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.

No comments: