Wednesday, 31 December 2014

December come and gone

Wow, what happened to December, it's felt like I've turned my back and it has gone. A combination of bad weather and other things on meant we only got 7 ringing sessions in this month compared with the usual 13-14, however we managed to catch 380 birds of 19 species. The last couple of days we have been out targeting Buntings as a male Lapland Bunting was seen on Sunday afternoon by two friends of ours, (one up from Cornwall). Unfortunately we never located the bird but that's not to say it's not sat in the field some where. We did manage a creditable 31 Yellowhammer and 17 Reed Buntings as fair compensation though. You would not believe it but we have also been targeting the feeding station over these two days as well as we were only 4 Blue Tits away from a new annual record total. The first day we managed only 3 new Blue Tits but one escaped through a hole in the bag and yesterday no new Tits at all, would you believe it? Sods law in action only 2 new Blue Tits in 2 days with zillions of retraps. Redwings have been at the top of the list this month with a further 222 caught and still no controls. Oh well there's always next year !!!! With very few Fieldfare about this year we have found it difficult to catch any at all so I suppose the 5 we managed wasn't to bad. So that's about it for this year, lets all hope for another great bird filled year. A very happy New Year to all our readers. Mick

Sunday, 14 December 2014

10,000 birds!

Saturday's ringing session saw us surpass 10,000 birds this year, a total never reached in all the history of our group. Hoping to catch lots of Thrushes again, Mick, Simon, Mel, Ed, Jo and I met up at 05:30. The nets were up before dawn as usual. The first round was quiet and a little later in the morning a hoar frost kept the numbers low. That said, a late flurry of Redwing meant that we scraped through with 32 new and 20 retraps.  The 21 Redwing captured throughout the morning brought the total for the month up to 195 and to 409 for the year.

As our members are spread out over a few counties, the simplest way for us to have a Christmas get together is to meet up for a ringing session then head off to our local headquarters for dinner and a pint. One of our former members Ed had joined us for the day and it was great to catch up but we missed Dave who has been ill and Adam who had to work. Mick's wife Denise brightened up the dinner with stories about we know he is far softer than he pretends to be!

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

6th and 9th December

With everybody either shopping or not available on Saturday it was down to Mel and myself to wave the flag at Stanford this week and what a flag it was. With nets set before dawn we were hoping for a decent catch of Thrushes as the temp was -2.5c. The first round produced a brilliant 75 Redwing but a descending hoar frost then just about put the mockers on the rest of the morning. Fortunately the temperature did rise enough to melt the frost and allow us to catch a few more birds and we ended up with 95 new plus 3 retraps. Of these, 86 were Redwing - our best single day catch since 2010.

A late decision to go out ringing today meant nobody was available to help so off I went at silly o'clock to get the nets up before dawn. Mission accomplished it was soon time for the first net round. I was hoping for a good catch of Redwing again and I was not disappointed with 55 in the first round. Brilliant !!!! The rest of the morning continued with a steady trickle of birds. By 11 o'clock the wind had got up and was quite strong so I decided to take the nets down and ring the last few birds. After packing the kit away I sat and had a coffee and was pleasantly surprised to find I had caught 92 new plus 16 retraps and what's more, I had managed to catch another 87 Redwing. The last bird of the day was a new Kingfisher taking us to 19 for the year.


Saturday, 6 December 2014

November review

Well November has been a bit up and down to say the least with only 9 ringing sessions undertaken this month due to other commitments, December could be the same we will just have to wait and see. However, we did manage to have our second best ever November total of 487 birds ringed. When we have been able to go out a lot of effort has been put in by the team to achieve this number of birds. When you look at our best November total of 559, this was achieved with 5 more sessions so well done to all those who took part this month. Although we have caught a decent number of Redwing (168) they have not been about in any number at all, coupled with a pathetic 3 Fieldfare. However a further 38 Blackbird is not too bad for our site. On the warbler front we managed a single Blackcap and 4 Chiffchaff together with an unprecedented 3 Cettis Warbler, this is more than any previous annual total. Hopefully they will stay to breed at long last. A further 93 Tree Sparrow this month brought us to over 600 for the year but the most concerning thing is no Lesser Redpoll at all. Where are they?. If they are still on their breeding grounds then lets hope they don't get caught out with a prolonged cold spell with snow. Finally, this month we went through 7000 new birds for the year and what a great effort from the team. As ever, you can view our ringing totals and more by going onto our web site by typing in Stanford Ringing Group and following the various links.