Monday, 3 December 2012

A good start to December

Finally, a weekend without rain and it proved to be worthwhile getting out of bed!

Above: A female Blackcap. In all, I caught 4 Blackcaps (3 at Priory including the female above) and a female at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) that had a Strasbourg ring on its leg! More about the session at SSNR can be found here.

Above: An adult male Kestrel. Seen, unusually (perhaps because of floods and icy conditions), around the ringing area at Priory Country Park (PCP) all day. It got some bling & it then continued to spend the rest of the day in the area but keeping a respectful distance this time! Only the second to be ringed at this site (the other in 2003). More about this session can be found here.

More Lesser Redpolls were ringed at SSNR & PCP. 2 Song Thrushes were rare for SSNR and A good number of new Blackbirds were ringed at both sites.

Finally, a Chiffchaff ringed at SSNR on 15/07/12 was controlled in Letchworth on 27/08/12 - 43 days later. A movement of 11km in an ESE direction.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

No corny jokes please!

A roost catch produced 29 birds this evening and included this beauty (a female on size):

Above & Below: A Corn Bunting.

Only one was caught (catching this species is notorioiusly difficult) but I learnt several things from this experiment (the net rides were not new but I'd not used them at dusk before). Thanks go to Mike for helping out on short notice.

This species is depicted on the Ivel Ringing Group logo so it's about time we started catching them again.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Recent Highlights

The weather is still interfering with operations and as the rain stopped play today, I've taken the chance to update my records and go through photographs.

Above: A male Siskin, one of 3 caught this autumn at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR). The rest of the flock (50 +) is proving as ellusive as always!

Above: A male Lesser Redpoll ringed at SSNR.

This autumn, I have more than doubled the number Lesser Redpoll ringed at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (11 previous + 19 new = 30) AND at Priory Country Park (10 previous + 18 new = 28). One of the Lesser Redpoll's caught at Priory already had a ring on it from elsewhere (I won't find out where for a while yet).

Above: A Goldcrest, a new species for the ringing list at SSNR. Why this species hasn't been ringed here before is a puzzle. Perhaps it's just down to luck.

Above: An October sunset at SSNR from where I park my ringing station!

So far this year (last year in brackets), of 896 (1411) handlings at Priory Country Park, 711 (1016) have been new for the year and of those 585 (868) have been new birds. Effort this year so far = 30 sessions (26 last year).

So far this year (last year in brackets), of 710 (999) handlings at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve, 462 (738) have been new for year and of those 386 (693) have been new birds. Effort this year so far = 32 sessions (36 last year).

I'm not going to worry last years totals, but there's still a good few weekends left between now and the new year (though having my bird feeders at Priory stolen isn't going to help the birds or my totals).

Sunday, 7 October 2012


It seems as though priorities have been elsewhere for us IRG bloggers in the latter half of the summer and moving into the Autumn. I have time to briefly redress that situation:

CES sessions at Priory Country Park were conducted, ALL 12 of them + 3 extra! Bad weather, what bad weather? Joking aside, it's not been easy to fit them in and because of the weather, we've been successful in not catching lots of birds. Overall one of the worst in 20 years but not a complete disaster.

Priory Country Park produced a very late Reed Warbler yesterday and a Jay (only the second to be ringed here). Last week it produced a Woodpigeon and a retrap Green Woodpecker (first ringed in 2011).

Ringing at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve in Septmeber added Goldcrest (2) to the ringed list for the site. 44 species have now been ringed there.

Those are my highlights. Hopefully, the winter will continue to bring more!

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Juvenile production

Occupying the thoughts of many a ringer is how is the breeding season going. Not well is the simple answer but what is the evidence?

With this in mind, I thought I'd compare juvenile numbers so far this year with the same time last year (breeding season up until 22nd July both years). This incorporates data collected from Priory Country Park & Sandy Smith Nature Reserve. Effort at Priory CP (11 visits both years) has been the same but effort at Sandy Smith NR has been less (4 compared to 8 last year) due to the weather. Neither site has been flooded (i.e. under water), just extremely damp at times!

