Thursday, 27 February 2014

Checking out Keith’s birds

Earlier this week I had occasion to visit Milton Keynes and, as Keith is away sunning(?) himself half way up a Welsh mountain at the moment, I decided to have a quick look to see how ‘his birds’ around Caldecotte Lake were fairing during his absence!
I only had a short time so was only able to have a look at the ‘arm behind the pub’. The lake is now back to it’s normal level after the recent flooding but surprisingly there wasn’t many birds around…perhaps Keith has taken them all away with him?…a few Wigeon and Tufted Ducks, a few Coot and a couple of Mute Swans and in the distance three Grey Herons were having a bit of a set too, with quite a bit of squawking and chasing around going on, watching through the bino’s it appeared to be an adult bird giving grief to a couple of juveniles…time for them to be on their way, I guess?
A pair of Great Crested Grebe appeared not too far away doing some ‘head wagging’ unfortunately they didn’t get into the full ‘weed dance’ routine and seemed to lose interest after a while and drifted away.
K's Birds 8 GCG

I then spotted, close into the far bank, a male and two female Goosanders. I slowly moved down to the waters edge and tried to hide behind a small group of bushes in the hope that they would swim out into more open water. Eventually one of the females ventured a little closer.

K's Birds 3 Goosander

I don’t know what spooked them, perhaps they spotted me?…but all of a sudden they were up and away.

K's Birds 4 Goosander

There were lots of Black-Headed Gulls, some just cruising around….

K's Birds 1 BHG

…and others just loafing on the water.

K's Birds 2 BHG

A good many of them have started to acquire their brown head covering now.

In amongst the Black-Headed Gulls I spotted a couple of 1st. winter Common Gulls and as they flew around I noticed that they both had leg rings, I spent quite a few minutes attempting to get some images of them, I eventually, after almost melting the shutter on the camera!!, got some images where I could read the numbers on the rings. This one has a white ring on it’s right leg with 17EB on it, it also has a metal ring on it’s left leg.

K's Birds 7 C Gull

This one has a green ring on it’s right leg with JO59 on it, it also has a metal ring on it’s other leg.

K's Birds 6 C Gull

The same bird…resting!

K's Birds 5 C Gull

The next day I sent off the ring details to the Euring ring recovery service, the following morning I received an email from a Mr. Morten Helberg in Norway telling me that ‘JO59’ had been rung, presumably as a chick, at Tveitevannet Lake in Bergen Norway on 19th. August 2013 which is 1001Km (622 miles) from Caldecotte Lake although, apart from a few sightings as it travelled south through Norway, we don’t know where it’s been or how far it’s travelled in the interim.
It’s always interesting to get information on how far, and where, a particular bird has traveled from and to and also to know that, now my sighting has been logged, I’ll always be a small part of that bird’s history.
I’m still waiting on any info/news of the travels of  ‘17EB’…I’ll keep you informed if I hear anything.



ADRIAN said...

I hope you topped the feeders up.
Great shots as always. It's good to see you looking after Keith s patch did you swear at the boats for him?

douglas mcfarlane said...

Fascinating to hear about the gulls travels, a very quick response too.
I really the male and female goosander flight shot

The Herald said...

Thanks Adrian. Yeh, all the feeders were sorted.
It was almost time for swearing...capt'n Ahab from the sailing club was in the process of launching the RIB just as I was leaving!!...[;o)

Thanks Douglas. I was a bit disappointed that the Goosander shot wasn't a bit(lot) sharper, although not too bad for a grab shot, I guess?
I wasn't expecting such a quick reply with the Gull info, you can't beat that for service!...[;o)

Bob Bushell said...

Great photos, brilliant for you and Norway, long live all ringers.

The Herald said...

Thanks Bob.It's not bad...all that way from Norway and it's not one year old yet!...[;o)

Carole M. said...

I thought of 'while the cat's away, the mice will play' when I read about you stepping it out and about Keith's spot. Nice series Trevor, like those black-headed gulls and good one with the ringing and the report back, that would be quite a thrill

The Herald said...

Thanks Carole. Yeh, Keith is a decent chap, he does allow me to stray onto 'his patch' now and
I was quite pleased to get back the info on the gull...[;o)

Margaret Adamson said...

HI Trevor great that you sorted Keith's feeders for the birds. great to walk round the lake and you managed great shots especially the flight shot of the Goosanders. That was interesting to find where the gull was ringed and to know how far it has travelled. I wondered were Keith was as he has not blogged for some time. I am still on I.O.W. looking after the pup! etc etc.

The Herald said...

Margaret thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Keith sometimes lets me be in charge while he's!
Yeh, it was good to get some news back on the gull, I'm still hoping for some news of the other one!
I hope you're training that pup well?...[;o)

Roy Norris said...

Its always very interesting to find out about bird migration Trevor (fascinating subject).
You took some great flight shots of the female Goosander is really nice.
Hope you had permission to venture on to Keith's patch.

The Herald said...

Thanks Roy. It's always interesting to learn about bird migration and the distances they travel.
Yeh. Keith allows me onto his patch from time to long as I don't make a[;o)

grammie g said...

Hi Trevor... Good your checking up on the lake happening's with the Keith away!!
Those Goosander's are Mergansers here, you have to be different don't you : )!!
How interesting to find the ringed birds!! I always look at the legs on the birds I get shot's of hoping to find one!!


The Herald said...

Hi Grace...Somebody has to keep an eye on things around here while the main man is away enjoying
Now, if we weren't different think how boring things would be?
I'm always amazed at how far some birds have traveled in such a short time...[;o)

David Gascoigne said...

Great flight shots. I always have trouble getting decent pictures of birds in flight.

The Herald said...

Welcome David and thank you. Yeh, flight shots are a rather hit and miss affair!...[;o)