Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Warbling in Early Summer

There are now lots of juvenile birds around, so we have to get out and ring them! The weather had been either windy or wet, or both, so we weren’t sure if there would be much about, however as it transpired we didn’t need to have worried.
Mick, Adam, Dave, Kate and I met up on Saturday 15th June at the railtrack at 0430, plus Sam, who is interested in learning how to ring. For the CES, we put up a minimum of 14 nets (plus sundry others at the feeders), so it is quite labour intensive. We got them up nice and quickly on a cool, still morning and Dave and Adam then went off to attend to the local nest boxes we have scattered through the woods surrounding the reservoir.
After a well deserved cup of tea, we started the first round. There was no shortage of birds! We had 50 birds on the first round and almost as many on the second. It was nice to see that there were plenty of juveniles around. Unavoidably, there were many juvenile tits, but also good numbers of migratory warblers. It looks like Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff are going to have a good year, as too are our resident Tree sparrows. However there were some notable absentees, including Grasshopper and Cetti’s warblers. We are a bit concerned that the former, although reeling early in the year, haven’t bred, although it is likely that the latter have - up at the Point.
Anyway, we worked quite hard with Mick scribing and Kate and I ringing in a stalwart fashion, while Sam handed us the bird bags and probably wondered what he had got himself into. At the end of the day we had 111 new birds ringed and 76 retraps processed. Just 13 short of the double ton! Standout birds were one juvenile Willow tit and a juvenile Kingfisher. This is our second Kingfisher this year, which is reassuring- they had a horrible year in 2018 due to the blizzards from the east last year, so we are delighted they are breeding again.
Dave and Adam carried out a nest box check and ringed two adult and two pulli Stock Doves, 8 Swallow pulli and 9 Tree Sparrow pulli, plus 3 Barn Owl nestlings, courtesy of Park Farm.
After all this work, we could barely manage to lift our glasses in the White Hart, but I’m glad to report we managed some fluid resuscitation before heading home.

Peter N

Monday, 10 June 2019

Cyprus 2019


 At the beginning of April myself Peter N and Stuart traveled to Cyprus for a weeks ringing.
We met up with Mark Jeffrey from the Sorby Brek Ringing Group.This was Stuart's first trip to Cyprus and he was very excited. However due to the large amount of rain the island had had over the winter period all the dams were full and the rivers had become raging torrents. As a result we had lost access to at least 2 of our best ringing sites.
The ringing for the week was going to be in the Polis area and the Akamas hills. The first morning we were ringing at Agios Minos. It was a quiet session, ringing mostly Blackcaps. However Stuart did ring a new species for him, a Sardinian Warbler.
The second morning was far more successful, ringing on a site called 'The Bend'.The high lights were Wryneck, Nightingale, Pied and Collered Flycatcher, Orphean Warbler, a lovely male Redstart and finished off with 2 Eastern Bonelli's Warblers.


Eastern Orphean Warbler

Female Collared Flycatcher

Male Redstart

Eastern Bonelli's Warblers
Pied Flycatcher

The third day was fairly quiet with more Nightingale, Collared Flycatcher and Orphean Warblers.
Because of the high water levels in the reed-beds in Polis we were limited to the Akamas.
So for the remainder of our trip we  found a site higher into the hills just below Lower Smigs ridge.
These days proved very productive resulting in several Wood Warblers, numerous Nightingales a pair of Creczhmars Bunting, Orotolan Bunting,another Bonelli's Warbler, Masked Shrike, Semi Collared Flycatcher, several Orphean Warblers, another Wryneck and the highlight was an adult Scoops Owl. 



View from Lower Smigs

Wryneck

Scops Owl

Cretzschmar's Bunting

Masked Shrike

Ortolan Bunting


For  a couple of afternoons we manged to find an area of reed-bed close to Polis, where we manged to catch another new species for Stuart.
Great Reed Warbler
A week is not long enough to really appreciate the number of birds and species that migrate through Cyprus. So another thoroughly enjoyable years ringing came to an end, with new species ringed by all involved.(12 by Stuart). 300 birds processed of 30 species .
I would like to thank Bird Life Cyprus for supplying the rings and permits and Mark Jeffrey for the use of his nets and equipment.
David

Saturday, 4 May 2019

The CES season begins

Mick and I sallied forth on Friday 3rd May to undertake the first CES of the year. We met at 0500 and proceeded to put up 14 nets on a dull and cool morning. These are often quiet, as a lot of the birds are either sitting up in trees singing, to defend their territories, or sitting on eggs.
The session produced 26 new birds and 42 retraps, a great start. Amongst the new birds, we ringed two new Grasshopper warblers. These were some distance apart and so we are confident these represent two distinct territories, in addition to a third near The Point. These remain quite a rarity which we don't get every year and so we were very pleased. Retraps are not quite so glamorous, but the warblers (with the exception of one Cetti's) are all migratory. This means that they have travelled to and from Africa or the Mediterranean since we last saw them and are starting to breed at good old Stanford. By the end of the morning we had ringed all 10 of our regular warbler species, a fantastic start to the season!
Peter N
Grasshopper Warbler - P Norrie