Monday, 10 February 2014

Weekend roundup

This weekend was typically busy and involved a lot of travelling. After a busy day on Friday, I packed the car with 4 boxes full of uni stuff (I'm starting to move out), and then headed over to Chris' in Ormskirk. We spent the night there and most of Saturday too. I spent the morning sorting out all my ringing details for my C permit application, not an easy task!

We then drove to my farm in Shropshire in the evening, which is conveniently close to the place where Chris was having his interview for Bardsey the next day. A nice, quiet, evening in with my parents was much welcomed after a busy week.

Sunday morning was a drive over to Penkridge for Chris' interview. Thankfully it went very well, and he's now just waiting to hear back. Fingers crossed! We then drove back to mine for a quick cup of tea before I dropped Chris off at the station, for him to head up to Dumfries (guess neither of us can sit still for long). I then spent the rest of the day with mum and dad, and helped mum sort out her new iPad. This was classically entertaining, with many wrong buttons pressed, but I think she's got the hang of it. I left there at 19:30 and was back in Bangor for 21:30. A quick car unpack, shower, room sort and prepare for the morning was all I had time for, before my brain totally gave out and I got some sleep.

This morning was a 6am start for my first February ringing session! Despite some unwelcome drizzle, we had a good session with ~50-60 birds. Conor (new trainee) managed to make it along this morning, and I think he thoroughly enjoyed the experience. He's one of the keen birders from the uni, and I'm glad I've helped him get into ringing. I'm hoping he'll be the replacement chairman of the Uni Birding group once I'm gone, as well as taking over the BTO Student Ambassador role, and my nest recording site in Abergwyngregyn. The ringing session itself did wonders for boosting my confidence, and consolidated the fact that I feel ready for my C permit. 

So, after a long weekend, I've travelled ~400 miles, and suspect it'll be the same again next weekend with a trip down to Cheltenham to meet the team I'll be working with on Skomer.

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Ringing update

Whilst looking through my ringing records tonight, I discovered that I'd somehow managed to omit Nuthatch from my overall species list. This means that the Little Grebe I hand caught whilst lamping on the 23rd January was actually my 75th species ringed! I just thought it was nice that my first lamped bird bought my ringing diversity to such a nice total number.

Also I'm pleased to say I'm currently filling in my C permit application. Hopefully I'll be an official, full C permit holder by the end of the month, at the latest!

Weekly round up

After a great night out on Friday (31st) to celebrate getting the Skomer job, Saturday was a day for catching up on odd jobs and then getting my weekly climbing session in with Adrienne Stratford. We've both improved a lot since we became climbing partners in late December. I can now comfortably lead 5c routes and have even managed 2 6a routes too. Not bad considering 1 1/2 months ago I struggled with 4c routes. (Apologies to non-climbers, that probably made no sense!).

Sunday was a beautifully sunny day so Zac, Conor, Hamza and myself went for a lovely birding walk around the Bangor area. This resulted in 74 BirdTrack records, of 42 species and 4 complete lists. Highlights of the day were 4 Goosander at close range, a great tree climb, much birding banter and 20 more UBC records. 

Monday was a day trip to John Moores Uni to help Kelvin Jones give a BTO talk to some of the 2nd year biological students, my first external trip as BTO Student Ambassador. I found the talk fascinating, and at least a few of the students seemed quite responsive to the idea of volunteering with the BTO. Hopefully by educating them now, some of them will come back to volunteer with us in the future. It was also good fun seeing what (at least part of) Kelvin's Development Coordinator role involves. There's such a diversity of roles within the BTO, and it was nice to see this side of the organisation, rather than my standard ringing / surveying involvement.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday have all been uni work days. I have managed to sneak in some birding along the way, and have added another 19 records to UBC BirdTrack. Zac and I are keeping the record / species rate high and are hoping to win these two categories this year! Also had another good climbing session and am really making physical and mental progress's a shame I won't be able to climb with Adrienne once I get on Skomer :-(

The weekend (plus Friday) is going to be another busy one, with a blood donation, lectures, driving to Chris' on Friday and then over to mine on Saturday night to take my first load of luggage back home (starting the moving out process). Then I'll drop Chris at his Bardsey interview on Sunday before spending the day with my parents and then back to Bangor! Lets hope the wind and rain don't stop me!