2012 juvenile totals are given first, 2011 juvenile totals in brackets:

Blackbird 7 (2)
When I first saw this I was surprised. Now I've thought about it, I'd speculate that worms etc. are easier to find in the wet (they come to the surface). Food is therefore easier to find, resulting in better productivity. Surprise gone.

Blackcap 14 (27)
About half the numbers. The local weather is surely affecting the availability of food and ability of the adults to keep eggs warm/feed youngsters as well as themselves.

Blue Tit 24 (43)
Reports I've heard from nest recorders say many breeding attempts showed much reduced brood sizes or failures. Though I have ringed 24 juveniles so not a complete disaster. Those that did fledge seem to be finding food inbetween the deluges!

Bullfinch 1 (1)
Perhaps a little early to tell. 2 very different seasons weather wise and totals come out the same. Mmmm?

Chaffinch 2 (12)
Adults and youngsters alike are hard to come by. Mainly caught at feeders at Sandy Smith NR. Weather must be having an affect.

Chiff Chaff 12 (15)
A small reduction. A small change such as this is too small to draw any conclusions from as small changes in weather, food availability etc on any given day can change what we catch.

Dunnock 10 (29)
Significantly down on last year. Again, the weather must be having an affect.

Garden Warbler 2 (5)
Again, a small reduction but I've caught fewer adults this year (13) compared to last year (22). Productivity could be down because there are fewer adults around to breed and/or the weather.

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (1)
No change.

Great Tit 36 (47)
A decline here also, but fairing better than Blue Tits. Great Tits share a very similar breeding  season with Blue Tits but have faired a little bit better.

Long Tailed Tit 2 (10)
I just don't seem to be catching many Long Tailed Tits at all.

Reed Warbler 5 (9)
As relatively late breeders, the picture is not entirely clear however there ought to be more juveniles about by now if they were having a good year. Effort this year has included a session by the reedbeds at Priory CP (where as last year didn't), proving that the decline is significant. Brood patches on adult females trapped are showing they are still breeding and/or beginning to stop.

Robin 13 (25)
Robins have had several good years in a row at Priory Country Park. Indications are that this is a significant decline & it's easy to blame the affects of weather on food availablity.

Sedge Warbler 3 (4)
Similar to last year. All caught at Sandy Smith NR, effort here has been less in 2012 due to the weather.

Song Thrush 3 (1)
An increase, but is it significant?

Treecreeper 3 (0)
Another species showing better in 2012. They are present in small numbers at Priory CP, and 3 juveniles caught within 1 week represents good value for the breeding season.

Whitethroat 4 (77)
A massive decline in 2012. 2011 was a significantly good season for Whitethroat - as an example a visit on 2nd July 2011 to Sandy Smith NR, 37 juveniles were caught in one session. So far, this year, only 4 juveniles were caught there and the adults are now moulting & have more than likely given up breeding.

Wren 12 (10)
A slight improvement in 2012. No evidence here that the weather has caused them any difficulties.

This time last year I had also caught juveniles of Coal Tit (1), Goldfinch (4), Grasshopper Warbler (1), Greenfinch (1), Marsh Tit (1) and Willow Warbler (1). The increased diversity of species caught supports the theory that last year was a much better breeding year.

To put this in a bit of context:

a) This is not official scientific fact and is just my own speculation based on ringing data & totals that I have collected (with some help from other ringers).
b) The effect of weather on breeding can be highly localised (it could be raining at Priory CP but dry at Sandy Smith NR for example!). This data may or may not reflect national trends in juvenile productivity.
c) I am not making any comparison between the sites. Habitats are different for a start!
d) The breeding season is not yet over. August (traditionally when we catch the most juveniles) will really show how well the breeding season has gone. If the weather turns good, it could still turn out well for the birds.... well, we can hope!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Avoiding bad weather

The weather has been dominating proceedings recently. Wet and/or windy has been the theme of the weekends (mostly) whilst midweek (while I've been at work), the conditions have been more conducive to ringing.

