Monday, 21 July 2014

July 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