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.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Wind free for once!

As a nice change of pace, Sunday and Monday (last weekend) were largely wind free! This allowed me to get out ringing and catch some of those summer migrants that come to breed in the UK and begin another year of Constant Effort ringing at Priory Country Park (PCP).

On Sunday, I ran CES Visit 1 at PCP. Totals, including extra nets, were as follows (retraps in brackets):

Wren 2 (1)
Dunnock 1 (3)
Blackbird 1 (2)
Whitethroat 3 (3)
Garden Warbler 1 (0)
Blackcap 3 (1)
Willow Warbler 2 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (1)
Great Tit 1 (0)
Chaffinch 1 (0)
Bullfinch 1 (1)

That makes a total of 16 new and 12 retraps - 28 overall. Average for CES visit 1 (including extra nets) is 30, of which 21 are normally 'new' and 9 are normally 'retraps'. Whilst the 2013 total is just short of average, the ratio of new to retrap is more in favour of the returning adults rather than recruitment of new adults. This could be a result of a poor breeding season last year. Delayed breeding and migration from the cold weather in early spring may also have a bearing here. But this is just a small sample and I'm far from being an expert!

Whitethroats were the most numerous on this visit and could be seen feeding well around the area. One of the retraps was first ringed on 1st May 2011, whilst the other 2 retraps were both ringed on 13th May last year.

2 of the 3 Dunnock retraps were from 2010 and the other from last year. One of the Blackbirds was ringed in 2010. The Blackcap retrap was ringed as a juvenile in July 2011. All the other retraps were from birds ringed in 2012.

The best birds were 2 new Willow Warblers. The numbers ringed at this site have steadily decreased over the last 20 years to the point where last year was the first year where none were ringed at all.

A ringing demo for The Wildlife Trust 'dawn chorus' walkers was well received.

On Bank Holiday Monday, a visit to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) produced a tally of 40 birds of 12 species as follows (retraps in brackets).

Green Woodpecker 1 (0)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (4)
Wren 2 (0)
Dunnock 1 (1)
Sedge Warbler 3 (1)
Whitethroat 2 (5)
Garden Warbler 1 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (1)
Great Tit 1 (3)
Chaffinch 6 (3)
Greenfinch 2 (0)
Goldfinch 2 (0)

Above: A Whitethroat. 2 of the retraps were ringed at SSNR in 2011 whilst the other 3 were ringed last year (all as adults). L302789, ringed on 22/04/11 set a new longevity record for the site at 2 years and 14 days.

Chaffinches were, surprisingly, the most numerous species. I normally catch a couple per session but I think a small change in feeder & net set up may have proved to be useful. A new longevity record for the site was set by L302734 - 2 years and 62 days. Also, a bird ringed in a field at nearby Beadlow earlier this year was retrapped at SSNR. More pictures & info of this ringing session can be found here.

In terms of breeding evidence at both sites, the resident species (Dunnock, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Great Spotted Woodpeckers), in general, seem to be ahead of the migrant species. More residents are showing respective male/female apendages/brood patches whereas there is little or no evidence yet of this in the migrant species.

Lets hope 2013 is a good breeding year.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A slow and windy April

With a lot of wind ringing has not often been possible and when I have been out, totals have been low. However, I did manage to add Redwing to the Sandy Smith Nature Reserve list of species ringed. There was also a controlled Long Tailed Tit (March) and yesterday, this:

Above: An adult male Green Woodpecker.

The Siskin, Redpoll and Brambling invasion that has been reported by many other ringers and from garden feeding stations has completely passed me by in the last month or so.

Effort at Priory Country Park has yet to really begin. A pre CES session was cancelled today due to the wind and I'm going to be away in Sardinia unitl the CES season starts again. I hope the wind dies down by then!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

A few recovery reports...

This week, the Ivel Ringing Group received a number of recovery reports from BTO. Here is a selection:

Cetti's Warbler ringed 26/08/12 at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire. Controlled at Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire on 11/11/12. Movement of 63 km, WSW in 77 days.

Mute Swan ringed 03/10/12 at Brandon Creek, Norfolk. Controlled at St. Neots, Cambridgeshire on 15/10/12. Movement of 54 km, SW in 12 days.