This last weekend, a lot of time was spent twiddling thumbs and worrying about next weekends weather, so when an opportunity came up to take the day off today (with the wind and rain on a short holiday from Bedfordshire) I jumped at the chance.

A session at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve on Tuesday 26th produced 29 bird - 24 new and 5 retraps. In order of appearance & retraps in brackets they were as follows:

Sedge Warbler 4 (1) - 3 of the new birds were juveniles not long fledged (1J's)
Chaffinch 2 (0) - one of which was a juvenile
Whitethroat 3 (2) - one of the new bird was a juvenile
Great Tit 7 (0) - 4 of these were juveniles
Blackcap 4 (0) - 3 adult males and one adult female
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (1) - one new juvenile and one retrap male in heavy moult
Starling 2 (0) - two adults, the second of which was in heavy moult
Blue Tit 1 (0) - a juvenile
Dunnock 0 (1) - a retrap female with a good brood patch.

 Above: A juvenile (1J) Sedge Warbler

Above: A juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker 

Above: David with a ringing tick - an adult Starling. This was one of two caught today - these being only the second and third ringed at the site.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

CES Visit 5 - Priory Country Park

Todays bird ringing session - CES visit 5 at Priory Country Park - was dominated by juvenile birds.

41 birds of 13 species, 32 new & 9 retraps (retraps in brackets).

Chiffchaff 4 (2) - 5 of these were juveniles
Great Tit 4 (0) - all 4 juveniles
Wren 1 (1)
Blue Tit 7 (0) - all 7 juveniles
Long Tailed Tit 1 (0) - a juvenile
Bullfinch 1 (0) - a juvenile
Dunnock 1 (2) - of these 2 were juveniles (the other being a retrap adult)
Blackbird 4 (0) - 4 new juveniles
Robin 2 (1) - including 1 new juvenile
Blackcap 4 (2) - including 1 new juvenile
Greenfinch 1 (0)
Chaffinch 1 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0) - a juvenile

That's a total of 27 juveniles. Here are some of the cast:

Above: A juvenile Blackbird on the left and an adult female on the right for comparison.

Above: A juvenile Song Thrush - note all the thorn shaped markings on the wing.

Above: A juvenile Chiffchaff.

Above: A juvenile Robin (left) and adult Robin (right) for comparison. It will be a while yet before the baby Robin gets its own red breast - it has to replace and grow more feathers before that happens.

Above: A juvenile Bullfinch

Last weekend, we made a visit to 'the crescent' where we caught 20 different adult Reed Warblers moving between the reed bed and surrounding vegetation. Of the other 10 birds we caught, of only note was our first juvenile Blackcap of the year at this site.

Now to hope the wind dies down a bit so I can make the most of my weekend ringing activities.

Late news of CES 3 & 4

CES 3 - Priory Country Park (27/05/12) - Total 17 = 6 new, 11 retraps
Dunnock 0 (4)
Blackcap 0 (1)
Reed Warbler 2 (0)
House Sparrow 1 (0) - the first one ringed in the Rough since Oct 2008
Robin 2 (1) - including 2 juveniles (not the first of the year)
Blue Tit 0 (1)
Garden Warbler 1 (0)
Whitethroat 0 (2) - including a retrap from 2007
Wren 0 (2)

Last year CES 3 at Priory CP (22/05/12) we had a total of 26 birds. Included in this catch were juvenile Blue Tits and Dunnocks. The bad weather seems to have made the juveniles fledge later this year.

