Monday 19 March 2018

Dear Readers,

Unfortunately, on 31/12/2016, Ivel Ringing Group closed. We will leave this blog as it is for the record. Group reports will continue to be available on the right hand side of the page (including the final group report when published).

Group members continue to ring on their sites on their own ring allocations.

Please be aware that links to other pages etc. will not be maintained in the future so may not work.

Thanks to everyone for their support of Ivel Ringing Group.

Tuesday 28 April 2015

April news

The year to date, ringing wise, has been reasonably productive. A good breeding season last summer and a mild winter (the second in a row) has helped survival of our resident and overwintering species.
This has been reflected at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) where a large number of Reed Buntings interspersed with good numbers of Yellowhammer have been seen in large mixed flocks around the hedgerows and near my netting area.

So far this year I have ringed 34 new Reed Buntings at SSNR (previous year high total was 10 last year and only 20 in total for the site). 9 Yellowhammers have also been ringed this year with 8 caught between September and December last year. None had been ringed on site prior to these. There were far more birds around than I ringed.
Above: A male Reed Bunting. Hopefully these birds will disperse and get reported elsewhere!
News came through recently that a Jay ringed on 06/09/14 was found dead at Freeby Wood, in Leicestershire 73 days later. A movement of 89km, in a NNW direction. This is only the second recorded movement of Jay for the Ivel Ringing Group (IRG). The only other record is of one found dead at Tempsford, 2 km away from the original ringing site in 1991.
There are resident Jays at SSNR, but whether this bird was resident or one that was already on migration will not be known. It does show though that Jays can be mobile during the Autumn/Winter in search of food and suitable wintering grounds. Not many Jays are normally ringed, so last years total of 8 at SSNR was exceptional.

Above: A Jay was retrapped 
This Jay was first ringed on 28/06/13 and retrapped approximately 1 year 9 months later - a new IRG longevity record. This was also the first Jay ringed on site. On the same day as this Jay was retrapped, I ringed a new Magpie (6th for SSNR) and 2 smelly Jackdaws!

Above: A Jackdaw
Below: A male Great Spotted Woodpecker

As I seem to be covering longevity records, the Great Spotted Woodpecker above, also became a site and IRG longevity record during April at 4 years and 1 month. This same bird was the previous record holder! Interestingly, it is only trapped during the breeding season. Perhaps it uses SSNR to breed and goes elsewhere for Autumn and Winter - or else it only needs a supplementary food source (nuts) whilst breeding. New site longevity records for Great Tit and Robin were also set this year. I expect a few more to tumble as the year progresses.
143 new birds of 24 species have so far been ringed at SSNR this year. When you add 'new for year' retraps to the total, 237 individual birds have been handled.
I have been less active at Priory Country Park so far this year, though 2 sessions - including the pre CES visit - were conducted recently. The pick of the birds was this one:

Above: A control (ringed elsewhere) female Blackcap 

The start of the Constant Effort season is only days away (it starts on Sunday) so I will be busy with 2 sites for the summer. Only time will tell what sort of weather will come our way and whether it will be a good breeding season or not. My fingers are definitely crossed in hope!

In other news, last year saw the Ivel Ringing Group database reach over 100,000 records! This is a major achievement for the group. Since 1990, a lot of dedicated volunteer ringers (and other helpers) have helped over the years, to monitor and increase our knowledge of birds on a local and national level. Thank you and well done to everyone.

Monday 12 January 2015

IRG Bird Ringing Report 2010 - 2013

Happy New Year to all our readers. We hope you had a good Christmas and New Year.
The IRG Bird Ringing Report 2010 - 2013 is now completed. You can view it by clicking here or by clicking on the link on the right hand side of this page.
We hope 2015 will be a bird filled year for you all!

Monday 17 November 2014

New for Year totals and a few recoveries

I have, quite rightly, been chided for not updating this blog in a quite a while - sorry for that. By way of an update on my ringing sites (Priory Country Park and Sandy Smith Nature Reserve) I feel it would be best to give you New for Year totals (for those unfamiliar with this phrase it gives a proven population total filtering out same year retraps).

Priory Country Park

Woodpigeon 2
Green Woodpecker 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker 2
Wren 26
Dunnock 41
Robin 25
Blackbird 31
Song Thrush 11
Reed Warbler 13
Whitethroat 19
Garden Warbler 29
Blackcap 148
Chiffchaff 41
Willow Warbler 2
Goldcrest 10
Long Tailed Tit 13
Blue Tit 85
Great Tit 60
Treecreeper 4
Magpie 2
Chaffinch 16
Goldfinch 8
Bullfinch 7

This comprises of 599 individual birds of 23 species. CES results are included in the totals - but so are non-CES results. All 12 CES visits were completed for the 4th year running. CES results this year were much improved on the previous two years, though not spectacular. The highlight being 4 Green Woodpeckers - normally we are lucky to catch 1 per year at this site - and a Blackbird first ringed in 2005 (a new IRG longevity record at an elderly 8 years, 312 days). Also of note were 10 Goldcrests caught before the arrival those of continental origins. An exceptional breeding year for the park.

