Wednesday, 20 January 2021

Bird ringing under Covid-19 - December 2020

Lockdown restrictions meant the only ringing this month was at Tythebarns and Woolley Firs, where a total of 32 new birds of 10 species were handled.

3 Redwing, 2 Goldcrest and a Jay were the most interesting. With little hope of change until at least February, what prospects are there for January?

If you are near heathland, Crossbills are early nesters or try locating your local Tawny Owls. Take a camera for reading rings in your local park – there’s plenty to look forward to.

Take care, and please stay safe.

Bird ringing under Covid-19 - November 2020

In a month almost totally affected by covid lockdown 2, we were fortunate to manage a session at Chobham just before it started, and another under lockdown restrictions at the month-end.

48 birds of 5 species were ringed with Lesser Redpoll leading on 37. A colour-ringed male Black-headed Gull turned up on the Thames at Windsor having been ringed in Denmark, 980km away in 2015.

Nocturnal-migration recordings picked up twenty-four species over Ealing including 1,737 Redwing,  81 Song Thrush, 9 Fieldfare, Teal, Wigeon, Lapwing, Turnstone, Golden Plover, Moorhen, Coot and Skylark. We recommend everyone try this in their own gardens to see what it passing, unseen, overhead!

Black-headed Gull movement KĂžbenhavn, Denmark to Windsor

Bird ringing under Covid-19 - October 2020

Two sessions were possible at Chobham and these contributed the majority of the 245 birds ringed in October. 131 Lesser Redpoll kept ringers busy but 3 Crossbills stole the show. Redwing at 32 just beat Meadow Pipit on 31 but 3 Stonechat and 2 Blackcap were nice additions.

Some recoveries from the redpoll catch suggest origins to the west and north-west and a rapid onward movement eastwards.
Crossbill young male (Carl Hunter-Roach)
Male Crossbills (Carl Hunter-Roach)

Bird ringing under Covid-19 - September 2020

A good month produced 1,047 new birds of 26 species from 5 sites, with the intensive work at Wraysbury providing 957 from five sessions. Tythebarn's 192 from 8 sessions; Bedfont 148 from 4 sessions and even 50 from the Heston garden.

As expected, Blackcap was top species at 418 followed by Chiffchaff at 180 but Blue Tit at 115 was just ahead of 96 Meadow Pipit. Against this, Sedge, Reed, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, Garden and Willow Warbler had mostly moved on whilst Goldcrest and a Firecrest (see below) arrived at Bedfont.

Noc-mig recorded Redwing and Song Thrush, Siskin and Redpoll at Ealing.

Firecrest at Bedfont (Eleanor Page)

Monday, 28 September 2020

Bird ringing under Covid-19 - August 2020

Although the East coast experienced north-east winds bringing good falls of migrants, only Pied Flycatcher seemed to penetrate inland with 30-40 reported near our area up to 18th. Unfortunately, this was a period when we could not cover Wraysbury, the most likely site for this species to turn up.

189 new birds of 21 species were ringed, mostly at Bedfont. Top species was Blackcap (39) just beating Reed Warbler (36) and well clear of Blue Tit (25). Nice records were of a Kingfisher and two more pulli Common Terns, plus the return of House Sparrow to the Heston garden.

A six-year old Robin extended the Group longevity record by six days. 

Bird ringing under Covid-19 - July 2020

A busier month with 167 new birds of 21 species. Reed Warbler and Blackcap led the field with 30 each with Chiffchaff third at 20.

Some sightings of colour-ringed Common Terns were received including three young from this year.

Being able to identify a bird's hatching year is very useful for measuring the productivity of a species (and species on a specific site). Below, are examples of criteria we use for Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat.

Sedge Warbler
compare primary wear between two ages (youngest: left; adult: right)

compare eye colour between two ages (youngest: left; adult: right)

Bird ringing under Covid-19 - June 2020

Some ringing sessions were possible this month and new working methods tested, adhering to social distancing rules.

120 birds were processed, mostly at Wraysbury and Windsor garden, and 33 pulli Common Terns were marked at Bedfont.

After these, Chiffchaffs were top species at 16, with Bullfinch, Lesser Whitethroat, Reed Bunting and Treecreeper giving variety.

Tawny Owl at Tythebarns Farm, Surrey (Andrew Kingston)