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Uist ringing summary – September 2010

Also the answer to the question what do House Sparrows have in common with The Borg? (You know The Borg – Star Trek, 7 of 9, “we will assimilate you” etc.). Plus moths and birding…

Sadly we could’nt quite make it to a round 300 birds ringed for the month – when we think about the ones that got away it should have been easily over 300 – the times when there were 3 Meadow Pipits in the net but when we got there only one was left and the self-extracting Kestrel would have been a nice catch.

Species New Retrap Total
Swallow 13 13
Meadow Pipit 160 4 164
Pied Wagtail 12 1 13
Wren 8 2 10
Dunnock 2 2
Robin 3 3
Stonechat 1 1
Blackbird 9 7 16
Song Thrush 8 8
Garden Warbler 1 1
Blackcap 1 1
Yellow-browed Warbler 1 1
Chiffchaff 1 1
Goldcrest 3 1 4
Starling 36 36
House Sparrow 8 8
Linnet 1 1
Lesser Redpoll 11 3 14
Reed Bunting 17 17
Total spp = 18 296 18 314

The month started off really well – we ringed 36 birds in the garden on the 1st September, 30 of which were Meadow Pipits. This month we’ve been employing a whole range of trapping methods apart from our mist nets we’ve been using walk-in traps, potter traps and spring traps.

We were lucky enough to receive permission from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) to ring on their national nature reserve at Loch Druidibeg, South Uist where there is a plantation. We have to plan our visits there according to the weather as it can be pretty exposed when the wind is in certain directions.

The sparse trees you can see ARE the plantation!

The sparse trees you can see ARE the plantation!

We only captured 6 birds on our first visit there (2 Wren, 2 Robin and 2 Goldcrest). The second visit only 5 made their way into the net – but we were very happy with the first bird of the day:-

Yellow-browed Warbler

Yellow-browed Warbler

Our third visit of the month to Druidibeg was more productive and we captured and ringed 10 birds and were able to give a ringing demonstration to the British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV) who were carrying out some land management work on the north side of the road. Our catch including this lovely Stonechat

Stonechat

Stonechat

One of our aims when re-locating here was to be able to contribute to the various surveys and census’ that are carried out on a long-term basis. The Wetland Bird Survey (WeBS) seemed like a good place to start, this is co-ordinated by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and we did our first count on the 18th September. Part of the way through our count we had a text from a friend to say he’d found a Lesser Yellowlegs at Kildonan. We didn’t feel we should dash off halfway through our count so called in at Kildonan on our way home and luckily the bird was still there and only about 20 feet from us, happily feeding in a rock pool.

Our neighbours were away to the mainland and before leaving brought us some goodies from their garden. Here is a picture of the meal i made from their produce.

Our neighbours gave us purple potatoes, broad beans and kale. We supplied the boiled ham :-)

Our neighbours gave us purple potatoes, broad beans and kale. We supplied the boiled ham :-)

The crofters have been very busy this month harvesting and baling their crops.

Oatfield on the machair

Crop on the machair

There are quite a few places on the islands here that traditional stooks are made.

There are quite a few places on the islands here that traditional stooks are made.

Mothing has been a challenge with the very variable weather, if it wasn’t too wet it was too windy and we only managed to get the trap out 4 times during September. It seems like long gone are the nights with 300+ moths in the trap. We had some interesting catches though.

Angle Shades - what a stunner! The photo really does not do it justice.

Angle Shades - what a stunner! The photo really does not do it justice.

Brindled Ochre

Brindled Ochre

Large Wainscot

Large Wainscot

and this lovely micro moth:-

Agonopterix yeatiana. And thanks to local moffer John K for the id on that

Agonopterix yeatiana. And thanks to local moffer John K for the id on that

Perfect reflections on a calm day

Perfect reflections on a calm day

The beach at Ardvule

The beach at Ardvule

Well i never have been the elegant sophisticated type...

Well i never have been the elegant sophisticated type...

This Chiffchaff was a surprise find in our garden net - plenty of fat so was obviously going places.

This Chiffchaff was a surprise find in our garden net - plenty of fat so was obviously going places.

Another of the months warblers, also very fat, was this female Blackcap.

Another of the months warblers, also very fat, was this female Blackcap.

We captured this Garden Warbler early in the month

We captured this Garden Warbler early in the month

Not too many of these around here - Dunnock

Not too many of these around here - Dunnock

Another view from Ardvule. Next stop Canada.

Another view from Ardvule. Next stop Canada.

And one of the birds we captured late in the month, this stonking adult male (it was still moulting) Lesser Redpoll.

Adult male Lesser Redpoll

Adult male Lesser Redpoll

LOTS of these Fox Moth caterpillars around at the moment

LOTS of these Fox Moth caterpillars around at the moment

This caterpillar is, as yet, unidentified:-

Not had chance to go through my book yet to see what this is.

Not had chance to go through my book yet to see what this is.

And finally, just what do House Sparrows and The Borg have in common? Well i reckon House Sparrows must have a collective memory. Last month we captured 38 House Sparrow the vast majority in the ground trap. This month only 8 House Sparrows and the ones that have gone in the ground trap, whether they were ringed or not, have easily found their way back out. Mmm. How do they do that!?

photo

4 comments to Uist ringing summary – September 2010

  • SALLY TALBOT

    Hi Yvonne
    lovely pictures of the birds as usual and the moths they are so pretty, people who don’t like them are missing such a lot. The last unidentified capterpillar looks like a catcus plant.
    hope you and Ian are well
    Take care
    Sal

  • Top birds! and those spuds look amazing too…

  • Yes, it’s a great place and not at all strange that you should feel homesick – i’ve only been here for 9 years but it is the place i always think of as “home” and i’ve found nowhere better on my travels around the world :)

  • Robyn Parr-Ferris

    Some lovely photos there, and some fantastic birds! We saw Twite while we were on holiday (North Uist) this year and thought they were lovely little birds! Your landscape pics also make me homesick…..for a place that has never been my home! Is that strange?!

    Robyn