Wednesday 20 April 2022

Returning update

Returning Warblers from April 9th to April 19th

The first Sedge Warbler was ringed on 13th April with another during the following week, we have now caught 8.

Sedge Warbler at Mallard pond

The first retrap Sedge Warbler from a previous year was originally ringed as an adult in May 2018 and seen again during the breeding season in 2019 and 2020 but not last year.

The first three Reed Warblers back, caught on 19th April were ringed in previous years, but two are amazing in the  lack of subsequent encounters..

S161817 ringed in August 2016 and not seen since

ABE2128 ringed May 2019 and seen in May 2020 and 21

AHA3217 ringed Aug 2017 and not seen since

Are these 2 or 3 birds site faithful stopover migrants ? We do have birds of some species that we suspect of this .... eg White Wagtails and Sedge Warblers. It is difficult to believe that during several breeding seasons we have missed these birds. We do ring quite regularly until July and intensively from July until October..

Other Warbler totals for 9-19th April 

Willow Warbler...22 new

Chiffchaff...12 new 

Blackcap.... 12 new

Grasshopper Warbler ... 2 new

Rich D and Wendy J

Friday 8 April 2022

Spring arrivals and returns

Late March into early April is a time when we start to see returning birds from previous years. 

A Blackcap was re-encountered on the 30th March that had been ringed in July 2017 and also seen in 2018 and 2019.

Although we haven't caught any new Cetti's Warblers yet this year we have re-encountered 4 from last year.

Cetti's Warbler

Four returning Chiffchaff  so far. Various histories with us..
One ringed last August - re trapped at the same site this March. One ringed in December, still with us - or now returned from a very late winter break, it's wing suggested it had been to the sun 
Two more that were originally ringed in 2020.

The number of returning and site faithful birds to the end of March can be clearly seen in the following table 

Species where birds have been re-encountered from previous years

Old birds of note are the 10 year old Great Spotted Woodpecker, a 7 year old Great Tit and Long-tailed tits and a Dunnock ringed in 2016.

It is always nice to see that the reed cut by a local thatcher has taken place - a cut is planned each year but for various reasons sometimes the cut doesn't take place. The cut area not only provides totally fresh Phragmites, but whilst the new growth is short, feeding for waders, pipits and in particular White Wagtails. We hope for some evening pre roost action any day...

We have caught 3
Curlew and 1 Teal over two evenings in the fading light, experimental at this stage and maybe a colour ring project with the Curlew, considering their current national profile. 


Some of the group are involved in nest recording and their season of monitoring is underway with the first Dipper chicks of the year ringed this week. Andrew has been exploring his local bridges and has found several Dipper nests. 

Dipper nests and locations

News just received of some Starling movements from and to Andy's garden

LL86492 Ringed Bancyffordd, Carms 18/02/2020

                Ring read in the field  Haulerwijk, The Netherlands 05/03/2022

                746 days 728km E

26Z50958  Ringed Westmalle, Antwerpen, Belgium 09/11/2019

                   Re-encountered  Bancyffordd, Carms 14/12/2021

                   766 days 626km W

Reed Buntings  ....hoping to continue our good winter observations..

Reed Warblers. ...the first birds, usually recaptures are due back over the next week..

Willow Tits  .. an update from Arfon shortly 

Finally Andy's House Sparrow RAS...excellent results with 78 now  resighted .see the previous post for a further details... House Sparrow RAS 2022

Rich D and Wendy J

Sunday 3 April 2022

House Sparrow RAS 2022

The 1st of April brought the start date for the second year of my House Sparrow RAS. With a good number of birds colour ringed in 2021, I successfully logged 35 different birds on the first morning for this year while having breakfast. Further observations over mid morning coffee took me up to 50 different birds and two further sessions on the 2nd of April took me up to 67 different individuals (40 male, 27 female). 

Despite my best effort last year, a reasonable number of 'older' birds still only have metal rings only and probably a similar number have no ring at all. The ideal situation would be to try to ring these birds but putting up mist nets in less than perfect conditions will mean high disturbance for low return as the birds will see the nets and simply avoid the garden. Walk in traps don't get used by adult birds in my garden so my best option is to focus on reading as many colour rings as possible while many birds are still coming to seed.  

N68 is a female that was ringed on the 22nd of February 2021. Being ringed in February, all that can be said about her is that she is from the 2020 breeding season or before.
40 of the birds sighted so far can be identified to a specific breeding season with the remaining being as N68. 33 of the birds sighted are over a year old. The majority of the remaining birds are known to be from the 2021 breeding season so technically speaking they are birds that have simply survived their first winter; many will of course breed this year. The oldest bird is known to be from the 2016 breeding season or before. Over time it should be possible to increase the proportion of specifically aged birds.

At this stage of the season many pairs in the garden are still in the process of nest building while adult birds that have lost their mate are trying to pair up or find a different nesting site. P05 (male from 2018 or earlier) seems to have lost his mate N90 (female from 2018 or earlier) and has moved to a new site. The box that he is clearing out was initially used by N01 (male) and N25 (female) last year and then by an unknown male and N25 for a later brood. Both N01 and N25 have not been seen for some time and the unknown male could not have been P05 so he may also have disappeared. Last year I noted that most of the early nesting attempts were made by incumbent adults with the offspring from the previous season mainly pairing and making nesting attempts later in the year.

The above female is not ringed. Most females have a bill colour that is dark brown containing varying amounts of dark buff-yellow/brown towards the base and in the lower mandible. This particular bird stands out amongst other females having a bill colour that is similar to a breeding season male.