Raven over Anglers Country Park

Chris Swaine, a regular birder at Wintersett, just Tweeted this great image of a raven over Anglers Counrty Park. This is a very unusual bird for the area and Chris informs me that he also saw it just before Christmas and Pete Smith also heard one there just before Christmas. It must be the same bird blogging around the area and I’m hoping I might just get it on the garden list if it flies over Ryhill!

raven overr Anglers Country ParkThe wedge shaped tail is unmistakably raven as are the long narrow wings. Ravens are definitely on the increase and expanding their range as a breeding bird, no longer confined to the coast or mountains but are nesting in ciities on cathedrals and tower blocks.

You can follow more of Chris’ sightings on Twitter @Croftonbirder

Darvic rings fitted to the peregrines

During the previous ringing of the peregrine chicks it wasn’t possible to fit the Darvic rings due to a fault with them and so tonight, again with the aid of licensed bird ringers, the Darvic rings were fitted. The Darvic rings differ from normal metal rings in that they are big, bright and easily readable through binoculars or a spotting scope. It is hoped that by fitting these rings, our peregrines may be identified elsewhere in the country and we will gain an understanding into how far they move from the nest site. The adult female holds the territory around the cathedral and she will eventually drive the chicks out as they head towards adulthood.

Danny Kirmond, captain of the Wakefield Wilcats, is a keen follower on Twitter of Wakefield Peregrines and so he was invited along to watch the rings being fitted. There will be more on this story in the Wakefield Express this weekDarvic rings wakefield peregrines

peregrine chick fitted with a Darvic ring

young male peregrine chick fitted with a Darvic ring

Wakefield peregrines ringed

part of the team: Left to right: Mark Watson (ringer), Danny Kirmond (Wakefield Wildcats), Francis Hickenbottom (project co-ordinator, Wakefield Naturalists’ Society)

Peregrine chicks ringed

In order to keep track of our young peregrines and find out where they head off to in the future, the chicks were today ringed by licensed and experienced bird ringers from the mid-Derby Ringing Group. This involved taking the chicks carefully from the nest for around 20 minutes to weigh, measure and fit a metal closed ring on the birds’ right leg. These small metal rings have a unique number on them which is logged with the Brtish Trust for Ornithology (BTO) and should the peregrine be found dead or watched at a nest elsewhere, anyone that can read the ring and check with the BTO will be able to find out that it was one of our birds.

The small metal rings are only really readable of the bird is retrapped by ringers or found dead or maybe watched on camera at another nest, so in order to make it more easy for the general birdwatcher to read, a bright coloured plastic ring is also fitted to the left leg, This large plastic ring is called a Darvic ring and is bright coloured and has large letters that should be able to be read through binoculars or a spotting scope while the bird is perched. Unfortunately, today there was a problem with the Darvic rings and they were therefore not fitted so as not to cause any problems with the birds in the future. New rings have been ordered and these will be fitted sometime later this week, The second disturbance of the birds will be very quick and kept to a minimum as the birds have already been close ringed, weighed and measured. Disturbing the birds at the nest for this short period of time for scientific purposes is done under licence and won’t cause any significant distress to the chicks or the adults.

Darvic rings wakefield peregrines

Darvic rings are easily identifiable through binoculars. The female chick has been fitted with 4Z

Wakefield peregrine chick in nestbox

Pergrine chicks in the nestbox

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

Taking the chicks for ringing

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

The ringing process

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One of the chicks patiently waiting his turn

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

forming an orderly queue!

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

The ringing process

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

The ringing process

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

Looking a bit glum about it all!

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

The final check of the rings

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

weighing and measuring the chicks

ringing the Wakefield peregrine chicks

and back home to mum

Peregrine falcons on Wakefield cathedral: Latest photos

Francis just sent in these latest images of the peregrine family on the cathedral. These are taken using his phone on the eye piece of a telescope which gives remarkable results and shows clearly just how big and rapidly developing the chicks are!

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Peregrine falcon on Wakefield cathedral

Goosander at Newmillerdam

Went out with the camera today and as I passed Newmillerdam, I noticed two drake goosander very close to the outfall opposite Beauly Cafe. I pulled into the car park but as soon as I stepped out of the car they were off, so no piccies :¬(

There have also been a pair of goosander on the Calder by Chantry Chapel and these are giving great views.

Great Northern Diver at Pugneys

Got a call last night to say there was a great northern diver (common loon for the USA visitors) on Cawood’s Pool at Pugneys Country Park and it had still been there at dusk. So, I set off early this morning as the sun was rising and met up with this battle cruiser of a bird as drifted across the lake in the winter sunlight. Cawood’s is a big pool and the bird was  a way off, but fortunately just as I arrived it dived beneath the water and I ran to where I thought it might pop up only to find it broke the surface about a yard in front of me!! I was over-geared for the bird at this range but in any case it panicked, dived again and came up about 100yds away to look back at me. I got off a few quick shots before it headed further out into the lake. I always find them hard to photograph because, despite it’s size, they sit low in the water and there is little contrast or definition for the camera to lock onto. Here’s a shot of the bird which will at least serve as record of its visit to Wakefield. On the way back to the car, I came across some carrion crows drinking in a puddle in the car park. I’d already reached my car and taken the 500mm off the tripod when I saw them, but the light was good so I whipped off the 1.4x and stalked them hand held. Here’s a couple of shots I really like and were an unexpected bonus to the short morning session.

John Gardner (President)