CES 3 - The Thorns - Total 26 = 14 new, 12 retraps

Jay 1 (0) an adult female with brood patch

Long-tailed Tit 1 (2)
Wren 1 (1)
Great Tit 2 (1) - two new youngsters
Garden Warbler 2 (1) looking like a good season for these
Blackcap 5 (2) … and these
Chaffinch 1 (0)
Blue Tit 1 (0)
Chiffchaff 0 (1)
Whitethroat 0 (1)
Dunnock 0 (2)
Robin 0 (1)

CES 4 - Priory Country Park (05/06/12) - Total 19 = 11 new, 8 retraps
Blackcap 1 (2)
Chiffchaff 4 (2) - including 3 juveniles (first of this species this year)
Robin 2 (0)
Chaffinch 0 (2)
Dunnock 2 (0) - First juveniles of this species this year
Wren - 1 (1)
Whitethroat - 0 (1)
Blue Tit - 1 (0) - First juvenile of this species this year

Last year CES 4 at Priory CP (05/06/12) we had a total of 47 birds. Included in this catch were juvenile Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Great Tits, Long Tailed Tits, Chaffinch and Coal Tit. Further evidence to support that the juveniles are fledging later this year.

CES 4 - The Thorns - Total 30 = new, retraps

Kestrel 1 (0)
Dunnock 1 (2)
Robin 1 (0)
Blackbird 0 (1)
Lesser Whitethroat 2 (0)
Whitethroat 0 (2)
Garden Warbler 0 (1)
Blackcap 3 (1)
Chiffchaff 0 (1)
Long-tailed Tit 4 (1)
Great tit 1 (0)
Treecreeper 0 (1)
Chaffinch 3 (0)
Bullfinch 4 (0)

Thanks to Guy & Chris for the totals from The Thorns.

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Late news of CES visit 2 results

Priory Country Park (13/05/12) 13 new, (12 retraps) as follows:

Garden Warbler 2 (2)

Blackcap 3 (2)
Reed Warbler 1 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Dunnock 0 (2) - including 1 retrap from 2008
Chaffinch 1 (0)
Whitethroat 2 (2) - including 1 retrap from 2008
Robin 2 (0) - both juveniles (our first of the year)
Chiff Chaff 1 (1)
Great Tit 0 (2)
Blackbird 0 (1) - a retrap from 2008

A well attended dawn chorus guided walk popped in for a ringing demonstration and left happy having seen a Song Thrush, Garden Warbler, Dunnock and Blackcap.

Later on in the morning, we saw the first Turtle Dove (see photograph) of the year at Priory and a Peregrine.
Thanks to Guy & team for results from The Thorns (19/05/12) are 20 new, (12 retraps) as follows:
Blackbird 0 (1)

Song Thrush 1 (0)
Robin 2 (1)
Willow Warbler 1 (1)
Long-tailed Tit 2 (1)
Wren 1 (0)
Whitethroat 5 (2)
Blackcap 1 (1)
Bullfinch 1 (2)
Dunnock 0 (2)
Garden Warbler 3 (1)
Lesser Whitethroat 2 (0)
Grasshopper Warbler 1 (0)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Chalton STW 06/05/2012

An extremely pleasing start to the season. Although we have opted out of the CES due to the site changing rapidly it has meant we are able to put up nets in other areas.

Our first session for some time produced 84 birds. 63 new and 21 re-traps of 14 species which included two controls.

Blackbird            3/0
Blackcap             8/0
Blue Tit               2/8
Bullfinch             2/0
Dunnock             2/1
Great Tit             2/2
Long-tailed Tit    1/3
Reed Bunting     3/0
Reed Warbler     2/1
Sedge Warbler   9/3
Song Thrush      2/0
Swallow              23/0
Whitethroat        3/2
Wren                  1/1

We also had a Great-crested Grebe on one of the lagoons.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

CES season begins

The Constant Effort season begun across the country during the week. Locally, those of us involved seemed to choose Sunday as the better day for ringing activities.

At Priory Country Park, we caught 17 birds in total (retraps in brackets) as follows:

Blackcap 3 (1)
Sedge Warbler 1 (0)
Chaffinch 1 (0)
Garden Warbler 3 (1) - the retrap having been ringed as an adult in 2009
Chiff Chaff 3 (0)
Blackbird 0 (1) - the retrap having been ringed as a juvenile in 2005
Dunnock 0 (1)
Blue Tit 0 (1)
Robin 1 (0)

A little cold today but nice to see summer migrants such as Garden Warbler again (very recently in).

