Wednesday, 3 September 2014

The last two weekends...

Since my last post, I have made 2 ringing visits to Priory Country Park and 2 to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve.
The visits to Priory Country Park have been the last two of the Constant Effort Survey season. All 12 visits were made again this year for the 4th year in a row. Each one of the 12 visits can be compared to the corresponding visit on previous years allowing us to monitor breeding success and abundance by taking standardised population 'samples'.
The final CES totals for 2014 are:
Woodpigeon 2 (0)
Green Woodpecker 3 (2)
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (0)
Wren 19 (14)
Dunnock 21 (13)
Robin 22 (13)
Blackbird 24 (15)
Song Thrush 7 (0)
Reed Warbler 10 (0)
Whitethroat 15 (8)
Garden Warbler 26 (6)
Blackcap 104 (8)
Chiffchaff 16 (4)
Goldcrest 4 (0)
Long-Tailed Tit 2 (1)
Blue Tit 23 (3)
Great Tit 13 (6)
Treecreeper 2 (0)
Magpie 2 (0)
Chaffinch 2 (0)
Goldfinch 4 (1)
Bullfinch 4 (2)
A total of 326 new birds and 89 retraps (415 total handlings) of 22 species. N.B. Totals include an extra visit (April pre-CES), extra nets on all visits and some 'after official hours' captures.
Blackcap (as is usual for this site) had most captures and it seems as though this was a good year for them. Disappointing was the lack of Bullfinch juveniles (none were ringed). A control Chiffchaff early in the season was a highlight as were 3 new and 2 recaptured Green Woodpeckers (involving 4 birds and including 2 juveniles) - usually one a year is what we might expect. 2 juvenile Magpies were unusual for CES and Goldcrests seem to have had a good year (benefitting from higher survival rates due to a very mild winter).
Away from Priory Country Park, the 2 visits to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve were particularly productive with 130 captures on 24th and 151 on 31st August!
There were some notables amongst the catches:

Above: A juvenile Green Woodpecker - the first juvenile to be ringed here

Above: A Chiffchaff - this one was a little reluctant to leave my hand after being set free, allowing me a unique photograph opportunity. It soon flew off strongly when gently encouraged to do so.

Above: The Mute Swans in this photograph were both ringed, but only one was colour ringed (the top one) thus allowing me to read the ring no. This bird was ringed on The Embankment in Bedford last year. It represents the first Mute Swan in the database for SSNR. Until the other one is colour ringed, I probably won't get a good enough sight of the metal ring to read it.

Other notables were:

Treecreeper - a recapture at 344 days setting a new longevity record for the site (90 days previously).

Blackcap - a British ringed control was caught on 31st August. It'll be nice to find out where this (a juvenile) came from.

Reed Warbler - 3 juveniles represent the first 3 juveniles ringed on site (the only other records of this species being 2 adults in previous years. I don't think they breed on site so these must be passage migrants.

Kingfisher - a single bird became the 3rd juvenile of the year (an adult was also ringed earlier in the year).

As the session on 31/08/14 was my largest for the site - here are the details:

Mute Swan 0 (1)
Kingfisher 1 (0)
Wren 2 (1)
Dunnock 4 (3)
Robin 0 (1)
Blackbird 1 (0)
Song Thrush 1 (0)
Reed Warbler 2 (0)
Whitethroat 2 (0)
Blackcap 11 (9)
Chiffchaff 4 (0)
Willow Warbler 4 (0)
Goldcrest 1 (0)
Long Tailed TIt 11 (3)
Blue Tit 21 (22)
Great Tit 15 (25)
Treecreeper 0 (1)
Chaffinch 0 (1)
Goldfinch 4 (0) - the first at this site all year (despite the food I put out)

I suspect September is going to be a very good month as passage migration continues. Watch this space!

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