The last couple of weeks have been extremely quiet bird-wise and Ringing-wise, so myself and John have taken the opportunity to do some extensive land management on the main Ringing mound. This involves doing a lot of cutting back and thinning out of the existing foliage, enabling new growth to come through and also giving us the opportunity to plant a few new willows and other species when we get them. Given the size of the mound, its absolutely impossible to do the whole thing in one go so each year we do different sections in cycles. This winter we are working on the section closest to the entrance, and from the outside it looks like we've totally decimated the place, but come the spring it will all start to thicken out as the new growth emerges and in a couple of months it'll look great.
A couple of weeks ago we did get the chance to do an hour or so Ringing in Hoggy's garden, and although it was extremely quiet we did catch a very unusual Blackbird that had a partially white head!
And last weekend I managed to finally catch up with one of my favourite british birds, the Kingfisher, in Roker Park. I can't believe its taken me until december to see one of these birds, but I suppose thats the price of taking up Ringing!
Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending the North East Wildlife Recording Annual Conference at the Hancock Museum in Newcastle with Dougie, Dave and Mick. It's the first time I've attended this event and I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the whole day. It was a lot more informal and fun than I was expecting, which was a bit of a relief, as there's nothing worse than a boring stuffy serious bit of tedium to spoil your day!!! Thankfully it was nothing like that. The talks and subject matter were very diverse but very interesting, and included Moth species in industrial Teesside, conserving the regions population of Red Squirrels and the study of Adders in County Durham. But my absolute favourite talk was on Large House Spiders in the North East! It was a genuinely fascinating topic and something I could have listened to for hours. Aside from the talks it was lovely to see some familiar faces, such as Martin Kitching, Tom Tams and Clare Rawcliffe. We even had an hour or so to explore the museum itself after the event had finished. Having never been here before it was a delight to walk around, seeing some of the fabulous exhibitions. The only regret was we didnt have time to stay longer!