At the Thorns CES, they caught 46 birds (new/retrap) as follows:

Song Thrush (2/0)
Willow Warbler (2/0)
Chiffchaff (5/2)
Long-tailed Tit (3/2)
Wren (2/0)
Whitethroat (3/0)
Blackcap (9/1)
Bullfinch (6/0)
Dunnock (1/2)
Garden Warbler (1/0)
Blue Tit (1/0)
Lesser Whitethroat (1/0)
Great Tit (2/0)
Blackbird (0/1)

Only 11 more visits (each) to go between now & the beginning of September!

Friday, 6 April 2012

1st Quarter Ringing totals.

After Mark shared his totals for his sites for Jan-March, I thought I'd do the same. I'm up on the same period last year so I'm hoping for a bumper year - I've got nothing better to do so I've got a good chance at beating last year's totals which were (retraps in brackets):

SSNR 693 + (306) = 999
PCP 860 + (415) = 1275

Total for both sites 1557 + (722) = 2279

Priory Country Park

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (1)
Wren 2 (6)
Dunnock 2 (13)
Robin 0 (4)
Blackbird 6 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Redwing 1 (0)
Blackcap 11 (0)
Chiff chaff 1 (2)
Long Tailed Tit 10 (11)
Blue Tit 19 (30)
Great Tit 25 (32)
Treecreeper 1 (0)
Chaffinch 2 (0)
Bullfinch 2 (3)
Reed Bunting 1 (0)

Total 85 + (102) = 187 of 16 species

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve

Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 (5)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 1 (0)
Wren 2 (1)
Dunnock 7 (31)
Robin 1 (2)
Blackbird 5 (2)
Song Thrush 2 (0)
Mistle Thrush 1 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 7 (7)
Coal Tit 2 (2)
Blue Tit 8 (38)
Great Tit 9 (23)
Starling 1 (0)
Chaffinch 14 (4)
Brambling 1 (0)
Greenfinch 2 (0)
Goldfinch 21 (1)
Siskin 3 (0)
Common Redpoll 1 (0)
Lesser Redpoll 11 (1)
Reed Bunting 2 (0)

Total 103 + (117) = 220 or 21 species

Total for both sites = 188 + (219)= 407

The above totals do not include birds ringed/retrapped in April which now includes a new species for SSNR:

Above: A Magpie.

Monday, 2 April 2012

First quarter summary

I've had a very quiet first three months of the year on the ringing front, due to other work taking precedence. Hopefully things will be getting back to normal from now on.

My ringing totals for the year so far are listed below, with retraps shown in brackets:

Wren 1
Dunnock (+1)
Robin 1
Blackbird 2
Song Thrush 1
Cetti's Warbler 1
Long-tailed Tit 1 (+1)
Marsh Tit (+1)
Coal Tit 4 (+1)
Blue Tit 20 (+16)
Great Tit 8 (+3)
Nuthatch (+1)
Chaffinch 1
Reed Bunting 9
Total 49 (+24), Grand Total 73

Of the 73 birds processed, 35 were caught at Bromham Mill, 16 at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park and 22 at Bedfordshire Golf Club, Stagsden.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve 28/02/12

Numbers wise today, it started off slowly and picked up a bit mid morning.

Above: A Siskin (on the right) and a Lesser Redpoll (on the left).

For the third time in 3 days, I caught a new species for the site...

Above: A Common (Mealy) Redpoll. All the previous redpoll's I've caught have been of the Lesser variety. This bird and a Great Tit formed a small and impromtu ringing demonstration to two delighted passers by who took an interest in what I was doing.

After the Common Redpoll, another new species for the site (and for me) was the next bird out of the net and it was a rarity. There are only a handful of birds of this species in the county and are nationally scarce. I have never seen one before and it is a rare day indeed that one is ringed. I am told only 6 have been ringed in Bedfordshire since 1980, the last of which was ringed in 1992 - 20 years ago!

