whitethroat 4 2
Wren 1 1
11 Species 26 16

CES Visit 2 13/05/2017

Visit 2 kicked off in the fashion that we are pretty much used to, with the first round of the morning catching 1 bird, again it was a Chiffchaff, a returning adult female caught in net 1. The second net round was a little more productive with 10 birds caught, our first Whitethroat of the season was caught amongst them, we managed to go on and catch another 3 Whitethroat throughout our 2nd visit, coincidentally it was visit 2 last year that also produced our first Whitethroat of the season. 21 birds were caught on visit 2 last year with 31 caught this year.

Species Total Retraps
Blackbird 1

Blackcap 1

Blue Tit 3 2
Chiffchaff 4 3
Goldcrest 3 3
Long tailed Tit 2 2
Robin 4 4
Song Thrush 1

Willow Warbler 2

Whitethroat 4

Wren 4 1
11 Species 29 15