Saturday 27 August 2016

Wraysbury 27 August 2016

Our last day of monitoring migration at this site, this autumn. By the time we are next able to visit Wraysbury, it will be well into October and most summer migrants will be long gone. However, other members of Runnymede Ringing Group should be here during September and we look forward to seeing how they get on.

It was a rather slow day in comparison to some of the recent sessions, but Willow Warblers continue to drift through, Garden Warbler numbers have dropped right down but Blackcaps are on the increase again. We're still seeing young Whitethroats with a single adult today, ring number D085929

 D085929 ringed as a juvenile on 13th July 2013 and recaptured for the third time this year, today.

As the late morning trickle of birds dried to virtually nothing, CL located decent numbers of Swallows, House Martins and a few Sand Martins up in the field with the ponies. Having taken down, we erected a couple of nets close to some dead trees where the birds were alighting, and waited within sight of the nets. The ponies stayed away but the strengthening wind proved too much and although the birds were not put off, both nets were too visible. We waited in hopes that there may be another brief shower, perhaps with less wind but that didn't happen and no hirundines were captured.

Totals:     45 (8)

Dunnock - 2
Robin - 0 (1)
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 6 (2)
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 14 (3)
Chiffchaff - 13 (2)
Willow Warbler - 4
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 2

Friday 26 August 2016

Broadwater GP - 26 August 2016

We were joined, today, by MRB and Margaret for our last ringing together before we all embark on our autumn ringing travels. M&M are off to Sante Andre in Portugal with other members of Maple Cross Ringing Group and we will be making our way to Getterons, Sweden to cover the observatory during September.

We had a good start with 15 birds from the first round, but it clearly was not a big day for warblers in the Buddleia bushes as subsequent rounds produced just a few birds each time. However, we do have quite a few more retrapped Chiffchaff and we hope to have enough data to allow us to pull together a feature, on time scales with regard to these birds fattening up, for our yearly report. We regularly have birds that over winter so it will be interesting to see whether any of the birds ringed during July and August are recaptured in the winter months.

 Adult male Blackcap, BP4 and replacing flight and contour feathers.

Totals: 38 (17)

Wren - 1
Robin - 2 (2)
Blackbird - 0 (3)
Whitethroat - 1
Reed Warbler - 0 (1)
Blackcap - 8 (2)
Chiffchaff - 15 (6)
Willow Warbler - 5
Blue Tit - 3
Long-tailed Tit - 2 (2)
Treecreeper - 1 (1)

Thursday 25 August 2016

Wraysbury GP - 25 August 2016

A forecast of rain in the early morning delayed our start and we weren't on site until 7.00am. We had a total of nine nets up and caught over 80 birds including some species that do not regularly appear on the record sheets here. As well as the more usual Whitethroats, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs, today we also caught an adult Woodpigeon, a juvenile Pied Wagtail and some young Swallows, all contributing to our total of 16 species.

3JP Pied Wagtail

3O Swallow

Totals:  71 (11)

Woodpigeon - 1
Swallow - 3
Pied Wagtail - 1
Dunnock - 3 (2)
Robin - 3
Blackbird - 1
Reed Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 9 (1)
Garden Warbler - 6 (1)
Blackcap - 15 (4)
Chiffchaff - 10 (2)
Willow Warbler - 6
Goldcrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 3 (1)
Blue Tit - 2
Goldfinch - 4

Wednesday 24 August 2016

Stanwell GP - 24 August 2016

Stanwell has been rather neglected lately as we've been concentrating on Wraysbury and Broadwater as the migration got underway. This morning we managed to fit in about 4 hours ringing with 5 nets in the reedbed ride and a single net close to the River Colne.

We were joined by WA and had everything set up well before work at the recycling plant began. We caught a total of 27 birds with no recaptures. There was a number of juvenile Reed Warblers and a couple of Sedge Warblers.

3O Sedge Warbler

Also, a smattering of other species, despite the noise disturbance as work got underway on the mound of rubble that we ring near and that seems to change everytime we go on site. This added to the aircraft taking off right above the site makes this a welcome, if somewhat noisy, retreat for birds within a stones throw of Heathrow Airport.

Totals: 27

Wren - 1
Robin - 2
Sedge Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 11
Blackcap - 1
Whitethroat - 1
Chiffchaff - 5
Goldcrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Greenfinch - 1

Tuesday 23 August 2016

Wraysbury GP - 23 August 2016

We continue migration monitoring at Wraysbury - not long to go now as we'll be heading off to Sweden next week where we'll be ringing at Getterons throughout September. It's over a week since we have been able to ring at Wraysbury so we expected to see a few changes.

We had six nets up today, for just two of us as a couple of others that may have joined us couldn't make it. We had just completed set up when I (Denise) turned a corner on the way to the first net for checking, to find some 15 ponies between me and the net. With a little skillful encouragement they disappeared off, away from the ringing rides - we really will be pleased when they're finally removed.

Catching was steady until 10am. There were still a few Willow Warbler about, Whitethroats are now roughly equal to Blackcap captures and Garden Warbler numbers have dropped right down but some of those that we're catching are carrying high levels of fat. There were a few scored at 3 or 4 fat with the heaviest bird (F7 M2) weighing in at 26.9g.

 Garden Warbler weighing 26.9g - IPMR said no!

D859845, a Robin, ringed on 15th December 2015,  was captured in moult although both wings were not symmetrical.

 Adult Robin D859845

 Asymmetrical wing moult - right and left wings

Totals: 73 (12)

Dunnock - 5
Robin - 1 (1)
Reed Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 17 (5)
Garden Warbler - 6 (1)
Blackcap - 18 (3)
Chiffchaff - 16 (2)
Willow Warbler - 3
Goldcrest - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Goldfinch - 1

Monday 22 August 2016

Broadwater GP - 22 August 2016

For the second day running we went to Broadwater hoping to find large numbers of Swallows over the lake. As before, there were few birds about and it was not even worth putting the net up.

Instead we went round to our usual site and put up four nets. Considering the late start, we did quite well with over 20 birds captured. Several birds were retrapped Chiffchaffs and all birds captured took 'AA' sized rings.

One re-trap Willow Warbler had been present for five days with no significant weight gain. This site is not a breeding area, but appears to be a regular autumn migration site, with for the area, a fairly good number passing through utilising the Colne Valley corridor.

Adult Willow Warbler showing pale throat and face

 Broad retrices

Pure white belly and light yellow legs

3JM Goldcrest

Totals: 15 (8)

Chiffchaff - 6 (6)
Willow Warbler - 7 (1)
Goldcrest - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (1)

Wednesday 17 August 2016

Broadwater GP - 17 August 2016

Another windy day as we continue monitoring this site every other day. MRB and BC covered the session on the 15th and captured 57 birds, down on the numbers we've been getting lately.  Today we captured even fewer birds. There were birds around, but it was cold early on and the birds were mostly high up in the warmth of the sun. There were several completely birdless rounds.

Adult Chiffchaff in wing moult

After the clearance made to the site by the fishing club, we have made up some notices to try to keep people out of the new rides that we've had to cut. We can but hope as a new fixed guy put in only last week had been burnt through and rendered useless.

There will be no coverage on Friday as we'll all be at the BirdFair! 

Totals:   27 (6)

Wren - 0 (1)
Robin - 3
Reed Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 2
Garden Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 9 (4)
Willow Warbler - 7 (1)
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 1

Monday 15 August 2016

Chobham Common - 14 August 2016

As we walked across the common we decided we would have met up at an earlier time had we known there would be so many passerines about at the end of the day. Stonechat, Whitethroat , Chiffchaff and Dartford Warbler were all seen. Two doubles and a single were erected and we were fortunate enough to capture two young Dartford Warblers before the sun dropped below the horizon and the small birds retired for the day.

There was a brief flurry of activity at dusk as a couple of Nightjars flew around quite close to the nets before disappearing but after that there seemed to be much less activity than when we last visited. A juvenile Nightjar was our only nocturnal capture - other than an extremely aggressive Pipistrelle Bat and a rather better behaved Long-eared Bat. Both were successfully extracted and released.

The team was CL/DKL/WA/LON.

Totals: 3
Nightjar - 1
Dartford Warbler - 2

Wraysbury GP - 14 August 2016

A 6am start for the team of five (CL/DKL/HD/WA/LON) but time was lost trying to return several ponies back to the other side of the fence. Some were herded through the gate but others retreated to the far side of the site and we had to be content with that.

We put a total of nine nets up and catching was rather slow at first. As we watched the birds moving around the site it was clear that the numbers of Blackcap and Garden Warbler had dropped considerably in comparison to recent catches. We took our first capture of a flock from the double along the access track. There were plenty of Long-tailed Tits, a few Blue Tits and some Whitethroats and Willow Warblers that had been travelling with them.

 Reed Warbler aged 3

 Sedge Warbler aged 3

3M Goldcrest

We continued to see a similar pattern in behaviour as we caught several birds of different species in some nets, from time to time, with nothing appearing in others. Mixed flocks could be seen moving around the site. There were definitely far fewer birds foraging individually - a marked change from our recent visits here.

Totals: 88 (14)

Wren - 1
Dunnock - 2 
Sedge Warbler - 2
Reed Warbler - 3
Whitethroat - 27 (2)
Garden Warbler - 4 (4)
Blackcap - 5 (3)
Chiffchaff - 10 (1)
Willow Warbler - 9
Goldcrest - 7
Long-tailed Tit - 13 (3)
Blue Tit - 4 (1)
Chaffinch - 1

Saturday 13 August 2016

Broadwater GP - 13 August 2016

We continue to monitor Broadwater every other day and this morning we found a real contrast to last Thursday. Very little bird song despite more nets than last time, and an extremely slow start. Rounds two, three and four gave us no more than a handful of birds and HD had done very little ringing by the time she had to leave early for work. MRB and Margaret joined us, CL/DKL/WA/LON during the late morning and not long after, the tit flock went through and found a couple of the nets increasing our ringing total significantly.

The catch included a Bullfinch, a species that we capture, at Broadwater, only very occasionally.

3M Bullfinch

We caught several recently ringed Chiffchaff, showing that these birds often remain on site to build up reserves, whereas Willow Warblers tend not to do this and move on sooner.

Total:    48 (9)    

Wren - 3
Robin - 2 (1)
Blackbird - 0 (1)
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 9 (6)
Willow Warbler - 14 (1)
Blue Tit - 8
Great Tit - 8
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Bullfinch - 1

Thursday 11 August 2016

Broadwater GP - 11 August 2016

The team of CL/DKL/MRB & Margaret arrived on site to the sound of Willow Warbler song from a few different directions at 6.30am. Six nets were soon up and audio-lures deployed. The first round included no less than 18 Willow Warblers. For some time BC has been saying that this is a place where birds roost in numbers, as well as feed up, and it looks like he's right as the site had become very quiet by 7.30am.

 Willow Warbler 3O

There was a brief lull with little coming from the nets over the next two rounds, until a couple of very brief, light showers helped to get things going again. There were still good numbers of Chiffchaff around, but the Willow Warblers were now in the majority, unlike out total captures of a few days ago.

 3JM Blackcap

We finished on 89 birds in total. I dare say there are few sites where Willow Warbler can account for more than a third of the total catch.

Totals: 74 (15)

Wren - 1
Robin - 1
Dunnock - 3
Blackbird - 1
Reed Warbler - 3 (2)
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Garden Warbler - 1 (1)
Blackcap - 3 (1)
Chiffchaff - 20 (9)
Willow Warbler - 32 
Blue Tit - 5
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Treecreeper - 1
Greenfinch - 1

Tuesday 9 August 2016

Broadwater GP - 9 August 2016

We returned to Broadwater with a team of five (CL, DKL, MRB, BC & Margaret) to do some netting early on, then cut some alternative rides so that we can still cover the areas where we can no longer net along the track.

There were a lot of birds around although we were all rather disappointed to see a flock of over 20 birds pass through the area on the track where one of our usual nets would have been - the loss of those captures would seriously impact on the total birds for the day.

As expected, Chiffchaff were our most numerous captures and Willow Warbler CNP772, first ringed as a 3J on 22 July 2015 was a really nice recapture of a migrant.

 Adult Willow Warbler CNP772

Only one Blue Tit captured was indicative of the poor season that this species has had this year. Whereas three Treecreepers in addition four captured a couple of days ago seems to indicate a rather better season.

 EJJ978, recaptured adult Treecreeper

Juvenile Treecreeper

Two birds quite unusual for the site were a Lesser Whitethroat and Green Woodpecker.

Lesser Whitethroat

 4M Green Woodpecker

Totals: 62 (8)

Green Woodpecker - 1
Wren - 1
Robin - 4
Dunnock - 1 (1)
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 2
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 2
Garden Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 13 (1)
Chiffchaff - 20 (2)
Willow Warbler - 6 (1)
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 3 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (1)
Treecreeper - 2 (1)

Sunday 7 August 2016

Broadwater GP - 7 August 2016

The Broadwater site provides excellent feeding for Phylloscopus warblers, and with numbers of Willow Warblers on the increase at our other locations, it was about time we did a session here. On a day, too windy to contemplate ringing at any of the other sites, we pitched up at Broadwater with its tall, mature trees that shelter the many Buddleia bushes so attractive to insects, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler alike.

The presence of a fisherman's car parked well down from their car-park was of concern as we net along the access track, and the fishing club has cleared the track to the point where cars can now drive right down to the lake. But we had been told this would not be happening so we went ahead and set up.

There was a good number in the nets on the first round and we caught well until 11am when the birds stopped flying into the nets. We did very well for Chiffchaff and four Treecreepers was the largest number ever caught at the site in one day.

We felt bad for the fisherman who made several trips to get his kit back to the car - having no trolley or wheelbarrow -and we also caught much more than him too.

3JM Goldcrest

Totals:  53 (5)

Robin - 2
Reed Warbler - 3
Blackcap - 8
Garden Warbler - 2
Chiffchaff - 25 (1)
Willow Warbler - 7
Goldcrest - 1
Blue Tit - 3 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 0 (1)
Treecreeper - 2 (2)

Stanwell Moor GP - 6 August 2016

The late afternoon was warm and stuffy in the house, despite the forecast windy conditions with a stiff breeze blowing from the west, so at the last minute we decided to put in a few hours in the reed-bed at Stanwell rather thsn stay indoors. When we arrived the planes were taking off right over the lake (as expected) and with them going over at intervals of less than 70 seconds apart (more frequent than usual even for Heathrow), we didn't expect much.

Still, we gave it a go with five nets and settled down to see what they might catch.

Recaptured Chiffchaff  EBX779 was in full primary moult and looked a little worse for wear.

 Adult Chiffchaff EBX779 (ringed age 3, 24/08/2014)

We also caught a retrapped adult and new juvenile Cetti's Warbler. With a smattering of Phylloscopus and Sylvia warblers to support the usual Acros, we expected to reach 20 or so but unexpectedly we exceeded this when a small group of hirundines were attracted in at the end of the day.

 Juvenile Swallow (3O)

Totals: 25 (3)

Sand Martin - 2
Swallow - 6
Wren - 2
Cetti's Warbler - 1 (1)
Reed Warbler - 1 (1)
Sedge Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 3
Blackcap - 3
Chiffchaff - 2 (1)
Willow Warbler - 1
Great Tit - 1
Starling - 1

Saturday 6 August 2016

Wraysbury GP - 6 August 2016

We wouldn't usually ring the same site two days running, but the wind forecast for Sunday was just too strong - so back to Wraysbury it was. We took a team of six (CL/DKL/HD/WA/LON/BS) to C6 while CES was completed by another team over on C4.

The morning started quietly and few birds could be seen working through vegetation. As the first few rounds brought in no more than a handful of birds each time, with few recaptures, it looked as though a lot of birds may have moved on - particularly as we had an additional three nets up and were not about to match the previous day's total of in excess of 100.

As the morning progressed it got a little busier but there were definitely fewer birds about.

Juvenile Whitethroat

Juvenile Garden Warbler

Totals: 59 (7)

Dunnock - 1
Robin - 1 
Blackbird - 0 (1)
Song Thrush - 3
Reed Warbler - 4
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Whitethroat - 12 (2)
Garden Warbler - 17 (2)
Blackcap - 9 (1)
Chiffchaff - 1 (1)
Willow Warbler - 9

Wraysbury GP - 5 August 2016

A drop in wind speeds allowed us to cover Wraysbury, C6, for migration monitoring this morning. A team of four had all seven single nets up inside of 50 minutes and they soon began to catch. Garden Warbler seemed to be on the increase, as were Whitethroat and Willow Warbler

 Adult Lesser Whitethroat

 Adult Garden Warbler

Replaced flight feather P10

Renewed retrices

Willow Warbler 3O

Sedge Warbler 3O

The reason so many birds rely on fuelling up at Wraysbury is the abundance of food plants and insects near largely built-up areas in the South East. Situated close to the London Reservoirs, this is an important staging point - but much of the area will be lost, or 'tidied up' with the development of the Thames flood relief channel, planned for the next few years.

Totals:    89 (15)

Dunnock -1 (1)
Robin - 2
Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush -1
Sedge Warbler - 3
Reed Warbler - 4
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 19 (4)
Garden Warbler -  28 (5)
Blackcap - 16 (4)
Chiffchaff - 1
Willow Warbler - 10
Great Tit - 1 (1)

Tuesday 2 August 2016

Stanwell GP - 2 August 2016

The weather didn't look too promising today, rain early on then more wind than we would have liked. All the same the rain seemed to have stopped and, later than usual, we went along with HD & BS. We knew we had already missed the best hours in the reed-bed but hoped there may be an opportunity for hirundines.

As it turned out we had an impromptu meeting with the site management and the nets were finally up later than planned. The HGVs were using the track where House Martins were caught at our last visit so that option was gone. We did try a couple of nets on a lower track but our attempts to attract House Martin there were unsuccessful - added to that, we had intermittent showers so the low number of captures was only to be expected.

Total: 12 (1)

Blackbird - 1
Sedge Warbler - 3
Reed Warbler - 6 (1)
Whitethroat - 1
Chiffchaff - 1