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve

Mute Swan 1
Kingfisher 4
Green Woodpecker 2
Great Spotted Woodpecker 11
Meadow Pipit 1
Yellow Wagtail 1
Pied Wagtail 1
Wren 42
Dunnock 41
Robin 14
Stonechat 2
Blackbird 8
Song Thrush 5
Sedge Warbler 12
Reed Warbler 5
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Whitethroat 35
Garden Warbler 8
Blackcap 98
Chiffchaff 31
Willow Warbler 8
Goldcrest 6
Spotted Flycatcher 1
Long Tailed Tit 26
Marsh Tit 1
Coal Tit 7
Blue Tit 138
Great Tit 151
Nuthatch 4
Treecreeper 4
Jay 8
Magpie 4
Jackdaw 1
Chaffinch 20
Greenfinch 1
Goldfinch 4
Yellowhammer 1
Reed Bunting 5

This comprises of 713 individual birds of 38 species. All species new for the site this year are in bold (53 species have now been ringed on site & one - Mute Swan - with colour rings read). Of note - it was an extremely good year for catching Jays - at 8 new birds this is more than were caught in the entire county last year. Whitethroats had good numbers of adults around but didn't have a successful breeding season. The end of August & beginning of September were extremely good for high catch totals (150 being the highest of 3 sessions that went over 100).

Best bird status has to go to Stonechat. A juvenile male and female were ringed yesterday (16/11/14). The first in 20 years for the group - with just 3 previous records.

Above: Male and Female Stonechat.
More photographs of the Stonechats and a Pied Wagtail can be found on my blog here as well as other highlights of the year.
News of a few recoveries have filtered through as follows:
Blue Tit - V670579 - Ringed 28/05/12 at John O'Gaunt Golf Club. Recaptured 21/04/14 in Potton. A movement of 2 km, 693 days later.
Kestrel - EL36089 - Ringed 07/02/13 at Carlton. Road Casualy 21/09/14 in Chellington. A movement of 3 km, 591 days later.
Blue Tit - L302621 - Ringed 05/03/12 at Preston, Hertfordshire. Recaptured 12/04/14 Maydencroft Manor, Hertfordshire. A movement of 4 km, 768 days later.
Swallow - D044249  - Ringed 26/06/13 at Cardington. Ring read in field - 01/08/14 at Southill. A movement of 9 km, 401 days later.

Wednesday 30 July 2014

CES Update

Going by the overall numbers caught on each CES session at Priory Country Park this year, totals are up on 2012 and 2013 (which were 2 of the worst years in over 20 years of CES survey work here).

CES 1 - 04/05/14 - 15 (11) = 26 of 9 species
CES 2 - 18/05/14 - 8 (5) = 13 of 9 species
CES 3 - 31/05/14 - 19 (10) = 29 of 9 species
CES 4 - 08/06/14 - 19 (4) = 23 of 6 species
CES 5 - 19/06/14 - 15 (7) = 22 of 8 species
CES 6 - 30/06/14 - 20 (7) = 27 of 11 species
CES 7 - 06/07/14 - 25 (4) = 29 of 13 species
CES 8 - 20/07/14 - 40 (4) = 44 of 12 species
CES 9 - 27/07/14 - 42 (4) = 46 of 14 species

That adds up to 142 new birds and 56 recaptures = 198 handlings of 21 species.

Including an additional, pre CES session in April, the new for year totals so far are:

Green Woodpecker 3 (including a retrap adult from 2011& a juvenile)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (a juvenile)
Wren 24 (including one from 2012)
Dunnock 23 (including 2 from 2011)
Robin 19 (including 1 from 2011)
Blackbird 18 (including retraps from 2005, 2007 and 2008)
Song Thrush 4 (all new)
Reed Warbler 7 (all new)
Whitethroat 15 (including 2 from 2011)
Garden Warbler 21 (including 1 from 2010)
Blackcap 63 (including 1 from 2012)
Chiffchaff 17 (including 1 from 2011 - a new IRG longevity record - and a British ringed control)
Goldcrest 2 (2 juveniles)
Long Tailed Tit 3 (including 1 from 2011)
Blue Tit 15 (including 1 from 2011)
Great Tit 16 (including 1 from 2010 and 2 from 2011)
Treecreeper 1 (all new)
Magpie 2 (2 juveniles)
Chaffinch 3 (including 1 from 2011)
Goldfinch 1 (all new)
Bullfinch 5 (including 1 from 2013)

A successful ringing demonstration was given to the guided bird walk on CES 9. They saw a wide range of species from Reed Warbler and Blackcap, to Blue Tit and Blackbird. The best though, was a juvenile Green Woodpecker.

I've just about managed to get each session in (it was nip and tuck for a couple due to other commitments & the weather) and I'm hoping to make each of the next 3, which will make 4 consecutive years of complete visits. Hopefully the increase in numbers will continue and the weather will hold good.

Saturday 31 May 2014

May Update

May has been a busy month for the birds whether they've been constructing nests, incubating eggs or feeding young (or all 3!). With the mild winter and good weather through April into May, there were signs aplenty that young would be fledging from the nest early this year. But has it proved to be that way?

Ringing results so far this year at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve:
(species that I can expect to catch juveniles)

Great Spotted Woodpecker = 8 adults, 0 juveniles
Wren = 8 adults, 0 juveniles
Dunnock = 5 adults, 2 juveniles (28/05/14 - earliest site record, previous 12/06/11)
Robin = 1 adult, 0 juveniles
Blackbird = 5 adults, 0 juveniles
Sedge Warbler = 10 adults, 0 juveniles
Whitethroat = 16 adults, 0 juveniles
Garden Warbler = 6 adults, 0 juveniles
Blackcap = 15 adults, 0 juveniles
Chiffchaff = 7 adults, 0 juveniles
Goldcrest = 0 adults, 1 juvenile (29/05/14 - earliest site record, previous 21/09/13)
Long Tailed Tit = 6 adults, 2 juveniles (29/05/14 - earliest site record, previous 28/06/13)
Blue Tit = 10 adults, 0 juveniles
Great Tit = 10 adults, 6 juveniles (29/05/14 - earliest site record, previous 30/05/11)
Chaffinch = 7 adults, 0 juveniles

The highlight amongst the above was the juvenile Goldcrest which was only the 2nd local juvenile ringed here after one last year. All the other Goldcrests are probable migrants caught much later in the year.

Above: Juvenile Goldcrest

Above: Another highlight was this adult Jay (2nd ringed at SSNR).

Below: As well as this Kingfisher

Ringing results so far this year at Priory Country Park:
(species that I can expect to catch juveniles - CES visits only)

Green Woodpecker = 1 adult, 0 juveniles
Wren = 9 adults, 0 juveniles
Dunnock = 6 adults, 2 juveniles (31/05/14 - earliest = 11/05/09)
Robin = 1 adult, 4 juveniles (18/05/14 - earliest = 04/05/09)
Blackbird = 5 adults, 0 juveniles
Song Thrush = 2 adults, 0 juveniles
Whitethroat = 4 adults, 0 juveniles
Garden Warbler = 8 adults, 0 juveniles
Blackcap = 18 adults, 3 juveniles (31/05/14 - earliest = 25/05/07)
Chiffchaff = 7 adults, 0 juveniles
Long Tailed Tit = 2 adults, 0 juveniles
Blue Tit = 5 adults, 4 juveniles (31/05/14 - earliest = 22/05/11)
Great Tit = 4 adults, 0 juveniles
Bullfinch = 2 adults, 0 juveniles

There have been other highlights of the CES ringing sessions. A male blackbird, first ringed on 15/10/2005 was recaptured on 18/05/2014, 8 years and 215 days later. This sets a new longevity record for the site and for Ivel Ringing Group.

Above: This Chiffchaff is a British ringed control caught on 18 & 31/05/14.
First ringing details not yet known.

Above: A juvenile Robin

Despite the recent heavy rains, I'm optomistic that this will still turn out to be a good breeding year. It's still early in the year and there's a lot more juveniles to catch up with on both these sites.

Friday 18 April 2014

Migrants & Breeding

With migrating birds still coming in (or yet to arrive in some species cases), some of those that have arrived are already getting down to business building nests and breeding. Resident species are also doing the same.

A pre-CES session on Wednesday at Priory Country Park, Bedford produced the following:

Green Woodpecker 0 (1) - 2 years, 315 days (from 2011)

Wren 3 (2) - including one from 2012
Dunnock 0 (4) - including one from 2011
Robin 1 (0)
Blackbird 1 (0)
Song Thrush 2 (0)
Blackcap 6 (1) - including a control
Chiffchaff 1 (1) - retrap from 2011
Long Tailed Tit 1 (1) - retrap from 2011
Blue Tit 3 (1) - retrap from 2011
Great Tit 1 (1)
Chaffinch 2 (0)
Bullfinch 1 (0)

I was struck by the number of females already well advanced with brood patches and in egg. Already in egg were: Long Tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Dunnock Brood patches were present in: Song Thrush, Blackcap, Blackbird, Chaffinch.

If the weather stays good, we could be in for a good breeding season.