Spring migration for birds in 2012 is definitely underway. The first Chiff Chaff's started appearing 2-3 weeks ago and Blackcaps are moving through. In the last couple of days, Willow Warblers have started arriving (though as yet I haven't ringed this species this year). Large numbers of more species will arrive in the next month and I hope to catch up with Grasshopper Warblers and Whitethroat (at SSNR) before going on holiday towards the end of April.
Above: A Male Blackcap
Above: A female Blackcap - out of 10 ringed at Priory Country Park in the last 2 weekends, only 1 (this one) has been female. Several were carrying fat suggesting they haven't finished their migration yet.
A few Chiff Chaff's have also been trapped, including one ringed at Priory CP last year.
Reed Buntings are not one of the species you would immediately associate with spring, but in March Reed Buntings make their appearance at feeding stations. I first noticed this last year at Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (SSNR) as in March and April this species was caught in the feeding station net rides whilst for the rest of the year they were absent from this area. I have read reports of Reed Buntings found at Garden feeders during this time also. The same occured this year at SSNR and at Priory Country Park (PCP).
Above: This pair of Reed Buntings were ringed at SSNR.
Tonight I recieved confirmation that a Blue Tit (ring no. Y230511) caught at Priory Country Park on 7th Sept 2011 was originally ringed at Willington, Bedfordshire on 3rd July 2011, 66 days earlier, 3km away (west). Originally caught by MT, I may even have attended this ringing session! This isn't a significant movement but it was the first of 3 birds I have now caught with somebody else's ring on. Here's hoping for more!
There's not been a great deal else to report except for a Ringing Demo held at Priory Country Park on the last Sunday of March where we were lucky enough to demo a Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpecker and the first Blackcap of the year on a foggy morning (it didn't start that way!).