Thursday 30 July 2020

Stanwell Moor GP - 30th July 2020

A session at the north end of the site produced 68 birds with no retraps.

Lesser Whitethroat


Totals: 68

Swallow - 1
Blackbird - 1
Dunnock - 4
Robin - 3
Reed Warbler - 1
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 14
Garden Warbler - 9
Blackcap - 19
Willow Warbler - 3
Chiffchaff - 3
Great Tit - 4
Goldfinch - 4
House Sparrow - 1

Wraysbury GP - 29th July 2020

We had a little disturbance today while the track through the site was being tidied up, but we still did quite well from our 6 nets capturing 123 birds. Top species was Garden Warbler in the 15 species caught and Lesser Whitethroat, Goldfinch, Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler were also on the data sheet.

WillowWarbler juvenile

Lesser Whitethroat juvenile

Total: 112 (11)

Wren - 1
Dunnock - 4
Robin - 5 (1)
Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush - 1 (1)
Reed Warbler - 3
Lesser Whitethroat - 2
Whitethroat - 19  (3)
Garden Warbler - 33 (3)
Blackcap - 24 (3) 
Chiffchaff - 7
Willow Warbler - 1
Blue Tit - 6
Goldfinch - 3
Greenfinch - 1

Monday 27 July 2020

Broadwater GP - 26th July 2020

After some heavy overnight rain we met up with MRB and Margaret for a dual ringing session. We find this is the best way to run a socially distanced session with separate ringing stations, rings, records and nets. We had quite a leisurely start, still managing a combined total of over 70 from only 5 nets.

Juvenile Treecreeper

Totals: 58 (14)

Blackbird - 2
Robin - 5
Dunnock - 3
Reed Warbler - 3
Garden Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 17 (3)
Chiffchaff - 15 (2)
Blue Tit - 4 (3)
Great Tit - 6 (6)
Treecreeper - 1

Wraysbury GP - 24th July 2020

Before a few days of unfavourable weather we fitted in a second visit to Wraysbury this week, this being such an important migration site for Sylvia warblers and with Garden Warbler numbers already being on the rise.

We worked completely different rides to earlier in the week but still captured a decent number of birds, some carrying fat up to score 3.

Adult Garden Warbler with heavily worn plumage
and some replaced feathers F3 M2

Total: 83 (4)

Dunnock - 3
Robin - 2
Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 3 (1)
Reed Warbler - 3
Whitethroat - 14 (1)
Garden Warbler - 29 (1)
Blackcap - 26 (1) 
Chiffchaff - 2

Friday 24 July 2020

Stanwell Moor GP - 22nd July 2020

A 6am start for the second day running due to favourable wind conditions. This turned into a Sparr day for us, that's not to say we went on to a relaxing retreat for facials and a massage, but that we actually caught a Sparrowhawk (that is a rare occurrence in itself) and then a second. We have never caught two Sparrowhawks on the same day in the UK, and it brought back memories of autumns spent at Gedser, Denmark.

We made good use of the newly cleared area that had been covered with buddleia debris and easily fitted two 18m nets here. It's a ride we'll definitely use again.

There were 60+ birds in all and we were especially pleased with the Sparrowhawks, Reed Warblers and a House Martin.

Male Sparrowhawk, age 5

House Martin adult

Female Sparrowhawk, age 5

Totals: 64 (5)

Sparrowhawk - 2
House Martin - 1
Blackbird - 2
Dunnock - 3
Robin - 3
Reed Warbler - 6
Whitethroat - 12 (1)
Garden Warbler - 7
Blackcap - 13 (1)
Willow Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 6
Blue Tit - 4
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Greenfinch - 1

Thursday 23 July 2020

AS42317 Melodious Warbler - News of one of our Gambian birds - 23rd July 2020

We have just received news from SAFRING that a bird ringed during the Gambian Ringing Scheme training initiative has been recovered in Europe. The Melodious Warbler Hippolais polyglotta was ringed by Chris LAMSDELL on 13th January at Tanji (Reserve Ecolodge, Gambia (1322N1647W) and reported as found dead 167 days later, on 28th June 2020, at Les Grisardieres, Boissiere - Des, France (4631N0127W) by Monsieur Jean-Louis PASTEUR. This is a distance of 3954k from the place it was ringed in the Gambia. It was found dead having flown into a window and while it would have been a happier tale to hear that a ringer in France had encountered and released the bird, this report shows that reports are also received from members of the public.

A map showing the ringing and recovery locations can be found through the link below.

Melodious Warbler Le Petit Loc'h, Guidel, Brittany, France
photographer Frank Vassen

Wraysbury GP - 21st July 2020

A forecast for low wind, so we arrived at 6am and seeing quite a lot of activity opted to erect just 6 nets since there was only the two of us and it was likely to get quite hot in the late morning. Catching was steady until just before 10am or so when birds using the site became much less obvious. We were soon reining in and had packed up and left the site by 11:15am.
Whitethroats were notable in the fact that not a single adult was processed all morning, New Garden Warbler numbers exceeded that of new Blackcaps and still no influx of Willow Warblers. There was, however, a single Sedge Warbler.

Sedge Warbler

Garden Warbler

Total: 77 (19)

Dunnock - 2 (3)
Robin - 1
Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush - 4
Reed Warbler - 1
Sedge Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 17 (4)
Garden Warbler - 21 (4)
Blackcap - 20 (8) 
Chiffchaff - 3
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 2
Goldfinch - 1
Greenfinch - 1

Sunday 19 July 2020

Iver Heath garden - Red Kites late June, early July 2020

We sourced a new garden net in the hope of catching some of the kites that quarter the gardens on the look out for food, having managed to catch three, at about this time of year, in 2019.

The net has 60*60 mesh so catching the smaller birds visiting the feeding station must be delayed until the more usual superfine net is up. Between the 29th June and 7th July we managed to catch and ring six birds. Chicken wings were used as bait.

The first bird captured was adult.

GR23101, age 6

The second we aged as a 5 due to the hint of brown remaining in the eye, white borders to the streaking on the body feathers, pale tipped greater coverts and under wing coverts consistent with a bird in its second year.


The third capture on the 01/07.


All the birds have been in full wing moult.

GR23106 was ringed by MRB and was aged as a 5.


Juvenile pattern under wing coverts.

The next two birds were both 5s.



This bird seemed a little behind the other 5s and was in the process of changing the central retrices.

Birds of Aragon  proved very helpful while processing these captures.

According to the Identification Guide to Birds in the Hand by DemonGin it is possible to sex some birds on wing length and weight, but the overlaps are extensive. All fell into the indeterminate range on wing length, and two just into the weight range for male.

By catch while using the net included Wood Pigeon, Collared Dove, Ring-necked Parakeet and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Stanwell Moor GP - 17th July 2020

Arrived for a six'o'clock start and having found that the fields, and even the bank where we have some rides had been mowed put seven nets up. An eighth went up shortly after, although the Swallows and House Martins that had tempted us managed to evade the net.

It was a productive session,76 new birds of 18 species. A good range of warblers that included the first, if somewhat dishevelled, Willow Warbler, Reed Warbler (no nets in the reed-bed all were ranging between the lake and the river), and Cetti's Warbler as well as Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Whitethroat and Chiffchaff.

Juvenile Starling

Juvenile Magpie

Total: 77 (4)

Magpie - 2
Starling - 3
Blackbird - 2
Wren - 1
Dunnock - 7 (1)
Robin -4 (1)
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 5
Whitethroat - 11 (1)
Blackcap - 17  (1)
Garden Warbler - 3
Chiffchaff - 8
Willow Warbler - 1
House Sparrow - 1
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 4
Greenfinch - 3
Goldfinch - 3

Wraysbury GP - 15th July 2020

The second day in a row with company on a ringing session, this time a young lady with her mum who, due to social distancing measures was only able to observe. We reduced from eight to six nets and still processed over 100 birds. Both mum and daughter enjoyed the morning, but have concerns about the commitment needed to train to ring during 'A' levels, having a horse to care for and exercise, with the prospect of an up and coming gap year potentially followed by university. Whatever the decision, it will be made in full understanding of how much time is required in order to meet the necessary standard to achieve a 'C' permit.

There was nothing too out of the ordinary, a single Reed Warbler was nice, Garden Warblers put in a decent showing with 22 and we expect their numbers to peak soon then begin to drop as they are the first of the Sylvia warblers to be on their way. Blackcap was the leading species with 39 new birds and six retrapped, showing that some are spending a while on site, as the blackberries are now coming into season. Whitethroats were less apparent and only 13 new and 9 recaptured birds were processed. Chiffchaff numbers remain low and there were no Willow Warblers either captured, seen or heard.

Juvenile Whitethroat (stock image)

Total: 92 (20)

Dunnock - 2 (2)
Robin - 2 (2)
Blackbird - 2
Song Thrush - 5
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 13 (9)
Garden Warbler - 22
Blackcap - 39 (6) 
Chiffchaff - 2
Blue Tit - 2
Chaffinch - 2
Bullfinch - 0 (1)

Thursday 16 July 2020

Broadwater GP - 14th July 2020

This was to be our first ringing session with others outside of our household (it's usually just Chris & me) so social distancing was the order of the day. As we were out with MRB and Margaret we effectively ran two sessions - separate tables, record sheets, rings, equipment and nets!

Despite the relatively late start we still had 37 birds from 3 nets and in addition to that, M&M managed another net, but the tables were so separate I only know they did 22 birds because they're already entered into DeMon!

Male Blackcap (stock image)

Our totals were as follows:

Totals: 36 (1)

Blackbird - 3
Wren - 2
Robin - 4
Blackcap - 12
Chiffchaff - 12
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Great Tit - 2 (1)

Sunday 12 July 2020

Stanwell Moor GP - 12th July 2020

We arrived on site at around 5.45am and drove to the lake area all ready to set up in the lovely weedy stretch that we can only use on a Sunday when the plant isn't working, and found that work has now started on levelling and clearing that part of the site. The first place where we usually put a couple of double panels is now a track large enough for heavy vehicles to drive through the perimeter bund and behind that is just bare earth, adjacent to the edge of what has yet to be tidied. We found a little space behind the gap for a low 18m net and switched to a full height net through the bund. The next ride up was still there (albeit with knee-high vegetation for now), and we put a line of three, three panel nets there. The final double went in by the river, parallel to the bund and that wasn't ideal but there was no space to get nets across the path. We also managed two nets in the reedbed.

The morning was fairly busy, but with only two retraps. The reedbed wasn't very productive, only five Reed Warblers, one being a juvenile. Leading species was Whitethroat (and surprisingly several of these birds were adult), followed by Goldfinch. Our catch range of species was diversified by the capture of singles of Reed Bunting, Lesser Whitethroat and Cetti's Warbler.

3JJ Reed Bunting

Adult Lesser Whitethroat

Totals: 95 (2)

Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 2
Dunnock - 7
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 4 (1)
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 39 (1)
Blackcap - 4
Chiffchaff - 7
Blue Tit - 1
Great Tit - 5
Goldfinch - 19
Linnet - 3
Reed Bunting - 1

Thursday 9 July 2020

Wraysbury GP - 7th July 2020

A window of opportunity as the wind reduced and we were off to work on the Whitethroat RAS area. The birds were late in getting started, all except an unexpected Barn Owl that was seen over the solar panels, but as the morning drew on numbers began to build, leaving us at 128 birds for the morning.

Leading species were Blackcap, 52 new and 3 retrapped, Whitethroat 22 new and 7 retrapped and Garden Warbler 16 new with 1 retrapped.

Female Green Woodpecker age 5, in primary moult.

Totals: 114 (14)

Wren -  1
Dunnock - 7 (3)
Robin - 3
Blackbird - 5
Song Thrush - 1
Whitethroat - 22 (6)
Garden Warbler - 16 (1)
Blackcap - 52 (3) 
Chiffchaff - 2
Blue Tit - 2
Great Tit - 2

Sunday 5 July 2020

Broadwater GP - 3rd July 2020

We're experiencing yet another spell of windy weather with very strong gusts. This makes it difficult to get out and ring, obviously, but Broadwater has quite a few sheltered areas. We also needed to see if our access is still possible as the last time we visited there was a heavy metal chain, albeit unlocked when we last went, and this may be linked to the HS2 work that will be undertaken over the next several years.

Not wanting to get up early, only to find our access blocked we arrived at 8.00am to find the chain and padlock gone although a rather amateur looking monitoring post seemed to be in operation filming the road. We decided we'd have to ask the people who live at the caravans there what exactly is happening here.

We'd only just got on site when a couple of the water bailiffs from the fishing club arrived. They told us that the ground agents for the pit have now changed, explaining the lack of replies when we emailed our contact. They also knew that our side of the lake should remain untouched while the HS2 work is in progress and there will only be disruption if the planned nature centre goes ahead (in a few years time) with partial infilling of the lake at this end, and redevelopment of the old plant area to make the several hazards safe for the general public. That will probably be the end of our wild areas but they are secure for the time being. Apparently the chain had been used during lockdown as the lake had been used for illegal fishing, canoeing and swimming (a bad idea as the lake is extremely deep) with the added complication of more barges on the adjacent canal as bargees had brought them out of London during the Covid-19 peak. We also got a name from the new land agents to contact.

So, we've already achieved what we mainly came for and just put up three nets, since we'd lost a bit of time, but we were there and the trees were blocking the worst of the wind so we'd do a few birds before we left.

We'd been intending to leave by midday, but did rather well taking a catch of 80 birds and it was nearly 1pm when we finally padlocked the gate and drove off. An awful lot of the catch were tits, the Great Tits seem to have done particularly well. Blackcaps and Chiffchaff  also featured strongly in the data.

Total: 78 (2)

Blackbird - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 19
Chiffchaff - 18
Long-tailed Tit - 2
Blue Tit - 14 (2)
Great Tit - 23

It was also possible to identify Mute Swans 4AJE (cob) W21281 and 4EEX (pen) W48014 in residence on the lake with two small cygnets.

Butterflies - June 2020

and those in June......

 Marbled White - Hedgerley SP

Large Skipper - Hedgerley SP

Small Tortoiseshell - Stoke Common

Speckled Wood - Black Park CP

Comma - Black Park CP

 Small Skipper - Ditchling Common

White Admiral - Black Park CP

 Red Admiral - Black Park CP

 Small Heath - Bradenham

Dark Green Fritillary - Bradenham

 Purplke Hairstreak - Black Park

Silver-studded Blue - Chobham Common

 Marbled White - Daneway Bank

 Large Blue - Daneway Bank

 Ringlet - Daneway Bank

 Silver-washed Fritillary -  Siccaridge Wood

Dark Green Fritillary - Strawberry Bank

 Brimstone - Dry Sandford

 Essex Skipper - Dry Sandford