8 Nov 2012

Don't tell them your name Pike.

A classic Dad's Army sketch with Ian Lavender as the hapless Pike being berated by Captain Mainwaring played by Arthur Lowe. This was a Pike of  different nature. Jack.

Wit hone of our regular days ringing scheduled yesterday in Barry's garden in Burton I was expecting to handle a good number of birds but never anything fishy!

That changed when Barry appeared with a Pike, caught locally, that he wanted to photograph as part of his long term project to photograph every species of British fish! Problem was how to transfer a mean, lean piscine biting machine from a dustbin full of water to an aquarium for its modelling assignment?

Only one answer. Roll the sleeves up, risk getting a finger bitten off and grab it behind the gills keeping well away from the pointy bits in its mouth.

Photo courtesy of Barry Barnacal.

Being the youngest (!) with the fastest reflexes(!) the job fell to me. Actually it was quite docile and after its photo shoot it was quickly returned to a local pond. The finished photo looks pretty good!
Photo courtesy of Barry Barnacal.
As well as the piscine excitement there were plenty of birds to keep us busy as part of our study into survival rates of Blue Tits. Eleven species of bird were caught including two re-trap and two new Great Spotted Woodpeckers, two re-trap Nuthatches and a party of Long-tailed Tits.
Female Great Spot actually ringed in my garden recently.
The Long-tailed Tits were very interesting as three of them were re-traps from December 2011 when we caught a party of 9. The ring numbers were almost consecutive and between ringing they've dispersed, presumably bred and now flocked together again for the winter.
It was noticeable that the numbers of birds were generally down on previous years - especially Blue & Great Tit numbers. Its to early to say yet if this is due to a poor breeding season but hopefully our next two planned sessions over the winter will shed some light on this.
With a local twitch for a Black Redstart just a mile down the road a flyover Crossbill and several hundred yelping Pinkfeet overhead it was a memorable day. Thanks to Barry for the hospitality and the photos!
1st year female Goldfinch courtesy of Barry Barnacal

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