Tom’s Blog

Roller ring recoveries

Posted by on Aug 10, 2016 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Our recent analysis of Roller ring recoveries has just been published in the Journal of Ornithology! It’s open access – take a look here. I started thinking about ring recoveries after we’d successfully tracked Rollers to and from their south African non-breeding grounds using solar geolocators (see the paper here). Although this revealed a great deal about the annual movements of Rollers from across Europe, the picture was still incomplete. Because geolocators are archival (i.e. they don’t transmit data), they must...

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Roussillon Update 1

Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

Hello! Here’s update #1 from Roussillon, where I’m spending the third and final field season of my PhD. We arrived 2 weeks ago after the long drive south from Norwich, during which the scenery (and weather) gradually changed from British to Mediterranean (thanks to Jenn for making the voyage a bit more bearable). It was dark by the time we pulled into the campsite, and we came close to spending a night in the car (sorry Jenn…) but fortunately the campsite owner was around to let us into our accommodation – a fairly comfortable...

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Spring Update 2015

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in News | 0 comments

The website You might have noticed (he said, hopefully) a couple of changes to the website – I’ve updated the ‘Roller‘ page a bit (including a sound recording from Xeno Canto) and added an ‘About Us’ page, which at the minute only contains a link to my CV (which is unrecognisable from the one I did 3 years ago – that’s Personal and Professional Development for you..) My next job is to update the ‘Project’ page, which was originally written in my first year. Since then my plans...

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First Paper Submitted!

Posted by on Apr 14, 2015 in News | 0 comments

At the end of January it was a relief to finally submit the first paper of my PhD – “A pan-European, multi-population assessment of migratory connectivity in a near-threatened migrant bird“. As the title suggests, this paper is about migration – probably the only chapter of my thesis which will focus on goings-on away from the breeding grounds. In addition to the 4 & 6 geolocators we got back from Latvia and France, I incorporated new tracking data from Cyprus (hat-tip to Phil), Montenegro & Austria (from...

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Autumn Update

Posted by on Nov 9, 2014 in News | 0 comments

It’s been almost 3 months since I left Latvia, having completing field season #2. After what seemed like a good start to the breeding season, a spell of poor weather resulted in massive chick mortality. This resulted in only 6 successful Roller nests (out of 19 known attempts) and 15 fledglings (out of 73 known eggs). So, quite tragic, as well as reducing the sample size for several of my planned analyses. Here’s a bit of what I’ve been up to since then: Stable Isotopes A very dull three weeks were spent in the lab preparing insect and...

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Life and Death

Posted by on Jul 12, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

A lot has happened since I last posted an update, and unfortunately there’s not much good news. Not good weather for Rollers The cool wet weather which coincided with hatching – when the chicks are bald and at their most ‘vulnerable’, (Springwatch parlance) – has taken a heavy toll. Out of 20 original nests, 14 have failed, leaving just 6 known nests in all Latvia. It’s likely that we missed a few nests in Black Woodpecker holes, but there’s little activity around them any more, suggesting that these...

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Tags and Things

Posted by on Jun 26, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

Roller Chicks The first chicks hatched in Latvia in mid June, and by now pretty much all eggs have hatched out. Out of the 55 eggs found so far in Silakrogs and Garkalne, a minimum of 8 (including a whole clutch of 3) failed to hatch for one reason or another. Predation on Roller eggs appears to be mercifully low this year. Unfortunately, however, the cold wet weather of late has led to some early chick mortality – so far we have 7 dead chicks from 4 nestboxes, including a whole brood of 3. UPDATE (Sunday 29th): we have lost an...

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Update from Latvia

Posted by on Jun 8, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

A normal year for Rollers We now have 14 pairs of Rollers on eggs across the three sub-sites of the relict Latvian population. Below is a graph (a graph!) of my preliminary estimates of first egg dates for these 14 clutches, showing what looks like a bell-shaped curve, with some points missing from the right-hand side. According to some basic territory mappings, there are still at least 7 pairs for whom I don’t yet have a nest. Some of these may already be breeding in black woodpecker holes, and some will certainly make up the tail-end of...

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News from Le Sud

Posted by on Jun 5, 2014 in Fieldwork, News | 0 comments

(Here’s the latest from Harriet & Claire, who are currently studying the Rollers of Roussillon, southern France) “We’ve been enjoying life in the South of France for 5 weeks now, so thought it was time for an update! Habitat Mapping The first week mostly consisted of us trying to remember our way round the field site, every vineyard looks the same! To try and prevent us from getting lost too often we started with the habitat mapping. This consisted of updating the maps that Tom produced last year and classifying every field...

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Late May Roundup

Posted by on May 25, 2014 in Fieldwork, News, Photos | 0 comments

France First, news from le Sud! Harriet and Claire (more from them soon, hopefully) have recently confirmed the first few clutches of Roller eggs in Roussillon. They also have a few more unidentified clutches, belonging either to Little Owl or Roller, which will be confirmed in due course when they find out who’s incubating. These first clutches will hatch in mid June, giving the girls chance to do some chick-stage stuff (PIT tags – yay!) before they have to return to Norwich for dissertation fun. Insects This week I will start my...

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