Sunday, 26 April 2015

Swallow in Congo

We received a recovery note from the BTO on Thursday.
An adult Swallow ringed at Stanford Reservoir, Northants in May 2012 was ''freshly dead and intentionally taken'' in September 2014, so we are assuming that it was a light snack for a hungry hunter!
This is our furthest recovery of any species in the 40 year history of the ringing group, travelling a distance of 7129km to the far reaches of Congo in Africa and beats our previous record of a Blackcap that made it's way 2327km to Morocco.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Ringing at Last

After what seems to have been an eternity, at last the group has started ringing again on a Saturday morning. The scrub clearing which we have been doing for the last three months is vitally important for the returning warblers, but its great to get back ringing. Listening to the Chiff's singing reminds us that its spring and the start of what we hope will be another fantastic year at Stanford. This year as well as our CES site we now have a RAS approved for Tree Sparrows.
Last Wednesday myself, Dawn, Mel, Mick and my lad Angus met at the railtrack gate at 6am. It was a bit breezy but the weather forecast was for the wind to drop so we erected 11 nets and waited for the first round. While setting one of the nets Dawn and myself heard a Cetti's singing. This was fantastic because a couple had been seen during the winter on the reservoir.
Time for a quick coffee before Mick and Mel went one way and Dawn and myself the other. In the first nets we checked was the Cetti's (brilliant), a retrap male from the end of last year. We all have our fingers crossed that we will get Cetti's breeding this year which will be a first for the reservoir. We returned to the base and between us I think we had about 20 birds, including several Chiffchaffs and Tree Sparrows. We continued during the morning with a mixture of Tree Sparrows, Tits, Chiffs and a retrap Great Spotted Woodpecker. During one of our coffee breaks Dawn and Mel were talking and Mel asked Dawn what bird would she love to ring. she immediately said a Jay. The reasoning behind this was because Jay is a bird that has alluded Dawn. She has been with the group over 4yrs and has unfortunately managed to be missing on the days we actually catch one (which is not very often as we only ring if we're lucky a couple a year).
On the next round Mel returned with a smile on his face and presented Dawn with what was obvious a large bird in the bag. Dawns hand delved into the bag and ours ears heard the predicted yell of pain but she persevered and produced a Jay out of the bag.Her little face lit up, but no tears this time.
I was really pleased for her,  but now I have to think of another bird she has yet to ring that we catch at the site, so I can wind her up. Hmmmm I think Sparrowhawk!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.
By the end of the day we had caught a respectful 62 birds which included 10 new Chiffs and 10 Tree Sparrows which takes us to over 60 already this year.

The first Saturday ringing session at the res and only Adam, myself and Angus could make it. We met at 6am at the railtrack as normal and trundled down to our base area. The wind was predicted to be about 8mph but it was a lot stronger than that. We decided that 'well we're here we may aswell put some nets up' and see what if anything we could catch. While setting the nets it started to drizzle but unfortunately didn't come to anything. Well the first round we processed about 20 birds which bearing in mind the weather conditions was very good. We caught our first Linnet of the year which is encouraging. Although  we heard the Chiffs singing there was very little movement and as a result we only caught 2 retaps. The Tree Sparrow numbers were still high with 14 retraps and another 9 new birds. There had obviously been an influx of Chaffinchs as we caught 3 retraps and 3new birds.  We packed away by 1pm and had respectable total of 66 birds including 46 retraps and 20 new birds. We had sightings of several Fieldfare flying north and Lapwing displaying in a nearby field.
Its good to be out ringing!