Wednesday 21 November 2018

Redwing recovered north of Arctic Circle - October 2018

A rather quiet month with only 258 birds ringed – our lowest October total for 10 years. Bedfont managed two sessions with a third rained off, but added Kingfisher. Elsewhere, top species was Lesser Redpoll at 65 followed by 20 Goldcrest, 17 Meadow Pipit, and 15 Redwing.

There were recoveries of rapid Blackcap controls from both Cambridgeshire (after 9 days) and Derbyshire (after 10 days). But by far the most interesting recovery was a Redwing, ringed by RRG at Black Park CP in November last year and found, this month, near Sodankylä, Finland; 2,300km north-east and well north of the Arctic Circle.

Sunday 21 October 2018

Fair weather for bird ringing - September 2018

Grey Wagtail
Good weather conditions had ringing take place on most weekends and some mid-week
sessions too.

The result was the highest September total, 1206, since 2013 (1397). Blackcap comprised nearly 40%
of the catch at 473, followed by Chiffchaff, nearly 18%, at 216.

Highlights were a Grey Wagtail at Surrey (rarely caught at our sites), 50 House Martins at Wraysbury and 27 Willow Warblers. Other warblers tailed away with few after mid-month, but small numbers of finches spoke of things to come.

CES birds on the up - August 2018

Despite early season worries about low catches on CES, both Bedfont and Wraysbury
improved later and are heading for reasonable totals.

Overall, August saw 982 new birds ringed, rather more than 2017 (945) and well up on 2016 (764). The 34 species included: pulli of Barn Owl and Swallow and there were captures of Sparrowhawk, Jay, Magpie and three Jackdaw among larger species.

Five House Martin and 13 Meadow Pipit came from Stanwellmoor and Willow Warbler were up to 56 after only 24 last year. Blackcap was top species at 299 followed by Whitethroat at 153 and Garden Warbler at 84. Reed Warbler had good numbers through Stanwellmoor raising them to 4th place at 71.

Friday 10 August 2018

July 2018 - bird numbers down on recent years

A poor month for captures with a total of 482 new birds, when recent Julys have been over 700.

Low catches continued on CES sessions and one of the three planned Wraysbury sessions was postponed till August, but whether the low numbers are due to the hot weather, or to a cold spring, or to low productivity, awaits analysis.

The top species was Blackcap at 90, closely followed by Reed Warbler on 85. Only 20 Chiffchaff were ringed. Kingfishers have had a difficult year so it was good to have singles at Bedfont and Wraysbury, and Stanwellmoor had some success with all three hirundines.

Other pleasing records this month were 3 juvenile Meadow Pipit at Stanwellmoor, 4 Cetti’s Warbler (Bedfont, Wraysbury and Stanwellmoor) and a House Sparrow at Bedfont South Side.

Tuesday 24 July 2018

A good(ish) month of bird ringing - June 2018

Barn Owl breeding in Berkshire
346 new birds, including 19 pulli, compares well with recent June totals although both CES sites reported lower numbers than expected.

Robin topped the species list with 44, closely followed by Reed Warbler on 43 and Blackcap on 40.

Meadow Pipit made an early appearance at Stanwellmoor where there were also 9 Linnets. Nuthatch was unusual at Wraysbury as were two Green Woodpeckers at Bedfont. Only 6 Long-tailed Tits were ringed.

There was a good control of a Barn Owl, ringed as a pullus near Hatfield, Herts and found breeding in Berkshire a year later.

Friday 15 June 2018

Constant Effort Sites Scheme 2018 kicks off May

And so another CES and pulli season starts, with 355 new birds ringed of which 123 were fully grown and 232 pulli.

Despite the cold weather lasting until the start of the month, both Tythebarns and Woolley Firs reported that Blue and Great Tits were on time, and with good survival at ringing dates. For migrants, over 60 warblers were ringed with Garden Warbler top at 19 but Sedge Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff below expectations. High water levels hindered operations at Stanwellmoor.

Sparrowhawk (Wraysbury) and Jackdaw (Tythebarns) were unusual and the only Reed Bunting was at Bedfont.

Thursday 24 May 2018

Spanish Swallow from 2013 finally reveals its story - April 2018

In contrast to the warm, dry April 2017, this month was cold and very wet, delaying spring
migrants and plant growth. Given that, and the loss of Chobham for spring ringing, the month's total of 204 of 26 species compares well with the 234 of 35 species of last year.

Wraysbury provided the bulk of the captures with a session on 21st coinciding with good numbers of warblers both caught and recorded. Bedfont on 22nd, after a night of heavy rain, had a very thin time.

Blackcap came in as top species on 69 followed by Chiffchaff on 22; altogether 9 species of warbler were ringed.

An important role for bird ringing is tracking migration. While the miles covered by birds can be truly astounding sometimes the human element can be less than impressive in recording these feats. A Swallow, captured at Stanwellmoor, back in 2013, has finally had its ringing record returned to us: it was ringed in Zaragoza, Spain in the autumn if 2010.

Friday 13 April 2018

Firecrest, Water Pipit and Fieldfare standout in March 2018

Not a month to venture out ringing and there were only 6 sessions held apart from gardens.

Recent March totals have varied between 33 and 276 so the total of 102 new birds was not too bad.

Not without interest, however, with Woolley Firs attracting two more Firecrests. Top species were Blue Tit on 38 and Great Tit on 18 but then there was a five-way tie for third, with Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Siskin and Lesser Redpoll all on 5.

A sighting of one of the colour-ringed Water Pipits from Stanwellmoor came from Staines Moor and there was a remarkable retrap of a Fieldfare – after four years – at Iver Heath.

Miserable weather is though on bird ringing - February 2018

In a testing month for birds and ringers, nearly all activity was around feeders or milder days. 161 birds of 21 species were ringed, which is actually similar to several recent years although if weight were a criterion it was extremely good with Sparrowhawk, 5 Parakeets, Jay and 2 Magpie providing the bulk.

Top species was Blue Tit at 61, with Great Tit on 43 and Coal Tit a surprise third on 7. A Firecrest was a good record at Woolley Firs and we received details of a Blackcap control from Gibraltar and a Portuguese-ringed Chiffchaff at Minet.

Tuesday 13 March 2018

Water Pipits mark the start of 2018

Despite the best efforts of the weather, January gave 186 new birds of 21 species which compares well with the last three years’ totals.

Water Pipit (D & C Lamsdell)
Three Water Pipits from Stanwellmoor were the highlight; the only other one for the group was in 2012. As is usual at this time of the year, tits predominated with 44 Blue, 36 Lotti and 34 Great topping the table but with 3 Meadow Pipit, 5 Redwing, 10 Goldcrest and 7 Lesser Redpoll in support.

We received records from France/Belgium of three birds we ringed last year: a Sedge Warbler in Seine-Maritime, France (five days after it was ringed in Bedfont); a Chiffchaff in Ouessant, Finistere, France and a Lesser Redpoll in Ethe, Luxembourg.

Saturday 13 January 2018

December 2017 - The Redwing and Fieldfare month

260 birds were reported ringed in December, the highest for the month since 2014. Thrushes featured strongly with four species in double figures and Redwing at 55 coming in at top species and captures at six sites.

Fieldfare was second at 33, just edging out Blue Tit on 32. Eleven Chiffchaff and a Blackcap were ringed and there were nice controls of a Meadow Pipit, and Lesser Redpoll from both east and west coasts in Black Park.

Fieldfare (Eleanor Page)