Saturday, 16 August 2014

Saturday 16/08

With just me, Dave and Mick attending, we had a small team to do the CES this morning . It was much colder than we have been used to recently and unfortunately, while the area that we process the birds is very central to the whole of the CES, it is most definitely not a sun trap!

The first round produced good numbers but as usual this dropped off for subsequent rounds. Over the course of the morning we caught a very respectable total of 61 new and 49 retraps. Of those 100 birds, highlights were 12 Whitethroat, 2 Lesser Whitethroat and 3 juvenile Swallows. After refilling the feeding station, we sloped off to our headquarters  - The White Hart at South Kilworth - for refreshment.

Monday, 4 August 2014

July review

Well what a month July has been. We have had our best month ever for birds captured with some 1659 birds of which 1075 were new. This is only the third time we have achieved 1000+ birds ringed in a month, well done to all group members and visiting ringers. Its fair to say that this year we have had a very successful breeding season with lots of fledged young about, this is illustrated quite well by our Blackbird total this month. Usually we ring less than 10 during July but this year we have caught 33, a staggering increase with us doing nothing different than in previous years. The last time we achieved anything like that was way back in 1978 when 37 were ringed. The most ringed species this month have been Whitethroat with 174 ringed, Tree Sparrow with 156 and Blackcap with 118. Good numbers were also achieved for Reed Bunting 77, Garden Warbler 48 and Lesser Whitethroat with 26. The only species for concern at the moment is Sedge Warbler with much smaller numbers being caught than usual. This is possibly due to a smaller breeding stock due to reduced numbers returning in the spring. For a fuller look at what we have caught during the month please go onto our web page and click the statistics page and then the relevant month.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Never believe the weatherman!

This morning's forecast was for rain, rain and more rain. We decided to meet up anyway at the rail track at 04:30 to see if we could dodge the showers. There was a decent turn out - myself, Mick, Craig, Dave and Simon. We put up nets from Feeders to Berries and two 30 ft nets on the rail track. The first round did not bring in high numbers at all but over the course of the morning, we managed to catch 59 new and 30 retraps. Highlights of the day were 4 Lesser Whitethroat and 15 Tree Sparrow. We checked the Linnet nest for pulli but found the adult still incubating eggs so moved on to the stables and Park Farm to check Swallow nests resulting in 16 pulli ringed. It just goes to show that you shouldn't put too much faith in the weatherman!

Monday, 21 July 2014

July 13th - 20th

We managed to get 3 ringing sessions in this week. Firstly on the 15th Adam and I ringed from just past the Water Tower up to the Orchard area, managing to catch 74 birds of which 51 were new. The highlight of the day being 2 Kingfishers, this brings the years catch to 9, the best since 12 were caught in 1981. The next ringing effort was again by Adam and myself doing CES 8 on Thursday 17th. What a day with 150 birds handled, 92 being new. The catch was dominated by young birds proving how good a breeding season it's being for them. Warblers, as ever at our site were at the forefront of things all morning. A truly great morning with great birds! Of interest, we had 3 good retraps, one being the nearly bird. First we caught a Reed Bunting that was originally ringed way back in August 2009 as an adult male, secondly we caught a Chaffinch, also ringed as an adult male but this time it was ringed in September 2009 so both birds are now getting quite old. Finally we caught the nearly bird, it was definitely a record for us but not quite a national record. The bird was a long distant migrant which probably goes to Ghana each winter a truly epic journey. It was first caught on the 2nd July 2005 as a breeding adult female it was a Garden Warbler, hopefully it will return next year to claim its record. The bird that currently holds the record is a few months older than ours but was ringed as a juvenile so our bird is technically older than the record holder. So, with Saturday being a wash out we went out ringing yesterday, I was joined by Jess this time as the rest of the group could not make it. We had another good day with 116 captures 86 being new. Sundays catch was dominated by Whitethroats and Blackcap that are now coming to sound lures. We also caught a new species for the year, a House Sparrow.... not very exciting you would think but we have ringed less than 10 in the 39 years we have been at Stanford. Epic !!! Mick

