Saturday, 26 July 2014

This morning, Mick, Mel, Jess, Dave and I met at 04:30 to do the CES. It was a nice warm but still and overcast morning, good catching conditions and as expected the first round brought high numbers. The majority of the catches were juveniles and young Bullfinches featured well throughout the morning. An even split of 86 new birds and 86 retraps was the total for the session and the day was rounded off nicely with some Linnet pulli which were a first for both Jess and myself.

Monday, 21 July 2014

June 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.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Visiting Ringers

Saturday dawned to a bright and calm morning and with a 04:30 start things looked good and all we needed were the birds to play the game, and play they did with some 184 birds processed. With Adam having a late start due to working a night shift we were glad to see a group of visiting ringers. Jesse is working up here till mid September and is a C ringer with the Rye Bay Ringing group so we hope she will become a regular during here time up here, while Jed Andrews brought over 2 Spanish ringers, Juan and Jose to have their permits upgraded to 'A'. Anyway we ended up with a much bigger team than usual, with people scattering along the side of the Reservoir the nets were soon in place. A quick cup of coffee and we were off extracting the first wave of birds about 65 in all. What a start but with the number of people ringing we soon had the birds cleared and off we went for round two which was a little disappointing but not to worry it was still early morning with plenty of time to catch. After ringing at Rye Bay for the last 4 years Jesse got a ringing tick much to our surprise in the shape of a Tree Sparrow, later on she got to ring some pulli as well, well done Jesse! Meanwhile the two Spaniards were making a great impression with everybody with their knowledge and good humour, I wish they could stay and join the group !!!! Anyway I digress, Adam turned up about 10:00 with bag in hand, in it was a new bird for Juan a Stock Dove not bad at all. Adam had also been to do the brood of Kestrels on the far bank , a large and feisty brood of 3. In the meantime the Spaniards were treated to 3 Lesser Whitethroat, a species that is not encountered back home as they migrate through Italy. A juvenile Coal Tit was a decent bird for us as we only ring very small numbers here, then just at the end of the day we hit a Long Tailed Tit flock catching 20 birds, they seem to have had a good year this year I counted 56 going through the garden the other day. Blackcap is another species on the up with 20 birds caught mainly juvenile, long may it last with CES visit 6 this coming week. Mick

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Yesterday, after seeing the weather forecast, we decided that we would not be ringing today and therefore would meet at the later time of 09:00 and check some of the larger nest boxes which should now have Stock Doves starting to take up residence. On arrival at the rail track gate the skies were clear and no wind! We'd fallen for it again! We had promised ourselves that we would ignore forecasts as they invariably turn out incorrect. With new guy posts, a sledgehammer and a roll of guy cord in hand we walked around to the orchard to ensure the rides were equipped for tomorrows CES session. Well, the weatherman can be happy with his forecast, albeit a little later than predicted, as the heavens opened and we got drenched within 30 mins. After a soggy walk back to the cars and a cuppa we had eventually dried off but it still continued to rain and when 12pm came we gave up any chance of checking the nest boxes.
The skies did manage to clear up by 2pm as Ian Bartlett ventured out and very kindly sent in these images.
Cuckoo - I Bartlett

Spotted Flycatcher - I Bartlett

Mute Swan and cygnets - I Bartlett

Common Terns - I Bartlett