This morning foudn Myself, fellow trainee Ian Gardener and our trainer Seumus Eaves at Stanley park in Blackpool. Our aim was to catch and Colour ring Coot for a project being undertaken by Kane Brides on Coot movements in the north west of England. Nearly 200 have been ringed so far at various sights and if you are to come across any of these birds please find time to report them to Kane at the following address - firstname.lastname@example.org. So we set off to find the only unfrozen piece of water which the birds had kept clear by their sheer volume (Last night I had 70+ Tufted duck and 30+ Shoveler along with 128+ Coot, few dozen Mallard, lots of feral geese and a few Pochards.) This morning however there was not as many birds as last night however the Coot numbers seem to be quite stable at the minute! with around 200 birds spread between the park and the Mere. So with our bread and enthusiasm we began to feed the ducks, we caught and ringed 5 coot within the first hour (Not only because the birds were hungry but also because they were not used to being grabbed by the general passers by) So with 5 new coot caught we were all quite content and as the birds were not coming in close enough anymore we thought we would try to catch some gulls. The gulls thought better of it to be honest and really were not interested in our offerings at all, so this attempt unlike the previous was unsucessful.
After our session at the Park I decided to have a look on the Mere to see if anything out of the ordinary was happening today... And it was. I was greeted by the Sirens on the Wardens Van and their horn as they tried to get the attention of some absolute idiots who were Ice skating on the Mere! In fact she was more than old enough to know better (About 60). She came over to the wardens and argued about Autority and "Who was he to tell her what to do" he finest quote for me was "Well we're from the Netherlands, we just climb over fences!" her husband walked behind her Kicking at the ice underneath him to try and gage the thickness of it! Shame in my book that the ice didn't send a mighty crack infront of him so he would have learnt a lesson. Anyway after they were off the ice I went into the hide, Not much out of the ordinary in terms of species but behaviour was a bit different with Song thrush and Blackbird sat on the mere along with Jackdaw and crow. It is a bit surreal however I also feel for the birds as for how hard it must be just to survive in this recent weather! Cetti's Warbler shot across infront of the hide and a couple of people caught little more than a glimpse of it. 86 Coot on the ice today with only a very small area of open water which had a couple of hundred bathing gulls and around 150 mixed duck including Goldeneye, Pochard, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Tufted ducks! Evidence of the harsh conditions on the mere today with a Dead Herring gull which was providing some well needed Protein to some Coot which were not going to miss this opportunity! (I should have known they have a taste for meat after they scratched, bit and gouged at my arm as I tried to hold them steadyu to ring earlier in the morning) A couple of snipe on the ditch which had a bit of moving water in it probably also struggling to feed in this weather. Nothing else of note here so it was back home for me.
Back home I had a few more birds than usual in the garden including my second ever Redwing, a few Blue tit, Great tit, Song thrush, Blackbird, Robin, dunnock, Wrens, Starlings and House Sparrows also made the most of the feed. Lots of Starlings today however there was still not as many as in previous weeks so have some already fallen foul of the conditions? Let's hope not.