I should find out how many the Ivel Ringing Group have ever ringed.

Above: A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

A number of Jays were seen. 2 Woodcock were flushed in Upper Alders (wet woodland), lots of fieldfare about, skylarks were singing, 2 buzzards and 2 Little Owls were seen. One that missed the nets (thankfully) was a Pheasant. One that got away was Sparrowhawk - would have been a site first but it extracted itself about two seconds
after I realised something large was in the net!

For more photographs, visit my blog here.

Totals for the day in order of appearance: New (retrap)

Long Tailed Tit 2 (1)
Blue Tit 0 (4)
Robin 0 (1)
Coal Tit 1 (1)
Goldfinch 3 (0)
Great Tit 2 (1)
Wren 1 (0)
Lesser Redpoll 2 (0)
Siskin 1 (0)
Common Redpoll 1 (0)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 1 (0)
Chaffinch 2 (0)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 0 (1)

25 birds of 13 species - a good variety.

Stockgrove Country Park 26/02/2012

The first session at Stockgrove CP for some time. This still produced 27 birds of 8 species. These are ringed/retraps in brackets

Blue Tit 4(3)
Chaffinch 3(0)
Coal Tit 4(0)
Dunnock 1(0)
Great Tit 4(4)
Goldfinch 1(0)
Marsh Tit 1(0)
Nuthatch 1(1)

A siskin did just miss the net, buzzards were heard calling overhead with great-spotted woodpeckers drumming within the close vicinity.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Turdus viscivorus

Today at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) the first bird of the day was a Chaffinch. It turns out this Chaffinch was ringed somewhere other than SSNR and by somebody else other than me (it did have a British ring on it).

A site ringing first came in the afternoon - Starling. Presumably coming to the peanuts.

Above: Starling

Based on observations, a new net site was operated and it caught 1 bird...

Above: Mistle Thrush - Turdus viscivorus

Another site first and a ringing 'tick' for me (my 4th self caught tick - all of which have been at SSNR). I couldn't have done it without help so thanks go to Amanda. More details can be found here

Today's totals: In order of appearance - new (retraps)

Chaffinch 4 (0) and 1 control
Dunnock 1 (3)
Great Tit 1 (4)
Coal Tit 1 (0)
Greenfinch 1 (4)
Blue Tit 2 (0)
Goldfinch 4 (1)
Starling 1 (0)
Mistle Thrush 1 (0)

25 birds of 9 species.

Yesterday, I was at Priory Country Park. On the non-bird front, I saw a Stoat! On the bird front, in order of appearance, ringing stoatals were: New (Retrap)

Blue Tit 9 (9)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (4)
Dunnock 1 (4)
Blackbird 1 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Bullfinch 2 (2)
Great Tit 11 (8)
Wren 0 (1)

53 birds of 8 species.

Above: One of four Bullfinch.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Chalton STW 4/2/2012

A disappointing session. Only 18 birds caught of 6 species.

They were as follows Ringed/Retrapped

Blackbird 1/0
Blue Tit 2/2
Chaffinch 1/0
Goldcrest 1/0
Great Tit 2/4
Robin 1/4

A large number of duck were present which was a good sign plus a Green Sandpiper.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

Chalton STW 29/01/2012

No ringing was attempted today but we did have a work party. Members present were Roy, Kieran, Ken, Maureen, Bailey and myself. A number of birds were using the feeding station, buzzard and green sandpipers were seen on site along with a lot of gulls.

It was intended to create a channel through the phragmites and willow in the u-pond. With a few hours work this has been achieved.

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve

This weekend I've been ringing at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve.

Above: A Lesser Redpoll.

Above: A Brambling - a first for SSNR.

