Monday 16 December 2019

November - recoveries come in from France, Belgium, The Gambia and Devon!

With only Bedfont and Woolley Firs operating this month, the total of 269 compares well with recent

No surprises in top species with Blue Tit on 105, Great Tit on 46 and Long-tailed Tit at 25, but 9 Redwing and 6 Gt. Spotted Woodpecker added to the total. Single records of Sparrowhawk, Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Bullfinch and Yellowhammer added interest.

We had some interesting returns from birds we'd ringed arriving this month - such foreign records can take a time to work their way to the BTO.

A Common Tern, ringed at Bedfont in July turned up in The Gambia (4,500km SSE) this month.

A female Reed Warbler, breeding at Bedfont this summer, was caught in the Bay of Biscay (750km S) in August.

A male Blackcap ringed in Wraysbury last summer, turned up in Belgium (330km ESE) this August and a Chiffchaff, we ringed last September also appeared on the continent, near Calais, this October.

A Redwing, ringed at Stanwellmoor Gravel Pits in October turned up in Devon (214km WSE) this month too.

And two of our Blue Tit chicks from this year's broods, one each from Woolley Firs and Bedfont turned up at Queen Mary Reservoir on the same day this October.

Monday 11 November 2019

October - The Goldcrests have arrived

Despite the unhelpful weather, a few sessions were possible on calmer days and the month total did reach 418.

October is always variable depending on Redpoll and Meadow Pipit flocks, so this is quite a healthy total.

A Stonechat at Stanwellmoor was the most unusual species. Goldcrest poured into all sites and tied for first place with Blue Tit at 74; Meadow Pipit followed on 56 with Long-tailed Tit on 35 and Redwing on 32.

Blackcap and Chiffchaff both managed 22 and there were small numbers of finch including four Lesser Redpoll.

Friday 18 October 2019

September - high catches kick-off the month but weather stops the migration survey

A rather frustrating month with only Bedfont, Wraysbury and Tythebarns in operation and the weather being uncooperative after 22nd.

The sessions that were held were very productive with Wraysbury processing over 200 on each of two sessions and Bedfont 40-50, so the total of 737 would have been much higher with better weather.

Blackcap was top species at 397 (54% of the total) with Chiffchaff at 112 and Blue Tit trailing at 52. Noteworthy were 6 Lesser Whitethroat, 7 Whitethroat and 7 Willow Warblers; the only Sedge Warbler ringed, was at Bedfont.

Friday 13 September 2019

August - Highest numbers since 2015

August gave a magnificent total of 1,513 new birds of 32 species; the highest since 1,590 in 2015.

The top four species now (and in 2015) were 628 Blackcap (417), 208 Whitethroat (241), 150 Chiffchaff (123) and 123 Garden Warbler (179).

Among the less-frequent warblers were 21 Willow Warbler (33), 18 Lesser Whitethroat (22) and 4 Sedge Warbler (22). This follows the national trend for Willow Warblers where numbers are falling in the south of England; whereas the fall in Sedge Warbler, while may be impacted by habitat degradation, requires further study to understand.

Highlights this month were 4 Tree Pipit (Stanwellmoor and Wraysbury) and a Redstart at Wraysbury.

Recoveries included a Common Tern we colour-ringed at Bedfont Lakes in July 2016, sighted, this month, at 138km northwards at Rutland Water.

Thursday 22 August 2019

July - Nightingale returns to Wraysbury

Nightingale (Chris & Denise Lamsdell)
The July total of 855 is the highest since 2011 and 33 species gave a good spread, including our first Nightingale for 4 years (Wraysbury) and a welcome 18 Common Tern pulli.

Blackcap was top species with 267 with Whitethroat some way behind at 105 and Blue Tit on 85. But among the 546 new warblers there was only one Lesser Whitethroat (Bedfont) and one Willow Warbler (Wraysbury).

Other less-frequently ringed species this month were a Sand Martin (Stanwellmoor), 15 Swallow, a Jackdaw, 19 Starling and 7 House Sparrow.

June - Red Kite visit RRG

Typical – we wait sixteen months for a new species for the group list then two come along together!

Three Red Kites were attracted to the Iver Heath garden, together with a Lesser Black-backed Gull.
Red Kite (Chris & Denise Lamsdell)

Statistically, LBBG was already on the list on the basis of some holiday ringing in Cornwall over 40 years ago, but this is the first within the Runnymede area. Also unusual were four Lapwing pulli at Langley Vale, and altogether the July total was 378 new birds of 32 species.

