The latest annual report is now available from our website, Stanford Ringing Group (stanfordrg.org.uk) (always worth a browse), or directly from 2022-annrep.pdf (stanfordrg.org.uk) Enjoy.
Wednesday, 25 January 2023
Monday, 23 January 2023
Scrub Bashing Starts Again!
return of the migrant warblers and a bountiful ringing season in 2023.
Sunday, 11 December 2022
Winter Ringing at Stanford
A cold snap has hit the UK, but a mere detail like that is as nothing to the boys and girls of the mighty Stanford Ringing Group!
On Saturday 10th December, the temperature varied from a decidedly nippy -3 degrees C, to a comparatively balmy +1. Not put off, a large team met up at 0600. Dawn and Beth went to the Paddock, whilst Adam, Dave, Jade, Jo, Stuart and Peter met up on the rail track. Battling with frozen guys and sub zero metal polls, we put up nets from Safari to Box 16, plus the Paddock giving a total of 27, a mammoth undertaking. Despite the cold, it was a sunny morning with very little wind, so it perhaps wasn't quite as challenging as this photo might suggest:
The first round was very productive, with a good number of thrushes, both resident and winter visitors:
It is particularly nice to have decent numbers of Fieldfare; the total for 2022 is 24 so far, in comparison to a decidedly meagre single bird in the previous year.
The totals from both locations were, for new birds: Wren 2, Dunnock 1, Blackbird 11, Fieldfare 2, Song Thrush 3, Redwing 23, Blackcap 1 and Reed Bunting 3. We were really pleased to re-trap a number of our resident species, who seem to be surviving the cold weather very well, these were: Wren 7, Dunnock 4, Robin 9, Blackbird 3, Cetti's Warbler 2, Long Tailed Tit 2, Blue Tit 7 and Great Tit 3. Also, we had a re-trap Yellowhammer, which is a very rare event- the first since 2001!
Well 2022 is drawing to a close, and in many ways it has been a horrible year, but nothing puts off our birds as they go through their lives, perhaps a lesson for all of us. Last words go to one of our residents:
'Merry Christmas, see you in 2023!'
Friday, 2 September 2022
Stanstock III: A Great Gathering of the Group at the Reservoir
Our annual celebration of migration is nominally scheduled for the last whole week of August, leading up to the Bank Holiday. The Gods of Ringing smiled upon us this time, and we had decent weather from Saturday 20th through to Tuesday 30th, so we ringed pretty solidly for 11 days. This was backed up by a good turnout of SRG members, so in addition to Railtrack, for part of the time we had two ringing stations, covering the Railtrack and Point; about 27 nets. As before, a contingent camped out supplemented by day visitors. It is no exaggeration to describe it as a walloping great success!!
Jade, Heather and Kate look industrious
The full species count for new birds was:
Blackcap 1394, Whitethroat 409, Sedge Warbler 349, Willow Warbler 285, Reed Warbler 178, Robin 93, Lesser Whitethroat 72, Garden Warbler 70, Chiffchaff 49, Grasshopper Warbler 40, Blue Tit 27, Redstart 14, Wren 12, Goldcrest 10, Swallow 9, Long-tailed Tit 8, Reed Bunting 7, Blackbird 5, Song Thrush 5, Cetti's Warbler 5, Stock Dove 4, Whinchat 4, Linnet 4, Spotted Flycatcher 3, Great Tit 3, Sand Martin 2, Dunnock 2, Bullfinch 2, and single Tawny Owl, Pied Flycatcher, Wryneck , Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Tree Sparrow, Chaffinch, and Goldfinch!
A young Tawny- great way to start the week
Very smart juvenile Whinchat
Juvenile male Pied Flycatcher
Thursday, 14 July 2022
Great Morning at the Reservoir
We usually ring on a Saturday, weather permitting. We have recently had a number of excellent sessions, and been moving around the site, starting to ring lots of juvenile birds; our resident birds seem to be having a really good season. These sessions are augmented by midweek ringing, usually with Mick or Adam, both retired, both keen.
