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.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

A return to action

The start of 2014 was a bit windy and a wash out, meaning not many ringers were able to put any mist nets up. I've also been busy elsewhere but I've managed to find a bit of free time coinciding with ringable weather so a couple of early morning starts at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve have produced the following (retraps in brackets).

Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 (3) - 4 different birds (including an IRG & site longevity record at 3 years and 15 days)
Wren 0 (2)
Dunnock 0 (5) - including a site longevity record at 3 years, 25 days
Blackbird 1 (0) - a breeding female with a advanced brood patch (code 3)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Chiffchaff 1 (0) - the first of the spring migrants
Long Tailed Tit 1 (1) - see photographs below
Blue Tit 1 (3)
Great Tit 1 (4)
Chaffinch 2 (1)

10 new birds and 19 retraps (29 handlings, 26 different birds).

There was one bird that went away unringed - that's because we are forbidden to ring this game species:

Above: A Red-Legged Partridge

Red-Legged Partridges, if they do stray into mist nets, would be more likely to leave a hole than to stay in. This one, after having a photo taken, was released and left to go on its merry way.

A much more regularly caught bird, the Long Tailed Tit, threw up another surprise as you can see:


Above & Below: Long Tailed Tit


This bird still retained some pigmentation, but was remarkably pale all over. It was caught along with a regularly coloured bird (presumably a pair) and had a better weight, though the colour of the bird does not effect it's ability to feed. It may provide it with more camouflage during the snowy times though!

Friday, 23 August 2013

Recent recoveries

Here is a list of recent recoveries that Ivel Ringing Group has received: LESSER REDPOLL, ringed Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (Bedfordshire) 24/11/12, controlled Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire 05/05/13. 275 km, 162 days, NNW. SISKIN, ringed Sandy Smith Nature Reserve 08/12/12, controlled Callander, Stirling 530 km, 154 days, NNW. SISKIN, ringed Wibrin, Luxembourg, BELGIUM 24/02/12, controlled Sandy Smith Nature Reserve 08/08/12. 474km, 288 days, WNW. REED BUNTING, ringed Sandy Smith Nature Reserve 26/05/12, field observation Southill, (Bedfordshire) 12/04/13. 6 km, 321 days, NE. MAGPIE, ringed Chalton STW (Bedfordshire) 29/09/12, road casualty, Haynes (Bedfordshire) 10/03/13. 14 km, 162 days, NNE. CHAFFINCH, ringed Everton (Bedfordshire) 07/08/11, found dead, Little Paxton 10/03/13. 12 km, 581 days, N. BLUE TIT, ringed Carlton (Bedfordshire) 22/10/12, controlled Olney, Milton Keynes 19/05/13. 8 km, 209 days. SWALLOW, ringed Marston Moretaine (Bedfordshire) 02/09/12, controlled Rainworth, Nottinghamshire 14/05/13. 125 km, 254 days.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Eager to learn

By Martin A:

I gave a talk to the Eversholt Beaver pack on Monday 3rd June.

Twenty Beavers, all 6 and 7 years old, came to my ringing station which happens to be in my back garden. Unfortunately, due to the strengthening breeze, I only managed to catch them two Greenfinch but they were an adult male and female so I was able to show them the differences.

The Beavers showed just how eager they were to learn and asked some great questions!

I also showed them a Coal Tit nest and pictures of the eggs and the adult bird. We talked about putting up bird boxes and what to feed the birds.


 Above & below: Martin (dark blue top) shows the Eversholt Beaver pack a Greenfinch.


After half an hour the Beavers had to go. I hope a good time was had by all.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Marston Vale Millennium Country Park - Saturday 1st June

A late morning session at the Millennium Country Park in Marston Moretaine produced some quality results.

Reed Warbler - 1st of two controls caught
Totals ringed/retrapped/controlled were:

Dunnock                - / 1 / -
Sedge Warbler      3 / - / -
Reed Warbler        4 / - / 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1 / - / -
Whitethroat             - / 2 / -
Long-tailed Tit        1 / 1 / -
Blue Tit                   - / 1 / -
TOTAL                   9 / 5 / 2

Lesser Whitethroat - adult female
Both of the Reed Warbler controls had BTO rings; it will be interesting to see where they were ringed.

Aside from the ringing, there was a lot of noise from Water Rails in the reed bed - it sounded like several young birds were calling; there were also many Swifts hunting very low over the reeds; groups of young Starlings were dashing around calling loudly.



Wednesday, 22 May 2013

CES 2 and other sessions

On Saturday, CES session 2 was run at Priory Country Park as follows:

Wren 1 (1)
Dunnock 1 (4) - two of the retraps from 2010
Reed Warbler 2 (0)
Whitethroat 1 (1)
Garden Warbler 1 (0)
Blackcap 0 (2) - one of the retraps was from 2011
Long Tailed Tit 1 (0)
Blue Tit 1 (0)

7 new & 9 retraps = 16 birds of 8 species.

Averages for CES 2 are 15 new and 6 retraps. Thus, CES 2 this year (as CES 1) is showing fewer new birds than average but more retraps than average. I am told there are fewer Chiffchaffs around than normal and none have yet been ringed on CES.

On Friday and Sunday, I did a couple of sessions at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve which proved worthwhile.


Above: A control Common Whitethroat

Friday brought the following birds:

Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (1)
Dunnock 0 (1)
Blackbird 0 (1)
Whitethroat 2 (3) including a control
Garden Warbler 1 (1)
Blue Tit 0 (3)
Chaffinch 3 (0)
Greenfinch 1 (0)
Goldfinch 1 (0)

Sunday brought a few more birds:

Dunnock 0 (1)
Sedge Warbler 0 (1)
Whitethroat 2 (2)
Garden Warbler 0 (2)
Blackcap 3 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (2)
Coal Tit 0 (1)
Blue Tit 0 (1)
Great Tit 0 (2)
Chaffinch 0 (2)
Greenfinch 1 (0)
Lesser Redpoll 1 (0)


Above: An unseasonal and suprise Lesser Redpoll. Perhaps there is still some movement of this species going on, perhaps it's staying around.

A few of the birds also added to the longevity records for the site (including Whitethroat, Blue Tit & Great Tit). I don't normally catch Greenfinch here so 4 new ones recently is good.


Also seen at SSNR were a flock of 7 Linnets. I managed this rather poor photograph (above) before they departed.