Saturday, 11 May 2013

Last weekend.

As a nice change of pace, Sunday and Monday (last weekend) were largely wind free! This allowed me to get out ringing and catch some of those summer migrants that come to breed in the UK and begin another year of Constant Effort ringing at Priory Country Park (PCP).

On Bank Holiday Monday, a visit to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve produced a tally of 40 birds of 12 species as follows (retraps in brackets).

Green Woodpecker 1 (0)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (4)
Wren 2 (0)
Dunnock 1 (1)
Sedge Warbler 3 (1)
Whitethroat 2 (5)
Garden Warbler 1 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (1)
Great Tit 1 (3)
Chaffinch 6 (3)
Greenfinch 2 (0)
Goldfinch 2 (0)

Above: A Garden Warbler. This is the 9th ringed here.

Above: A Whitethroat. 2 of the retraps were ringed here in 2011 whilst the other 3 were ringed last year (all as adults). L302789, ringed on 22/04/11 set a new longevity record for the site at 2 years and 14 days.

Whitethroats are the 3rd most ringed species at SSNR behind Blue & Great Tits and as long as this spring/summer proves to be a good breeding year, I expect to ring a lot more of these.

Above: A female Greenfinch. A surprise appearance of a male and female at the feeders represents the 8th and 9th ringed here (none have been retrapped).

Above: A Sedge Warbler. The retrap was ringed here July 2012.

Above: A female Green Woodpecker. Always a good day when I ring one of these! The 4th for the site.

Hardly a ringing session at SSNR goes by without a Great Spotted Woodpecker being retrapped and/or ringed. One male, CW08915, doesn't get retrapped during the winter months (Nov to February) but is regularly caught throughout the rest of year. At 2 years and 46 days since it was first ringed, this bird set a new longevity record for the site. I am still hoping to catch CW08911 (the female who I think breeds with CW08915) as this bird also disappears during the winter months.

Chaffinches were, surprisingly, the most numerous species. I normally catch a couple per session but I think a small change in feeder & net set up may have proved to be useful. A new longevity record for the site was set by L302734 - 2 years and 62 days. Also, a bird ringed in a field at nearby Beadlow earlier this year was retrapped at SSNR.

On Sunday, I ran CES Visit 1 at PCP. Totals, including extra nets, were as follows (retraps in brackets):

Wren 2 (1)
Dunnock 1 (3)
Blackbird 1 (2)
Whitethroat 3 (3)
Garden Warbler 1 (0)
Blackcap 3 (1)
Willow Warbler 2 (0)
Long Tailed Tit 0 (1)
Great Tit 1 (0)
Chaffinch 1 (0)
Bullfinch 1 (1)

That makes a total of 16 new and 12 retraps - 28 overall. Average for CES visit 1 (including extra nets) is 30, of which 21 are normally 'new' and 9 are normally 'retraps'. Whilst the 2013 total is just short of average, the ratio of new to retrap is more in favour of the returning adults rather than recruitment of new adults. This could be a result of a poor breeding season last year. Delayed breeding and migration from the cold weather in early spring may also have a bearing here. But this is just a small sample and I'm far from being an expert!

Whitethroats were the most numerous on this visit and could be seen feeding well around the area. One of the retraps was first ringed on 1st May 2011, whilst the other 2 retraps were both ringed on 13th May last year.

2 of the 3 Dunnock retraps were from 2010 and the other from last year. One of the Blackbirds was ringed in 2010. The Blackcap retrap was ringed as a juvenile in July 2011. All the other retraps were from birds ringed in 2012.

The best birds were 2 new Willow Warblers. The numbers ringed at this site have steadily decreased over the last 20 years to the point where last year was the first year where none were ringed at all.

This weekend may prove to be too windy and/or wet for ringing, so I might post a few bird photographs from Sardninia...

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