For more details & more birds, see my blog.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Bearded Tit - Marston Vale Milliennium Country Park, 31 December 2011

Phil Candlish kindly sent me these photos of the male Bearded Tit that I ringed at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park on the last day of 2011. I've mentioned previously that I had ringed this cracking male bird, but the photos are so good it would be a shame not to share them.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Chalton 15/01/2012

A late start this morning turning a working session in to a ringing session. At the same time, Mike kindly gave the ringing hut a coat of preservative and the old hut was moved to one of the ponds in readiness for a hide.

Despite our best efforts only 18 birds were caught of 7 species(ringed/retraps)

Blue Tit 3/2
Dunnock 0/3
Goldcrest 1/0
Great Tit 0/4
Redwing 1/0
Robin 1/3
Wren 1/0

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Chalton 7.1.2012

The first session of the year only managed to produce 21 birds of 7 species. 11 new and 10 retraps(in Brackets) as follows:-

Blackbird 3/0
Blue Tit 5/2
Chaffinch 2/0
Great Tit 4/2
Grey Wagtail 1/0
Pied Wagtail 1/0
Robin 0/1

The frame of a duck trap has been sited and hopefully this will be in operation in the near future.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011 - a good year, let's hope for even better things in 2012

On Saturday 31st December, I paid a short visit to Marston Vale Millennium Country Park. Only two birds caught - a retrap Blue Tit (ringed on 19/11/11) and an unringed male Bearded Tit. There were some nice birds around: a female Sparrowhawk flew across the reed bed, a Cetti's Warbler sang briefly, 36 Fieldfare flew west, a Grey Wagtail flew over on many occasions (not sure if there was just one particularly active bird or several birds). Over 100 Lapwings were on the Pillinge, together with a few Little Grebes and some Tufted Ducks.

My December ringing totals were low, a combination of wind, rain and Christmas (retraps are shown in brackets):

  • Wren 1 (+1)

  • Dunnock 1

  • Robin 4 (+1)

  • Bearded Tit 1

  • Marsh Tit 2

  • Blue Tit 18 (+8)

  • Great Tit 1

  • Chaffinch 1 (+1)

  • Goldfinch 1

  • Bullfinch 2

  • Reed Bunting 3

  • Total: 35 ringed + 11 retraps.
Of the 35 birds ringed, 20 were ringed at Bromham Mill, 9 at Marston Vale and 6 at Bedfordshire Golf Club, Stagsden.

Overall I've had a very interesting year, ringing-wise. Highlights were: ringing of Swallow pulli at farms and stables in the Bedford area; being given permission to ring at Marston Vale Millennium Country Park and also at Harrold-Odell Country Park; first nestbox ringing at Bedfordshire Golf Club. At Marston this led to ringing Swallows, Sand Martins and Yellow Wagtails on summer evenings, along with good numbers of Sedge and Reed Warblers during the day; in the autumn the focus changed to ringing Reed Buntings as they went to roost, plus ringing 4 Cetti's Warblers and 2 Bearded Tits.

My top ten species for the year were as follows:

  • Swallow 145 fledged + 133 pulli = 278 ringed

  • Blue Tit 183 fledged + 44 pulli = 227 ringed (+ 43 retraps)

  • Great Tit 92 fledged + 42 pulli = 134 ringed (+ 22 retraps)

  • Reed Warbler 45 ringed (+1 retrap + 1 control caught twice)

  • Dunnock 16 ringed (+ 15 retraps)

  • Reed Bunting 27 ringed

  • Long-tailed Tit 21 ringed (+6 retraps)

  • Wren 22 ringed (+3 retraps)

  • Sedge Warbler 23 ringed (+1 retrap)

  • Robin 18 ringed (+5 retraps)
Other species processed (ringed and/or retrapped) in 2011 were: Mute Swan, Sparrowhawk, Lapwing, Wood Pigeon, Tawny Owl, Swift, Kingfisher, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Sand Martin, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing, Cetti's Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Marsh Tit, Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch and Yellowhammer.

The total numbers of fledged birds ringed was 751, plus 224 pulli ringed, 116 retraps/controls. Grand total of 1091 birds of 44 species.