Tuesday 12 July was designated as a mid week excursion, and as if by magic, suddenly a big chunk of the team were available! So... Mick and Adam set up in the Paddock, Stuart and Kate ambled over to Blower's Bay, and Dave and I, plus Jade our new trainee, donned waders and staggered into the Leics reedbed.
Everyone had a good morning, M&A ringed 87 new and retrapped 18, S&K ringed 45 new and retrapped 18. These were a good representative bunch of pretty much what we would expect at this time of the year, good numbers of Blackcap, Robin, Chiffchaff, Sedge, Reed and Garden Warblers and sundry others. Very nice.
Over in the reedbed, much to everyone's surprise, things were afoot! Firstly, we ringed a slightly drab 3J female Nuthatch, which was a ringing tick for Jade, as well as being a bird that we don't necessarily catch every year. This was in fact the first for the year!
At Mick's suggestion, Dave and I put up a 40' two shelfed net out to a patch of shingle, exposed as the water level has dropped. At 0900 I went out and found a large brown bird next to the shore! I promptly extracted it and brought it back:
Sunday, 29 May 2022
A Foray into Darkest Leicestershire
As followers of this blog may know, most of our ringing is based on the rail track access courtesy of Parker Farms, which is in Northants. The border between Northants and Leics actually runs through the reservoir, and so when we went ringing in the Paddock on Saturday 28th May, we crossed into the badlands of Leicestershire. Mick, Dave, Jo and Jade (a potential trainee) put up nets along the Paddock, whilst Adam, Peter and Stuart went into the Reedbed, a few minutes walk further along.
Results were largely in line with expectations for the time of year; in the Paddock there were 13 new and 18 retraps, in the Reedbed 29 new and 33 retraps. The major surprise of the session was an adult Jackdaw which wandered into one of the nets in the Paddock, no doubt looking for food for a hungry brood.
We do get to ring a number of Jackdaw as pulli (nestlings) in boxes, but this has never happened in all the 40 years that Mick has been ringing at Stanford! Whatever next?
Meanwhile, in the Reedbed, it was nice to see a good return of Reed Warblers; we had 26 birds ringed by us in previous years safely arrived back for the breeding season. This makes them our most site faithful species. The oldest was ringed six years and 354 days ago. Given that it is of the order of 3,500 miles from Stanford to their wintering grounds in West Africa, that means it has around 42,000 miles on the clock! Not bad for a little bird which weighs about 12 grams, or 1.5 times the weight of a pound coin.
Adam, whose work ethic cannot be faulted, also checked a nest box to find a lovely brood of Barn Owl chicks. These were very recently hatched and too small to be ringed, but we will of course return in a few weeks time to do the decent thing.
Add into all this a steady trickle of juvenile birds, including Chiffchaff, Robins and Dunnocks, and it is shaping up to be a good season. We are now back into our usual ringing on Saturday mornings; watch this space for further adventures with the mighty SRG!
Sunday, 1 May 2022
Fantastic to be out and ringing again. Scrub bashing is over and we are starting regular Saturday sessions. Ringing is a bit hit and miss this early in the year, but we are pleased to report a good return of our migrants. Warblers are our speciality and we have already ringed Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Garden, Grasshopper, Willow, Reed, Sedge, Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat (a personal favourite), as well as our local overwintering birds.
First Gropper of the year (photo AGH)
On Saturday 30 April, Peter Mick and Stuart were out bright and early and put up nets from Church to Berries, a total of 15 nets. Pete B joined us a bit later. Numbers were decent for the time of year, with 16 new and 28 retraps. Whilst having a tea break, Stuart noticed a Robin busily returning to a nest just behind the ringing station (i.e. Mick's Kia). Mick promptly retrieved three pulli (nestlings), which Stuart ringed: