Tuesday 29 December 2015

Broadwater GP - 29 December 2015

The last site visit of 2015 joined by MRB, Margaret and James. There were only 14 birds, but when ringing a surprise is always possible and today it was that the last bird of the year was a Blackcap. Overwintering Chiffchaff are much more regularly caught than Blackcap.

3M Blackcap

There were a few Blackbirds and a couple of Redwing. We also managed singles of Siskin and Lesser Redpoll from the few small flocks that were seen passing overhead from mid to late morning.

 3M Siskin showing obvious contrast between new and retained greater coverts.

3F Lesser Redpoll

Wren EJJ903, a known adult, showed distinct contrast within the greater coverts and did not have a particularly strongly barring. However it was not very gingery in colouration and did had 12 spots on P4. A guide published on the Ottenby Obseravatory website is very useful but this bird definitely had a step and contrast within the greater coverts (confirmed by second ringer).

 EJJ903, adult Wren ringed as a juvenile 20/07/2014.

Totals: 10 (4)

Wren - 0 (1)
Blackbird - 3
Redwing - 2
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 1 (1)
Goldcrest - 1 (1)
Great Tit - 0 (1)
Siskin - 1
Lesser Redpoll- 1

Monday 28 December 2015

Stanwell GP - 28 December 2015

There has been a real shortage of decent ringing weather this festive period and we were in dire need of fresh air so, in spite of the strong gusts in the forecast, we headed to Stanwell for our third visit of the month.

Bird of the day was undoubtedly a female Firecrest.

3F Firecrest

Just two Redwing were attracted as they departed from their roost.

Age 3 Redwing

Two Cetti's Warbler males were also captured, a new male and D860121, last recaptured on August 2nd and initially ringed at Bedfont CP in July 2014.

 Male Cetti's Warbler Z761916

Of several Reed Buntings seen, only one was captured.

 3M Reed Bunting

Sightings included a Little Egret, 2 Fieldfare, 8 Skylark, a Buzzard and 27 Lapwing.

Totals:  14 (12)

Wren - 2
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 1 (1)
Redwing - 2
Song Thrush - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1 (1)
Goldcrest - 2 (2)
Firecrest - 1
Blue Tit - 1
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (8)
Reed Bunting - 1

Tuesday 22 December 2015

River Thames, Windsor - 22 December 2015

The morning was spent collecting ring numbers on Mute Swans at Windsor. There were only five or six with darvics and most of those had been seen before so we were reliant on binoculars and photography to record numbers on metal rings. The numbers can only be recorded when the birds haul out of he water, an action that scratches the metal and can make rings difficult to read.

Many birds carry two rings, one BTO and the other from swan upping http://www.royalswan.co.uk/sources/indexPop.htm

From this visit we recorded around ten new swan numbers and a Canada Goose.

Saturday 19 December 2015

Broadwater GP - 18 December 2015

A rather slow morning, even the feeders weren't drawing the birds - we struggled up to twenty or so with a lot of recaptures, but it was so slow that we packed up early and were off site before midday.

 3F Chaffinch

 Age 4 Redwing

4M Great Tit

This winter, same as last year,  there are few birds around our ringing site. We suspect a lot of birds may be spending time at the other end of the lake along the River Colne. In the past we have believed that it's warmer for the birds there - but temperature is obviously not a problem for the birds currently -perhaps a try on the banks of the Colne is in order.

Totals: 12 (9)

Robin - 0 (1)
Redwing - 2
Chiffchaff - 2 (1)
Goldcrest - 1 (2)
Blue Tit - 0 (3)
Great Tit - 4 
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (1)
Treecreeper - 0 (1)
Chaffinch - 2
Siskin - 1

Tuesday 15 December 2015

Wraysbury GP - 15 December 2015

We took the chance to catch a few birds before the rain, forecast to start at around noon. From just two doubles and a couple of singles we managed over 40 birds in about 4 hours. A high proportion were recaptures with six Redwing and a young male Sparrowhawk among the new birds ringed.

 Age 3 Redwing

3M Sparrowhawk

The drizzle actually began to fall before midday but we were already packed up and off site by 11.50am.

Totals: 24 (19)

Sparrowhawk - 1
Blackbird - 2 (2)
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 6
Dunnock - 4 (3)
Robin - 0 (3)
Blue Tit - 3 (2)
Great Tit - 4 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (6)
Goldcrest - 2 (2)
Goldfinch - 1
Chaffinch - 1

Sunday 13 December 2015

Stanwell Moor GP - 13 December 2015

Today we returned to Stanwell to monitor the reedbed at the end of the day, to see whether many Redwing and any other species are roosting over night. We only got a few birds, half and half new and retraps, and no Redwing although a few came in to roost but kept well above the height of the nets.

