Tuesday 19 December 2017

November 2017 - the season starts with Goldcrests, Firecrests & Redwing

November totals vary depending on weather conditions and the numbers of redpoll and Meadow Pipits visiting. Neither species were abundant this month but the total of 226 new birds is very close to last year when half of the birds were redpoll.

Top species was Blue Tit (57) followed by Great Tit on 34. Goldcrest reached 29 and Redwing 22 but Meadow Pipit only gave 10 and Lesser Redpoll 9; four of which were in atypical habitat at Bedfont South Side.

There were single Blackcap and Chiffchaff but festive Robins only mustered 6 and 3 Firecrest brought colour to Stanwellmoor (2) and Woolley Firs (1).

Monday 20 November 2017

October 2017 - Portuguese record for Chiffchaff

With a total of 604 new birds of 31 species, this month was around normal for October, yet only half that of 2016, when Lesser Redpoll were present in large numbers.

Lesser Redpoll were still top species this month, with 149 at Chobham and Black Park, followed by Goldcrest at 117, well distributed across all main sites.

Chiffchaff (41) were mostly at Tythebarns early in the month and Meadow Pipit (36) and Redwing (12) reflected the changing seasons. Species of note were 2 Stonechat at Stanwellmoor, 2 Yellowhammer at Woolley Firs and 3 Mute Swan at Bedfont.

Recoveries reported include a Chiffchaff from Faro, Portugal (1,716km from us) and Lesser Redpoll from 2016 passing through Landguard Point, Suffolk in 2017.

Tuesday 17 October 2017

September 2017 numbers were a little higher to last season

This September's total of 964 new birds of 33 species is slightly higher than 2016 (946) and the totals for each species are pretty close, with the main variations being Meadow Pipit 38 (was 2), Reed Warbler 6 (was 15), Willow Warbler 2 (was 17), Dunnock 27 (was 44), Robin 19 (was 34) and Goldcrest 17 (was 5).

Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and the Yellow Wagtail were unusual records.

Thursday 21 September 2017

August bring a diversity of bird species - 2017

As usual, August was even busier than July, with a total of 945 new birds of 42 species.

These included migrants such as two Sand Martins, a Tree Pipit and a Yellow Wagtail at Stanwellmoor and two Redstarts at Chobham. We also caught some more infrequent species: Moorhen (Wraysbury), Woodpigeon (Bedfont and Wraysbury), Collared Dove (Iver Heath) and Magpie (Wraysbury), with a late Common Tern chick at Bedfont.

Highest numbers were Blackcap at 295, Chiffchaff at 126 and Whitethroat at 122, but Willow Warbler reached a pleasing 24. There were a couple of rapid sightings of colour-ringed Common Terns and a recovery of a Redwing in Sweden.

Monday 28 August 2017

Busy July for birds and bird ringers - July 2017

With juveniles dispersing and adult migrants starting to move, the July total of 837 of 35 species.

This does not reflect the effort put in by teams as some CES sessions gave lower numbers than expected and mowing at Wraysbury reduced the cover and feeding opportunities. Nevertheless, 837 compares well with July in previous years and is the highest since 2011.

The most abundant species was Blackcap on 173 with Whitethroat on 141 and Garden Warbler 109.

Good records were of two Nightjar, two Stonechats, five Dartford Warblers, eight Greenfinch and 14 Linnet. Robins were high at 45 but Wren only mustered nine. Details came in for a Reed Warbler, ringed just north of Basle in Switzerland in 2015 and controlled at Stanwellmoor in 20017.

High summer for breeding birds - June 2017

CES sessions continued at Bedfont and Wraysbury but with Wraysbury giving totals rather below the site's average.

Four visits to Chobham produced good records of the target species – single Nightjar, Woodlark, Tree Pipit and Stonechat, with 7 Dartford Warbler plus two retraps.

Stanwellmoor gave a pullus Lapwing raising the monthly total to 325 of 31 species. Great Tit was the top catch on 67 with Blackcap on 36 closely followed by Blue Tit on 31 and Chiffchaff on 29.

Monday 3 July 2017

A tale of two (Constant Effort) sites - May 2017

May saw the start of the Constant Effort season with three visits at both Bedfont and Wraysbury, but there were differing fortunes at the two sites.

Bedfont reported numbers well up to their 5-year averages for new and retrap birds whereas Wraysbury was well down on expectations e.g. new warblers were only 79 against a projected 121.

Total new birds ringed for the month was 318 of which 123 were full-grown. The 195 pulli were from Tythebarns, Surrey and Woolley Firs. Woolley Firs had Nuthatch, a new species for the boxes there.

Several fledgelings were captured by the month end – Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Wren and Blue Tit at Bedfont with Wraysbury adding Blackcap and Chiffchaff. So an interesting start to the season and all the more reason to support forthcoming CES sessions to see how it develops.

Friday 12 May 2017

Migrants return from Africa and our winter visitors are back in Scotland - April 2017

A good showing of migrants along with more site visits gave a monthly total of 236 of 35 species.

Highlights were a Snipe, 2 Woodlark (doubling the Group adult total), a Tree Pipit, 4 Dartford Warblers and 30 Lesser Redpolls; all from Chobham.

Top species was Blackcap on 34, the Redpoll on 30 and Chiffchaff on 28; 12 Sedge Warblers were noteworthy. Although there were no new Lesser Whitethroat ringed there were at least 3 returning birds at Bedfont and Wraysbury – which also saw a Willow Warbler returning nearly six years after ringing.

Other controls came as Siskin and Lesser Redpoll returned to their breeding areas in the Scottish Highlands with good results for Tythebarns and Iver Heath.

Sunday 16 April 2017

Poor weather diminishes ringing sessions - March 2017

Another month of minimal activity with only 55 new birds ringed. Woolley Firs had the most sessions and birds, including 8 Meadow Pipit, a Redwing, Blackcap and Firecrest whilst Chobham produced 2 Dartford Warblers.

Totals ringed in the first quarter of 2017 are, at 276, barely better than half the usual 400-500. 2016 was exceptional at 631 - helped by 188 Siskins and 140 Blue Tits. Siskins have been scare this year and the poor Blue Tit breeding season of last summer is made clear at our feeding station sites.

Black-headed Gulls surprise in Heston - February 2017

A quiet month for ringing with only 65 birds of 16 species ringed. Two adult Black-headed Gulls were unusual in the Heston garden; there were also two Ring-necked Parakeets, a Redwing and two Yellowhammers to add to the winter totals.

Woolley Firs had a Redwing retrap a year after ringing and details came in for the Belgian continental Coal Tit from March 2016.

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.