Juveniles swelled the catches with Blackcap the most numerous at 89, Whitethroat at 41 and Chiffchaff at 30.

Monday 10 June 2019

May - Little Ringed Plover returns

A productive month with the total of 331 new birds of 27 species; well up to expectations.

The number of pulli ringed, at 112, were lower than usual making the number of free-flying birds ringed is actually the highest since 2016.

Little Ringed Plover made a welcome return to the list (the last ones ringed by the group was in 2010) and Blue Tit (81) and Great Tit (43) led the species – but most were boxlings.

Otherwise, Long-tailed Tit was top at 35 followed by Robin on 31 and Whitethroat on 29th.

Tuesday 4 June 2019

April - we welcome our returning migrants

Returning migrants gave a welcome boost to the April total of 155 new birds of 21 species. 

Almost half were Blackcap (76), a long way ahead of Chiffchaff at 11. The only Lesser Whitethroat was at Tythebarns, Whitethroat (4) and Willow Warbler (3) at Wraysbury, and Garden Warbler (3) at Bedfont and Wraysbury.

Some early-season finches featured Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and Linnet.

Tuesday 7 May 2019

March 2019 - Chaffinch flies 890km from Norway to Berkshire

The wet and windy first half to the month meant fewer ringing sessions were held and only 67 new birds were ringed but with a similar number of retraps.

Blackcap and Chiffchaff featured well and two Linnet were good at Wraysbury.

Top species was again Blue Tit on 13. DemOn gave rapid results for three controls:

  • a Water Pipit colour-ringed in January 2018 on Stanwellmoor was seen on Staines Moor in March this year.
  • a Chiffchaff ringed in Northumberland in 2016 was recorded at Wraysbury, 431km away, in March this year
  • last month's Chaffinch at Woolley Firs was ringed in Norway, 890km away, last October

February 2019 - one of our Pied Wagtails turns up at Heathrow Airport

Only 85 new birds of 17 species this month, of which 26 Blue Tits and 22 Great Tits were the majority.

However, there were several reports of ringed Mute Swans and details of a Cetti’s Warbler, whilst Woolley Firs produced an interesting control - a Chaffinch ringed in Norway; spending its winter in Berkshire.

A public ringing demonstration at Woolley Firs for BBOWT was well received and the trust's buildings provided protection from the strong 30-40mph gusts that crossed the sites.

The ring of a Pied Wagtail was read at Heathrow Airport in March - we had ringed it in July 2015 at Stanwellmoor Gravel Pits.

Monday 18 February 2019

January 2019 - Norway & Gibraltar recoveries received

204 new birds of 20 species got the year off to a good start for the hardy teams that ventured out.

Unsurprisingly, Blue and Great Tit topped the list with 85 and 30 each, but Goldcrest and Long-tailed Tit tied for third on 14.

Nice species to get on the list were 3 Meadow Pipit, a Fieldfare, Cetti’s Warbler, Blackcap and Lesser Redpoll. Details of a number of recoveries were received from the BTO. Notably, the Redwing from December 2018 ringed in 908km away in Rogaland, Norway in the autumn of 2017 and a Blackcap, ringed by the group at Minet last August and recaptured 1,754km away in Gibraltar last August.

Wednesday 6 February 2019

Norwegian Redwing - December 2018

Ringing sessions were hampered by unsettled weather but most sites managed at least one outing although catches were often low.

The total of over 193 new birds of 20 species brought some surprises with Redwing ringed at most sites and their total of 33 put them in second place after Blue Tit on 39.

Other good December species were a Meadow Pipit at Woolley Firs, a Blackcap at Iver Heath and 3 Chiffchaff, at Bedfont and Wraysbury. Finches and buntings were hard to come by with only 7 ringed in the period.

There were controls of Cetti’s Warbler at Stanwellmoor and a Norwegian Redwing which are awaiting ringing details.

Cetti's Warbler & Chiffchaff movements - November 2018

A quiet month with only 138 birds of 16 species ringed, 131 being at Woolley Firs targeting Blue Tits for the BTO post-juvenile moult survey.

Needless to say, Blue Tits were the top species at 64 but there were also 5 Collared Doves at Tythebarns and 5 Redwing and a Mistle Thrush at Woolley Firs. Mistle Thrush is actually our rarest thrush at Group sites, the last being at Tythebarns in April 2015.

A control of a Wraysbury-ringed Cetti’s Warbler in 2018 was the first long-distance movement of a group-ringed bird, recapture at Titchfield Haven, Hampshire; and a Chiffchaff made a rapid journey to the Portsmouth from Wraysbury taking just 5 days in September/October of 2018.