Totals: 5 (5)

Wren - 0 (1)
Robin - 0 (1)
Dunnock - 1
Blackbird -1

Cetti's Warbler - 0 (1)
Chiffchaff - 1
Goldcrest - 2 (2)

Thursday 10 December 2015

Broadwater GP - 9 December 2015

We were joined, today, by MRB and Margaret to ring at Broadwater. We were there at 7am, so it still was rather dark as the first nets went up. The audiolure was on in no time and we hoped to get a few of the roosting Redwing before they all left. The feeders had been topped up the previous day so we hoped that might help to increase the catch. We put up two doubles, two singles and a new short single close to our ringing base and waited to see what we'd get.

The feeder nets brought in some tits, including a couple of Coal Tits.

 Coal Tit age 3

 Most Redwing left the roost soon after first light. We have noticed that they usually do this when the sky is clear, as it was today. However, we did catch 4 singles, first one at 7.30am and the last at 11.30am. Some birds seem to remain close to the roost trees and feed in the locale for most of the morning.

 Age 3 Redwing

We were pleased to catch a few Goldcrest, and also a couple of Chiffchaff. The increase in overwintering birds recorded has been quite marked, and differs greatly to numbers caught as little as five years or so ago.

A late addition, and a little group we were especially pleased to connect with was a small party of Siskin. Six males were captured together, with a sole female netted in the following round.

 3M Siskin

 4M Siskin

Having seen the recently published paper by the Kews on social groupings of Siskin, we decided to release the six birds together, as we would usually do with Long-tailed Tits. It was interesting that, rather than fly off together, the six birds performed what can best be described as a 'bomb burst', scattering in all directions - perhaps a case of 'every man for himself' where batchelor flocks are concerned. Maybe they they met up again later.

A link to the paper is provided below.


Totals: 27 (16)

Wren - 0 (1)
Robin - 1(1)
Song Thrush - 1
Redwing - 4
Chiffchaff - 1 (1)
Goldcrest - 10 (3) 
Blue Tit - 0 (7)
Great Tit - 1 (2)
Coal Tit - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 0 ( 1)
Siskin - 7

Monday 7 December 2015

Stanwell Moor GP- 7 December 2015

We took the opportunity to get out this morning and visited Stanwell. We are a bit out of touch with the site due to not having ringed there since August. On arrival, in the semi dark, it became apparent that there is now a Redwing roost - but no sign of Starlings, that had been expected.

There was a bit of maintenance to do, then four nets were erected and tapes played. Several Redwing were attracted, but generally kept to the taller sallows so that all but one evaded the nets.

Adult Redwing

As the morning drew on the totals increased, some species being captured two by two.
There were a couple of wintering Chiffchaff, two Reed Buntings and also two Cetti's Warblers.

 Age 3 Chiffchaff

 3M Reed Bunting

3F Cetti's Warbler (the second was a male)

There were a few Goldcrests, two of which had not been ringed at the site. One, JAR103, is a bird ringed at another of our group's sites - at present the record has yet to be uploaded to the main database - our money is on Bedfont, but we might be wrong. The other bird was an HHB prefix and was definitely not a group ring. We look forward to receiving details.

Totals: 31 (3)

Robin - 1
Dunnock - 1
Blackbird -1
Redwing - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 2
Chiffchaff - 2
Goldcrest - 5 (2)
Blue Tit - 4 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 12 
Reed Bunting - 2

Thursday 3 December 2015

Broadwater GP - 2 December 2015

Another week where weather conditions are not ideal and Broadwater is the only site sufficiently sheltered to permit ringing. We only set five nets as we expected the wind to get up pretty soon and anticipated a short session.

The new feeders were completely emptied - apparently there are squirrels, even 'though we have never seen any! There was less cloud than at previous sessions and the roosting Redwing soon departed dispite the Latvian audiolure.

We processed a total of  26 birds with several retraps. Highlights were three wintering Chiffchaff, four Lesser Redpoll and of course no session is complete, this winter,without the inevitable Goldcrests.

 3M Lesser Redpoll

 One of the captured Goldcrests was not ringed as it has a deformed foot. This is the second time it has been caught, in the last month, and this 3M manages to maintain a healthy weight and plumage in good condition.

Unringed Goldcrest with foot deformity.

Totals:  21 (5)

Blackbird -1
Chiffchaff - 3
Goldcrest - 4 (2)
Blue Tit - 4
Great Tit -  4 (3)
Chaffinch - 1
Lesser Redpoll - 4