Last night, Lloyd and I checked a load of Dipper roost sites along the whole length of the Red Lake (a river!) in Shropshire. This annual roost monitoring is currently taking place at more than 250 traditional roost sites, throughout multiple river catchments, in Shropshire and Mid-Wales and is giving us great information on adult and nestling survival rates, juvenile dispersal distances and weight data. This work compliments our summer pulli ringing and RAS project (which is completed mostly through resightings of these winter-caught colour-ringed birds).
The roost visits are limited to once or twice a winter depending on whether birds are missed on the first visit. Currently nearly 100 of the 250 roosts have been counted and 92 birds have been handled from the 115 present. Early indications are that juvenile survival has been good and numbers present overall are a bit higher this year than for several years. As usual, many roosts were empty and most had either 1 or 2 birds but one held an exceptional 11 birds! We will obviously know more when we have completed the survey and will keep you posted.
One of the 30 Dippers handled last night and almost appropriate!
A couple of nights ago, on the way home from catching Golden Plovers, I came across a new species for the group standing in the middle of the road - after a moments hesitation I decided against ringing it!
The owners of this cracking bird were very pleased (and surprised) to get her back the following day and she is now safely re-instated with the rest of her gaggle. Although pinioned (as required by law apparently) she still managed to fly so they were keen to know how on earth I had managed to catch her! "A trade secret I'm afraid"!