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!