Tuesday 15 December 2015

November 2015

The weekend weather was not kind for group training sessions and most ringing was in gardens or one-to-one sessions with limited nets when conditions allowed.

However, numbers built up to a healthy 291 ringed plus 150 retraps. Top species was Lesser Redpoll with 109; 106 from Tythebarns, followed by Goldcrest on 46; 28 from Bedfont.

Bedfont also made a late challenge to Woolley Firs’ Firecrest supremacy, with 2 on 28th and Chobham managed 10 Redwing and 7 Reed Bunting. 3 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff and 9 Siskin were noteworthy from the sites in use.

Friday 20 November 2015

October 2015

An October total of 707 new birds of 25 species was helped by a purple patch for Lesser Redpoll, when 158 were ringed at Chobham, mostly between 10th and 18th.

Some of these have already shown some rapid movements from both north and south. With other sites, Lesser Redpoll were easily the top species at 184 with Blue Tit a long way behind at 125.

Next three places were closely grouped: with Lotti on 73; Goldcrest at 70 and Chiffchaff at 68. There were good captures of a Stonechat, 3 Dartford Warblers and 9 Reed Bunting at Chobham and 3 Firecrest at Woolley Firs, but the expected Meadow Pipit movement did not materialise with only 7 from Chobham and 12 from Wraysbury.

The capture record for a Reed Warbler that is becoming a regular between our Windsor site and Hilfield, operated by The Maple Cross Ringing Group.

Reed Warbler Capture Table

Windsor, Berks
Hilfield, Herts
Windsor, Berks
Hilfield, Herts
C- Controlled
3y 8m 19d
1358 days
33 km

Wednesday 4 November 2015

Talk at Reading & District Natural History Museum

The talk last month was received well at Pangbourne by members of the RDNHS. The talk gave an overview about the history of bird ringing, where research is leading us and how to train to become a bird ringer.

The audience had a broad range of knowledge and this was reflected in over forty minutes given to the Q&A session following the talk.

Carl Hunter Roach during the Q&A session

September 2015

With several ringers on holiday this month, and no intensive ringing programme at Wraysbury, it is not surprising that this month's total is well down on recent Septembers.

Some sites may yet to report figures but the returned numbers show 486 birds were ringed of 25 species; not high but including some good species-groups.

Blackcap and Chiffchaff dominated at 194 and 71 respectively, and there was a range of 7 warbler species. Goldfinch came in third place at 68 in a range of 5 finch species including 18 Redpoll at Tythebarns and 6 Siskin at Bedfont, whilst representatives of all three hirundines showed at Wraysbury.

Saturday 17 October 2015

August 2015

August is generally our top month for numbers and several extra sessions, at Wraysbury C6 and Tythebarns, took us to a record total of 1,590 new birds of 37 species.

Among these were two Redstarts at Wraysbury, a 3J Firecrest at Woolley Firs, a couple of early Meadow Pipit at Stanwellmoor and two each of Cetti’s and Dartford Warblers adding to the migrant warblers.

Blackcap, at 417, were over a quarter of the catch with Whitethroat at 241 and Garden Warbler at 179 some way behind. There were good showings from the less frequent warblers with 33 Willow Warblers, 26 Sedge and 22 Lesser Whitethroat; the latter all from Wraysbury.

Bird Ringing talk for RDNHS

Carl Hunter Roach, a Runnymede Ringing Group trainer, is giving a talk on the origins of bird ringing and how it has developed. You can see him at Reading & District Natural History Society (RDNHS) this coming Tuesday, 20th October.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

July 2015

The total of 702 new birds of 35 species was helped by 5 mid-week sessions at Wraysbury. There was a juvenile Grey Wagtail at Stanwellmoor. Top species was Blackcap at 201 followed by Whitethroat and Garden Warbler at 76 and 75 respectively. 

Wednesday 29 July 2015

June 2015

A good month with a flurry of juveniles on the last weekend. The total of 319 of 28 species included 3 Kingfisher, 9 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Treecreeper and 3 Linnet although only single Sedge Warbler and Willow Warbler were ringed.

Top species was Blue Tit with 43 but Reed Warblers did well with 37, closely followed by 35 Blackcap.

Monday 6 July 2015

May 2015

At least 358 birds ringed in May, including 186 pulli, with some activity at Minet still to be reported. With no access to Windsor and holidays affecting two sites, this is not too far from the 400 or so done in recent Mays; pulli numbers were at the usual level.

Star species was a Barn Owl, a group first since a bird at Wraysbury back in January 1992.

A Blackcap, caught and released on 4th at Bedfone exhibited an unusual amount of pollen on its upper mandible.

Blackcap with pollen (Eleanor Page) 
Great Tit pulli (Carl Hunter Roach)
Barn Owl (Karl Tarratt)

Monday 8 June 2015

Interview on Spring Watch

One of the group's ringers, Josie Hewitt was interviewed this month on Spring Watch Extra. Covering a lot of ground "the natural history of Josie" covers how she got interested in birds, general bird ringing questions as well as a ringing demonstrating from Josie, first with a Green Woodpecker and then a recently fledged Robin.

Josie's blog.