Lesser Redpoll ringed on 13/10/12 near Bestwood, Nottinghamshire. Controlled at Priory Country Park, Bedford on 28/10/12. Movement of 113 km, SSE in 15 days.

Swallow ringed 09/07/12 near Hawnby, North Yorks. Controlled at Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire on 22/09/12. Movement of 258 km, S in 75 days.

Swallow ringed 13/07/12 near Hazleslack, Storth, Cumbria. Controlled at Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire on 03/09/12. Movement of 283 km SSE in 52 days.

Sand Martin ringed at Icklesham, East Sussex on 19/08/12. Controlled at Marston Moretaine, Bedfordshire on 31/08/12. Movement of 154 km, NNW in 12 days. (This one is interesting - has it moved in the opposite direction to what would be expected? Perhaps it was prospecting for potential breeding sites for 2013!)

Goldfinch ringed at Links Wood, Newport, Fife on 10/08/12. Controlled at Eversholt, Bedfordshire on 15/11/12. Movement of 515 km, SSE in 97 days.

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Chalton STW 17 February 2013

The first real session here of the year produced 21 birds of 8 species.
Ringed with retraps in brackets are as follows:

Blackbird 1(1), Dunnock 1(0), Great Tit 2(0), Kingfisher 1(0), Long-tailed Tit 8(1), Pied Wagtail 1(0), Reed Bunting 4(0), Wren 1(0).

Also on site was 11 cormorant first thing and 2 little Egret.

The beginning of the year has seen work started on the removal of typha and willow from the pond area. Hopefully, this will be a large improvement when complete.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Clearing the news backlog

There's a backlog of news that's built up since our last post to the IRG blog so I'll start with the most recent, and work my way backwards!

A ringing session yesterday at a field near Sandy Smith Nature Reserve. Totals: 70 birds of 11 species comprising of 66 new and 4 retraps (retraps in brackets below):

Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (0)
Dunnock 6 (0)
Robin 1 (0)
Blackbird 1 (0)
Blue Tit 6 (1) - retrap ringed at SSNR 15/07/12, 209 days ago
Great Tit 1 (0)
Chaffinch 4 (1) - retrap ringed at SSNR 24/11/12, 77 days ago
Goldfinch 1 (0)
Lesser Redpoll 1 (0)
Reed Bunting 41 (2) - both retraps ringed at SSNR 11/03/12, 335 days ago
Yellowhammer 3 (0)
Above: Yellowhammer
For more photographs of this ringing session, see here. And no, it's not a typo, I did catch 43 Reed Buntings!
Last weekend, the Priory Country Park volunteers kindly agreed to help out with managing the vegetation within the CES site. They did a marvelous job. Thank you to Jane & the volunteers for all their effort.

Above: The net rides in the 'rough' have had their annual maintenance. It's looking good.
Looking back into January, the two main bits of news I have are that I ringed 13 Fieldfare (and retrapped one) outside my house. This was the first time I'd ringed them. I also caught a few Redwings and Blackbirds.
Above: A fieldfare.
Ringing did take place at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve but with low totals, there wasn't much worthy of news. At Priory Country Park however, a controlled Courn Bunting may well be the first ever movement of a Corn Bunting in/out/within Bedfordshire.

Above: A Corn Bunting
Now for December - there was a second foreign controlled bird a week after my last post in December (when I told you about a foreign ringed Blackcap). I also made 1000 handlings at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve. And then there's the 2012 highlights which were as follows:
Priory Country Park:
  • Lesser Redpoll control (awaiting details)
  • Blackcap ringed in September 2011 controlled at Grafham Water Nature Reserve in May 2012
  • Blackcap ringed in September 2011 controlled at Portland Bill, Dorset in April 2012
  • 2nd Kestrel for site ringed
  • 2nd Jay for site ringed
  • All 12 CES visits were completed
2012 ringing totals and review for Priory Country Park can be found here.

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve:
  • Lesser Spotted Woodpecker ringed (one of 11 new species ringed here)
  • 1000 birds handled for the year
  • Chiffchaff ringed in July caught at Letchworth in August
  • Strasbourg ringed Blackcap caught in December (awaiting details)
  • Brussels ringed Siskin caught in December (awaiting details)
  • Chaffinch controled at SSNR in February originally ringed at South Lopham, near Thetford in May 2010
2012 ringing totals and review for Sandy Smith Nature Reserve can be found here.