Sunday, 19 February 2017

Yellowhammers doing well - January 2017

A fairly slow start to the year with low catches per session at those sites that opened nets. 156 new birds were ringed, with top place being taken by Dunnock on 27, just ahead of Blue Tit on 26.

5F Fieldfare (A V Kingston)
The 22 species included several that are hard to come by, with a Fieldfare at Tythebarns a good catch, and 16 Redwing in total.

Fieldfare - heavy wear to tail tips, compared to adults, indicate this bird hatched in 2016.

Birds in their first year put less energy into building feather strength favouring as quick as possible exit from their nests where they are vulnerable to predators.

Among 96 ringed at Woolley Firs there were together with the site's first Bullfinch and a magnificent 10 Yellowhammers.

A novel recovery headed our retraps this month. A ring placed on a Barn Owl at a nest in September 1987 was found by a metal detectorist at the end of 2016! The ring hadn't travelled far and the bird had long since perished so there is little to add to the story - but we don't get many of these.

Thursday, 12 January 2017

December 2016 - a month of bunting, finches and Redwing

A good month with at least 502 new birds to round the year off, especially as the top species was Redwing with 173.

Finch species featured highly with 22 Goldfinch; 15 Linnet at Woolley Firs, and small numbers of Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Lesser Redpoll at other sites.

Woolley Firs had 12 Yellowhammer and 19 Reed Bunting; with a Firecrest from the woods. Blackcap were at Bedfont, Woolley Fir and Iver Heath and Chiffchaff were 4 at Bedfont and one at Wraysbury.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

November 2016 - Redpoll at Chobham Common

221 new birds were ringed in November with most activity at Chobham Common. 70% (154) were Lesser Redpoll but the balance did include some nice species – the first Common Redpoll for over three years, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, 3 Dartfords and 7 Redwing at Chobham, a Firecrest at Bedfont, a Cetti’s Warbler and 4 Chiffchaff at Stanwellmoor and 2 Lesser Redpoll at Tythebarns.

More recoveries details of redpolls at Chobham were received and there was a very rapid return for a Chiffchaff from Wraysbury – close to the south coast just 21 hours after ringing.

Common Redpoll are noticeably larger than Lessers and with a proportion of white that looks like its been "washed" into their plumage.

Common Redpoll (Andrew Kingston)
Broad head of Common Redpoll (Andrew Kingston)
Rump of Common Redpoll (Andrew Kington)

October 2016 - Yellow-browed Warbler travels inland

A search for superlatives this month as a new species was added to the Group ringing list and we
achieved our highest ever October total.

Yellow-browed Warbler at a ringing research session
Yellow-browed Warbler, Surrey (Carl Hunter Roach)
Chobham was the centre of attention with ringing on three days, two of which saw teams operating in two areas. 605 of the monthly total of 1,218 came from this site, including our first Yellow-browed Warbler on 22nd.

The 31 species included 9 warblers and was led by Lesser Redpoll on 379, Chiffchaff on 197 and Goldcrest on 184. Redwing surprised on 70 but Meadow Pipit were a little below expectations at 57; mainly due to lack of birds and time to target them.

Latest dates for summer migrants were Sedge Warbler on 9th; Lesser Whitethroat on 12th and Reed Warbler on 14th. Ringing details for some controls have already come through and of special interest is a Goldcrest ringed in Yorkshire and caught the same day as the Yellow-browed, giving a good indication of how, and how quickly, it could have reached Chobham.

Sunday, 16 October 2016

September 2016 - warbler migration across Berkshire and Surrey

946 birds of 32 species were ringed with migration monitoring at Wraysbury and Tythebarns contributing the most and slightly higher than the last monitoring in 2014 of 924.

Chiffchaff (307) and Blackcap (291) dominated ringing totals; Blackcap early in the month and Chiffchaff later. Reed Warbler switched from reeds (1) to scrub (14) habitat and was last caught at Bedfont on 24th; the last Sedge Warbler was on 7th and Lesser Whitethroat on 15th.

Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Willow Warbler were still present at the last monitoring session on 21st. Surprise catches were Kestrel at Tythebarns and Wraysbury, two Tree Pipits at Wraysbury and a total of 44 Dunnocks and 34 Robins.

August 2016 - the CES season comes to an end

764 new birds were ringed in August which is some way below the last three years when over 1,000 were done.

The CES programmes were completed at Bedfont and Wraysbury and several sessions were held at C6 at Wraysbury.  Good species were Nightjar and Dartford Warbler at Chobham, Sand Martin at Stanwellmoor, Swallow and Pied Wagtail at Wraysbury.

Every main site ringed at least one Willow Warbler giving a total of 56; the last time this total was reached was in 2010. Top species were Whitethroat 135; Blackcap 120 and Chiffchaff 110 although Blackcap seemed scarce everywhere except Wraysbury.

Half of the 74 Reed Warblers came from Bedfont where there was also a good showing of Sedge Warblers.

Thursday, 18 August 2016

July 2016 - Barn Owl, Common Tern, Firecrest & House Martin breeding

Birds ringed in July totalled 625 (702 in 2015) with top species Blackcap on 175 (201), well ahead of Chiffchaff on 72 (43), Reed Warbler on 71 (55) and Garden Warbler also 71 (75).

Whitethroat fell to 59 (76) but the 10 warbler species totalled 475 birds (458). Blue Tits only made 13 (50), Great Tit 9 (21) and Lotti 7 (11) following very poor breeding.

The 35 species included 6 Nightjar, 9 House Martins, a Firecrest and a House Sparrow. Common Tern pulli return to the list with 3 at Bedfont and 3 Barn Owls were ringed at Woolley Firs.