Merry Christmas to all our readers and fellow bird ringers and I hope you all have a happy new year. As many of us know feeding wild birds can be an expensive hobby and like numerous other ringing groups we like to keep our feathered friends supplied with a variety of seeds, peanuts and other foods to help them through the year. As our group is now almost totally self-funded we have struggled more this year than any other year to find the funds to cover the costs of birdfood, rings and other equipment. Over the last two months Stanford Ringing Group members have been asking relatives, friends and work colleagues to sponsor them on a birdwatching day at the reservoir which would involve counting all species seen during a 4 hour walk around the perimeter. The money raised will be used to help towards the funding of the feeding station which costs us approximately £400 per year and greatly helps our wintering resident species such as Tree Sparrow, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer.
So today Mick and Dave arrived early to erect some nets for a short ringing session and Peter, Jo and myself got there a little later to walk off the Christmas turkey and carry out our sponsored walk. The morning got off to a great start with 2 Short-eared Owls at the inlet end with Barn Owl, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Green Woodpecker all putting in an appearance within the first half hour. Whilst driving down the railtrack I followed a male Merlin up to the ringing base where Mick and Dave had just completed the first round of the nets. Two Cetti's Warblers extracted from the nets were added to the list as were Snipe, Woodcock and Tawny Owl (heard) whilst the nets were being erected.
After a quick refreshment break Peter, Jo and myself set off on our walk around the reservoir leaving Mick and Dave to carry on with ringing and recording species around the bay. Apart from the usual species we added Goosander, Buzzard, Stock Dove and Goldcrest to the list to give us an impressive total of 65 species seen. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that kindly sponsored us and those that continue to support the ringing group as without your support it would not be possible for us to continue our work year after year.
The final species list was Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Gadwall, Wigeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goldeneye, Goosander, Pheasant, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great Crested Grebe, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Lapwing, Woodcock, Snipe, Common Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Black-headed Gull, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Barn Owl, Tawny Owl, Short-eared Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Skylark, Cetti's Warbler, Wren, Treecreeper, Starling, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Redwing, Robin, Dunnock, Tree Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer, Reed Bunting.