Sunday, 26 October 2014

Saturday 25th October

What a fantastic day's ringing we had yesterday! We met on the railtrack at 06:00. A real treat - it means getting up only an hour earlier than I would for work. On the downside, it felt like the session was very short.

We put Latvian love song on all the nets for the first round which unfortunately produced lots of empty nets. The tapes were changed to Goldfinch and Greenfinch and the numbers soon picked up. We managed a very respectable 99 birds over the day including  9 Greenfinch, 8 Reed Bunting, 3 Yellowhammer, 3 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush and 1 Chiffchaff.

We also captured 2 new species for the year which meant two ringing ticks for me - Cetti's Warbler and Green Woodpecker. This was fantastic as I've been wishing for a Green Woodpecker for the 3.5 years I've been with the group and it was the first time I had ever seen a Cetti's so that was also a lifer for me - a very exciting day!

Monday, 20 October 2014

Windy Monday

Well I got a text later yesterday from Mick suggesting we went ringing in the morning. I thought he must be mad, its going to be far to windy for ringing. Anyway I agreed to meet him at 06.00 hrs on the old rail track as normal. To my surprise when we got to the site it was breezy but not too bad. So we erected nets that had a slight protection from the wind by the large hedge which runs the length of the track.We set the MP3 players on the Latvian love song and waited. On the first net round half of the nets were empty and I wondered if we had made a mistake in coming out. However by the next round we had changed some of the MP3's to Goldfinch and Greenfinch and a 20' through the hedge to Yellowhammer, things started to improve.At one point I was sitting having a well deserved cup of coffee when Mick shouted 'OH NO'!!!! . He had seen a large flock of Starlings fly straight towards the small net through the hedge. So we quickly went to check it before they managed to damaged the net.
Fortunately we had only caught the one. Then came the problem of ageing and sexing it. Where was our expert Starling ringer (Dawn ) when you needed her??? Out came Svensson. By the end of the day we had had a really successful day of 119 new birds and 15 retraps. The bulk of the numbers were made up of 41 Greenfich, 23 Goldfinch and 11 Yellowhammers, but we did catch 2 Blackcaps and 2 Chiffchaffs together with 8 Redwing which was nice. A very good decision by Mick with the text. Thanks

Friday, 10 October 2014

Friday 10th October

Mick and I met up at 05:30 on the rail track this morning - I might be getting used to all this one-to-one training I've been getting recently! It was a nice steady session bringing in a total of 77 new birds and 15 retraps including 18 Greenfinch, 12 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap and 6 Goldfinch. Just before first light a fox was seen crossing the rail track twice which was a highlight for me because despite living in a rural location, foxes are rarely seen.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Sunday 5th October

The weather forecast for yesterday was dreadful and completely accurate for once. We decided to meet today instead but the change of plan meant a small turn-out with only Mick, Adam and myself attending. It's actually quite nice to be the only C ringer with two A ringers for support! It was frosty and as it got lighter, thick fog rolled in. It looked like we might not have a good morning. The fog soon burned off however and although the numbers were not vast, they held steady for three rounds before tailing off. We achieved 84 new birds and 24 retraps including a late Reed Warbler, 11 Chiffchaffs, 7 Goldcrest, 6 Greenfinches and a Yellowhammer. Sightings throughout the morning include 60+ Skylarks flying overhead and more than 60 Meadow Pipits were seen moving through although we only captured 3 of them. After topping up the feeders it was time to slope off to our headquarters for a pint.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

CAN I HAVE A REST NOW----- September review

Well what a staggeringly fantastic month it's been for sheer numbers of birds pouring through Stanford Res. We have been out ringing on site 18 times this month and caught and processed some 2793 birds of 36 species, ringing 2488 of them !!!! To put this in perspective we have only had 7 better ANNUAL totals than this month in 39 years of ringing on site. Little did we know how the month was going to pan out, when on the 1st I went out and only ringed 30 birds (lowest catch). The following day we were back out with a visiting ringer for company, hoping for a better day. Well it went well beyond our wildest dreams with 298 birds ringed mostly Blackcap (highest catch) and that is by and large how its continued all month. Blackcaps have been beyond belief, we have caught a staggering 1291 birds this month bringing the annual total to 1627, more than doubling our previous best of 710 in 2011. Another real success story has been Chiffchaff with sheer numbers just going through the roof. We have ringed 507 this month which has outstripped our previous best annual total of 388 by miles we are currently on 663 for the year. Apart from the high numbers we have had a little bit of quality as well in the form of 2 Redstart, a Spotted Flycatcher and finally, 2 Northern Willow Warblers (there have only been 4 records for the county and all at Stanford). We have also had a record month for controls with 5 Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler. So we will sit back and wait to see where they have come from and give us an insight into the origins of this fantastic movement. To see a comprehensive list of this months totals and everything about Stanford then go to our Web Site. Just type in Stanford Ringing Group and browse ---- Mick

Friday, 26 September 2014

Over and Out ( Part Two )

Another great weeks ringing has been had at Stanford Reservoir with another 310 birds ringed (this is getting expensive) mostly Blackcap 132, and Chiffchaff 72. We also had a smattering of other late warblers which included Reed Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat. What a great year we have had for the latter, my favourite breeding Warbler with over 80 now being caught and ringed on site. I have had 2 ringing highlights this week one at the beginning when I caught a Redstart the 2nd this year. They are not a common bird in these parts so its always nice to catch one and later in the week a Coal Tit !!! Yes I know your thinking a Coal Tit, well again all we catch on site is a handful a year so its always a pleasure to catch one. I also managed to catch yet another Blackcap control, this brings it to 5 for the month for this species together with a Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler. This is our best ever month for controls and we still have 2-3 ringing sessions left. Anyway that's it for me again till next week as this weekend I'm off to my friends in Cambs so the wife can go on Hen party while I go ringing at my friends farmland site. Good Luck to Adam, Dave and the rest of the team at good old Stanny, catch something to make me envious. --- MICK
Redstart - MJ Townsend

Saturday, 20 September 2014

20th September 2014

Perfect ringing conditions greeted us at Stanford this morning. There was very little wind and visiblity was low for the best part of the day which meant no nasty sunshine to light the nets up. We all arrived at 05:00 and started to erect the nets, minus Mick, who was attending a friends stag night. The movement in the Willows in the net rides suggested that we could be in for a good catch today so tape lures were set for Blackcap and a mix of Chiffchaff and Goldcrest thrown in for good measure. The first round was a meagre catch of just 17 birds of mainly the target species of Blackcap. The second round was far better with 69 birds and predominantly Chiffchaff and Blackcap along with a Lesser Whitethroat, two Sedge Warbler and three Goldcrests. Northants bird county recorder Mike Alibone joined us in time to observe these being processed and was treated to close-ups of a juvenile male Sparrowhawk and a Great Spotted Woodpecker caught on a later net round. The Meadow Pipits didn't really settle in today as there were horse riders using the railtrack for a charity ride although one was caught on the final net round....a Pipit, not a horse! Altogther it was a good day with 93 new birds and 33 retraps processed and there's no sign of things slowing down just yet.
Juvenile male Sparrowhawk - P Maguire