Sunday, 13 July 2014

A warblerfest

July has picked up where June left off with many species successfully raising young. Warblers have shown a significant rise with sylvia warblers heading towards record numbers compared to previous years. Garden Warblers, Blackcaps and Whitethroats just seem to be everywhere with good numbers been trapped on each visit. So far we have been out five times this month and processed 738 birds including 459 new birds ringed. Ist - 89 birds processed, 3rd - 88, 6th - 199, 7th - 137, 9th - 64, 12th - 161. Over 200 new Tree Sparrows have been ringed so far this year, 60 of those have been ringed this month, with lots of juveniles being trapped at the feeding station. Reed Buntings are also having a successful year with 42 juveniles ringed this month and bringing the annual total to 83. So the breeding season is now in full swing and there are still around 6 weeks still to go. Once the adults finish breeding they will go through a full body and wing moult. Warblers such as Blackcap, Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff all moult in this country before their migration. However, Reed Warblers and Sedge Warblers carry out their moult on arrival of their wintering grounds in West Africa. On the other hand Garden Warblers are a bit of an enigma when it comes to moult. Some adults can show signs of wing feather renewal in the UK but others will moult in their winter quarters. At Stanford we don't see many Garden Warblers in wing-moult but on the 6th we caught this adult that clearly shows a suspended moult strategy with all of the secondaries renewed and the inner two primaries have both been dropped.

Adult Garden Warbler in suspended wing-moult - July 6th

Sunday, 29 June 2014

More visitors

After last Saturdays visitors we had more this week in the form of a recently moved ringer of ours returning from deepest Lincolnshire to do a bit of ringing with us and two guys from the South Leicestershire Owl Group, Paul and Jon. It was nice to see Ed again and catch up with what he has been getting up to. The weather forecast was not great for Saturday morning but we decided to give it a go anyway and hoped we would miss the predicted showers. As I drove to the reservoir I was hoping I had made the right decision as it was heavily overcast with some thick patches of mist, anyway we all assembled at 04:30 to erect the nets. With some 22 nets up we were hoping for another good morning ringing the same area as last Saturday. We were not to be disappointed, with a great mornings ringing again we managed to process 194 birds of 27 species. Today we managed to catch the first Grasshopper Warbler of the year, an adult in breeding condition. What a day with 9 species of warbler caught together, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a Woodpigeon and another juvenile Kingfisher. Although it was a bit hectic at times everybody had a good mornings ringing with Paul and Jon seeing many species in the hand for the first time and also their first experience of Mist netting, we hope they enjoyed themselves!! The most numerous species caught today were Garden Warbler 21, Blackcap 20, Whitethroat 18 and Chiffchaff 17. We also caught an impressive 6 Lesser Whitethroat making a total of 13 over the last 3 visits. At 11:00 it started to drizzle so the nets were taken down and kit packed away. We then went to the stables to ring 2 broods of Swallows and then off to our headquarters at the White Hart in South Kilworth to discuss the day and have a well earned drink. - Mick

Friday, 27 June 2014

Exploding June

After Saturdays great effort I was looking forward to this weeks CES session. So on Monday I met Dawn bright and early to do the CES. What a day we had with 96 new birds ringed and a further 36 retraps made for a great days ringing. Although we caught nothing of note their were lots of juvenile birds about with the most ringed being 16 Blackcap followed by 12 Tree Sparrow and 11 Chiffchaff. On Thursday I decided to ring in the area just past the dam up to the orchard. I arrived at 04:30 to erect the nets and started catching straight away. This heralded the best days ringing we have ever had in this particular area with again 96 birds ringed and 36 retraps of which most were juveniles. Again the most ringed species was Blackcap with 15 followed by Chaffinch on 11 and Willow Warbler on 10. I also had a first for me, not a first ringed as we have done a number over the years but a first in a Mist Net!!!!! CARRION CROW what a turn up! Anyway with 322 birds ringed and 116 birds retrapped I think you will agree June has certainly exploded with juvenile birds. Mick.