Thursday 14 May 2015

Bird Ringing Talk at BBOWT

A Runnymede Ringing Group trainer, Carl Hunter Roach, gave a talk on the origins of bird ringing and how it has developed. Using species such as Firecrest and Yellowhammer, Carl illustrated how bird ringing across Berkshire and at Woolley Firs Farm itself, fit into the national picture.

Talk at Woolley Firs Farm, BBOWT

Carl answers follow-up questions after the talk

Tuesday 12 May 2015

April 2015

As the spring rush got underway, the weather was not exactly helpful and most sessions were wind-affected or cancelled.
Nightingale (Rachelle Reagan)

Nevertheless 145 birds of 23 species were ringed with Blackcap (44) and Chiffchaff (16) the highest numerically. Showstopper was a Nightingale at Bedfont on 19th, the first record for the site in 25 years although two Mistle Thrush at Tythebarns are almost as unusual in RRG tables.

A sprinkling of other warbler species brought some returning regulars from previous years.
Nightingale (Rachelle Reagan)

March 2015

Despite a reasonable weather summary for the month, the facts were that most weekends were just too breezy to launch ringing sessions.

The total of only 35 new birds of 14 species reflects this but does include two Dartford Warblers from Chobham, two Chiffchaff from Bedfont and a Reed Bunting at both Chobham and Woolley Firs. Even retrap numbers were low but added interest came from a Cetti’s Warbler at Bedfont and a Firecrest at Woolley Firs.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Online resources

The web is enabling bird ringers to share their knowledge directly with each other. A couple of initiatives, although focused abroad, can be very useful to ringing in Britain.

A couple of useful resources are:
An ageing and sexing guide for birds of Aragon, Spain
Identification Atlas of Birds of Aragon

An ageing and sexing guide (primarily passerines) for the Scandinavian countries.
Ringers' DigiGuide

Thursday 19 March 2015

February 2015

Age 6: Woodcock (Roger Ackroyd)
Winds and low temperatures made it difficult to get out so the total of 230 new birds of 25 species is noteworthy.

61 Blue Tits and 58 Great Tits dominated but the biggest surprise was a Woodcock at Tythebarns, where there was also a Sparrowhawk.

There were 6 Meadow Pipits from Stanwellmoor whilst 4 Blackcap came from 3 sites. Woolley Firs managed four sessions across the month, ringing 79 new birds, including a Firecrest and 10 Yellowhammer; and Black Park came up with 10 Lesser Redpoll in a winter of low numbers for this species.

Bedfont had both Bullfinch and Reed Bunting which have been scarce recently at this site.

Age 6: Woodcock (Roger Ackroyd)

Saturday 21 February 2015

Ringing Demo at BBOWT's Woolley Firs Farm (14th Feb)

Ringing at Woolley Firs
The planned ringing demonstration to members of the public went well. Two well attended groups got a tour of the site and a session learning about the benefits of bird ringing. BBOWT told me that there was such demand they had to turn people away which is shows how much interest there is in conservation.

I was rather busy talking all morning and my crew were busy with net rounds and ringing birds, that not many photos were taken. I stole one of some of the ringers present and it wasn't until the public left I was able to pick up the camera again.

Just in time for our last arrival - a male Firecrest (a bird hatched only last year) caught away from the feeders.
Male Firecrest (Carl Hunter Roach)

Sunday 1 February 2015

January 2015

Pied Wagtail (Chris Lamsdell)
Weather forecasts were not helpful this month so much ringing was in gardens or hastily snatched sessions.

Nevertheless 137 birds of 17 species were ringed, the most unusual being 4 Pied Wagtails at Beaconsfield and 3 Fieldfare at Wraysbury (where there were also 8 Bullfinch over two sessions).

43% of those ringed were Blue and Great Tits - mostly across three sessions at Woolley Firs.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

The Runnymede Ringing Group

At our Annual Steering Group meeting we agreed to formally split from the Maple Cross Ringing Group. This enables both groups to clearly manage fundraising and outgoings.

This website is now dedicated to the activities of the Runnymede Ringing Group.

Monday 19 January 2015

December 2014

Rufous (L) & grey phase Tawny Owls (Carl Hunter Roach)
At the turning of the year attention turns more to quality than quantity on the occasions we can get out and just 440 birds (227 Runnymede RG; 213 Maple Cross RG) were ringed this month.

Pride of place must go to 3 Tawny Owls, caught from boxes at Bisham Wood, just trumping 9 Yellowhammers at Woolley Firs.
Five male (age, left-right: 4, 4, 3, 3, 4) Yellowhammers (Carl Hunter Roach)
A Skylark at Langley Bottom and a Water Rail (and 2 retraps) at Hilfield were noteworthy. 10 Blackcaps all came from gardens and there was a Chiffchaff at Bedfont and 2 at Broadwater. Blue Tit just scraped into top spot at 88 ahead of a magnificent 80 Redwing.

Thursday 15 January 2015

Valentine's Day Bird Ringing Demonstration

Nuthatch, Woolley Firs, Feb 2014 (Carl Hunter Roach)

Book now and join us at Woolley Firs near Maidenhead on Saturday morning, 14th February 2015.

The event is organised by Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust.