Thursday, 21 July 2011

'A' Permit and Retrap Reed Bonanza

Its official, I have just qualified and received my bird ringing 'A' permit after just over six years of training!
A pretty quiet week, mainly due to lots of wind and rain, but did manage to do a couple more Swallow nests close to home, a quick visit to Coot Pond and a session at Warnham LNR reedbed on Wednesday morning which was turned out to be a cracking session for retrap Reed Warblers.

The first two sessions at Warnham LNR produced only one retrap Reed Warbler (X638196) which had originally ringed on 19th May 2009, whilst this last session produced seven retraps which had been ringed as follows:

P905721 ringed as an adult female on 9th June 2005
X846178 ringed as a juvenile on 18th July 2009
L238147 ringed as an adult male on 24th May 2010
L238376 ringed as an adult male on 3rd June 2010
L238408 ringed as an adult female on 6th June 2010
L424079 ringed as a juvenile on 14th July 2010
L424605 ringed as a juvenile on 10th September 2010

The last six haven't been caught since they were originally ringed, but the first was recaught here on 25th June 2006 and 24th May 2010.  This bird is now at least seven years old and has endured the journey to and from Africa each year.  I thought that this was a lot until I checked the Euring database and the oldest known Reed Warbler was over 14 years old!  Also caught an adult male Bullfinch that was originally ringed as a juvenile on 26th September 2009.

New birds included a juvenile and adult male Reed Bunting, 11 Reed Warbler, a Bullfinch, two adult Willow Warbler and four Blackcap. Sightings this morning included at least three Kingfishers, a Common Sandpiper and a calling juvenile Sparrowhawk.

Whilst a quick visit to Coot Pond after this produced two new juvenile Mallard.

Birds ringed:
Swallow - 9 nestlings
Reed Bunting - 2
Reed Warbler - 11
Blue Tit - 2
Blackcap - 4
Robin - 1
Bullfinch - 1
Willow Warbler - 2
Wren - 2
Chiffchaff - 2
Blackbird - 1
Mallard - 2

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Two More Sessions

Just two ringing sessions this week with the second reedbed visit on Saturday followed by a couple of hours at Leith Hill on Monday morning.

The visit to Warnham LNR reedbed on Saturday produced 41 new birds including eight Reed Warbler, eight Blackcap, four Bullfinch (above), a newly fledged Willow Warbler, a Goldcrest and only the second Whitethroat caught here since 1998 (below).
Highlights of the retraps included the same control Reed Warbler as last week (L400228) and an adult male Reed Warbler ringed as a breeding adult in May 2009 and caught again breeding in 2010.
In the afternoon, I had a visit from my cousin Charlie, his wife Jess and son Michael.  Charlie had never seen an owl or a badger before so took them to see my last Barn Owl nest box at Leith Hill which needed ringing.  I visited this box three weeks ago and found two newly hatched chicks and four unhatched eggs but on this visit the box contained the adult female, two 3 week old chicks and just two eggs.  This possibly suggests that these two had eaten their two siblings that hatched later (above and below)!  This was then followed by a successful visit to a local badger sett seeing two adults and a juvenile.

Whilst on Monday, Leith Hill produced another 40 new birds including a Garden Warbler, three Blackcap, three juvenile Chaffinch, two Whitethroat and 15 juvenile Siskin.  Also, the Pheasant nest from last week had hatched and fledged the nest revealing seven hatched out of ten eggs (below).
Birds ringed:
Reed Warbler - 8
Dunnock - 2
Bullfinch - 4
Blackcap - 11
Blue Tit - 5
Great Tit - 14
Whitethroat - 3
Robin - 3
Garden Warbler - 1
Siskin - 15
Chaffinch - 3
Coal Tit - 1
Wren - 2
Goldcrest - 1
Willow Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 6
Blackbird - 1
Barn Owl - 2 nestlings

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

The First Session in the Reedbed for the Year

The two sessions at Leith Hill (one morning and one evening) produced another 37 new Siskin including just two adults.  I have been measuring every juvenile Siskin I have caught (103) and there has been a real variation in the blotch size of between 18mm and completely dark tails.  Going on the paper by 'Marine and Copete' 53 would be male (below 28mm), 47 female (above 29mm) and three intermediates at 28mm or 29mm.  There are also definite peaks around 21/24mm (32), 32/33mm (21) and completely dark tails account for 12 individuals.  Also, a few of the juveniles are starting to moult and five were clearly males (below) which helped to see how reliable measuring the tail blotches are for sexing.  These five birds had blotches of 18, 19, 20, 22 and 25mm - all within the male range.

Nests this week have involved two Pied Wagtails (five chicks in each), the Whitethroat nest from a few weeks ago was ready (three chicks and two eggs - below top), one Robin (three chicks) and one Wren (five chicks).  Whilst a visit to another Barn Owl box at Leith Hill produced a new adult male and a Pheasant was found sat on eggs (below bottom).

This week also included my first visit to the reedbed at Warnham LNR where in three hours I managed to catch 60 new birds of ten species including six Robin, seven Chiffchaff, 14 Blackcap, 15 Reed Warbler (below top), a Reed Bunting and a real surprise was a Greenfinch!  Whilst the highlights of the already ringed included an adult male Great Tit ringed here on 18th Oct 2006 as an immature, a control 2nd year female Reed Bunting (below bottom) which was ringed 8km away in Capel, Surrey on 30th December 2010 and a control Reed Warbler (L400228) which I am yet to get details of.  Amazingly these are only the second and third controls caught at this well worked site since at least 2000!  The other one being an immature Blue Tit (V945935) caught on 23rd November 2009 which I have yet to find its origin!  Does anyone recognise these two?

Birds ringed:
Pied Wagtail - 10 nestlings
Robin - 7 + 3 nestlings
Siskin - 37
Whitethroat - 1 + 3 nestlings
Coal Tit - 1
Great Tit - 16
Blackcap - 15
Dunnock - 3
Reed Warbler - 15
Blue Tit - 7
Reed Bunting - 1
Chaffinch - 2
Wren - 5 + 5 nestlings
Chiffchaff - 7
Greenfinch - 1
Blackbird - 1
Barn Owl - 1