Sunday, 12 January 2014

Recoveries from 2013

The following are some of the recovery results from this last year.

Greylag Goose

The male from a pair of Greylag Goose trying to cross the busy A29 at Rowhook with their single gosling on 30th May turned out to be colour ringed bird 13L, not seen for over three years.  Having been originally ringed as an adult at Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve in Kent on 25th June 2006, I spotted this bird three times at Warnham LNR on 11th Jan 2008, 25th Sep 2009 and 28th Dec 2009.  It was also spotted at Walland Marsh in Kent on 10th Jan 2009, but the next and last sighting after mine was at Scotney Court Gravel Pit not far from Walland Marsh at the far eastern end of Sussex.  Although Greylag Geese do move about a bit, this bird seems to keep changing its breeding and wintering sites.

Barn Owl

Although this was the worst year I know of for the breeding of this species, I still had four recoveries.  The first was a nestling female from Kingsfold in 2012 which was found dead under a nest box in Warnham on 20th March just 3km away.  Then in a nestbox at Faygate I controlled an adult male which was the sibling from the same nest in Kingsfold having paired up with a female originally ringed as a nestling in South Godstone, Surrey.  But the fourth was a bit special to me as we retrapped an adult male at Leith Hill which I had originally ringed at Paynes Green as a nestling in 2007 whilst training and was the first Barn Owl I had ever ringed (below).

Blackcap and Chiffchaff

I don't get very many warbler recoveries and the two I got this year were both originally ringed elsewhere in Surrey.  The first was a Blackcap that was ringed as a 1st year male in Worplesden on 22nd Sep 2010 and I caught in Rhododendron Wood, Leith Hill on 4th Jun and although this is just 18km away this bird has flown to at least southern Europe and back twice in between.  The other was a Chiffchaff which was ringed as a juvenile in Ripley in July and caught at Duke's Warren, Leith Hill in September.  These two movements are shown in the map below:


Although the numbers were down for this species year I still had two recoveries.  A 1st year female that I caught in Oct 2012 was found dead having hit a window in Romsey, Hampshire (82km away) on 15th Jan.  The other recovery I caught in December and am awaiting details of where it was originally ringed.

Blue Tit

The large majority of Blue Tits don't move more than about 5km within their lifetime, although there are always a few that don't fit the mould.  The four recoveries I had last year were all over 5km, three of which were caught at Rhododendron Wood, Leith Hill just over that distance.  L991303 was ringed at Gomshall on 5th July as a juvenile and captured on 10th Oct 2011, 30th Dec 2012 and 8th and 15th Apr 2013 7km away.  X398234 was ringed as a 1st year at Ewhurst on 28th Oct 2008 and caught on 30th Dec 2012 and 13th Jan 2013 6km away.  Y746712 was ringed as an adult at Gomshall on 30th Oct 2012 and caught on 12th Aug and 8th Sep 2013 7km away.  Blue Tits as a rule disperse as a 1st year to find breeding grounds and then stays around these grounds for the rest of its life, whereas this last bird seems to have dispersed as an adult.

The fourth recovery was a juvenile ringed in my Warnham garden on 9th Sep 2012 and caught on 12th Feb 2013 at Queen Mary Reservoir 37km away!

These are all shown in the map below:


This was my best year for this species with 19 recoveries, a  number of these were very local recoveries, but the map below shows all that were over 20km away.

Two of these are worthy of further comment.  X403389 was ringed at Slaley, Northumberland on 5th May 2009 as a 2nd calendar year male on breeding grounds, then caught on 30th Nov 2011 at Duke's Warren (winter grounds) and again here on 1st Mar 2013 showing winter site fidelity.  The other is L247289 which was ringed on St Mary's, Isle of Scilly on 17th Oct 2010 as a 1st year female and caught at Duke's Warren on 29th Mar 2013.  This is interesting because not only has it come from an unusual direction compared to all other recoveries, but also it was ringed on the Isles of Scilly, where this species is scarcely seen.  In contrast, considering the large numbers of Siskins that are ringed in East Anglia I am yet to have a recovery or capture from there.

Lesser Redpoll

This is by far the species with the most recoveries and from all across the British Isles.

None of these were of any particular note, but in the last three years I have had recoveries from 26 different British counties and two to Belgium.

Common Redpoll

A single recovery of a bird ringed at Duke's Warren, Leith Hill as a 2nd calendar year on 9th Jan 2012 which was then caught at Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire as an adult male on 19th Apr 2013.

In addition, I got late news that a 1st year that was ringed at Duke's Warren on 21st Oct 2011 was caught on 11th Jan 2012 at Masnuy-Saint-Jean, Hainaut in Belgium.  This was the first record of a Britsh ringed Common Redpoll to be recovered in Belgium.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Interesting Siskin

Today I have just passed the 200 mark for new birds in 2014!  A good session on Leith Hill with SW, PS, DC and DS produced 35 new birds including a Brambling, a Marsh Tit, 9 Lesser Redpoll (including a British control) and a Common Redpoll (below).

Although the most interesting bird was a 1st year male Siskin with an unusual moult.  As a rule with Siskins adults mould all feather after breeding whilst juveniles moult all body feathers, most if not all wing coverts (except primary coverts) and regularly the alulas and tertials.  But this bird has decided to be different and having done all of the above has then also moulted all of the outer primaries from 4 to 10 on both wings (below)?  Usually when passerine birds moult their primaries the primary coverts moult in sequence with them, but here all of the primary coverts have been replaced not just the ones relating to the replaced flight feathers!  Why has this one decided to do something different?

You can see the old juvenile feathers are brown, worn and have pale yellow markings, whereas the new feathers are black, fresh and have bright yellow markings.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

2013 Roundup

As is always the case, one year is never the same as another and 2013 was no different.  The biggest change this year was the start of a second ringing site at Leith Hill which produced just over 1000 new birds and has assisted in increasing the Leith Hill total to 2734 new birds, but there was a big reduction in ringing in my garden which has compensated.

2013 saw a good deal of highlights including a number of firsts with singles of Buzzard nestling, Cuckoo, Waxwing and Great Grey Shrike.  This year also saw large totals for Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, BlackbirdRedwing, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, Chaffinch and Siskin, but low numbers in Barn Owl, Spotted Flycatcher, Goldcrest, Redpoll and Goldfinch and a complete lack of Tawny Owl and Tree Pipit.

Big thanks go to Paul Stevenson, Sue Walsh, Martin Gray and Claire Boothby for their help and assistance during the year.

Totals were as follows:

                                                                                      Full grown         Nestling             Total

             Canada Goose                                                                  2                       1                       3

             Mallard                                                                             0                       3                       3

             Buzzard                                                                            0                       1                       1

             Sparrowhawk                                                                   2                       0                       2

             Kestrel                                                                              0                       3                       3

             Barn Owl                                                                          1                      0                        1

             Cuckoo                                                                              1                       0                       1

             Kingfisher                                                                        2                       0                       2

             Woodpigeon                                                                     1                       0                       1

             Stock Dove                                                                        2                       3                       5

             Green Woodpecker                                                         2                       0                       2

             Great Spotted Woodpecker                                          35                       0                     98

             Swallow                                                                             2                     47                     49

             Meadow Pipit                                                                    5                       0                       5

             Grey Wagtail                                                                   1                       3                       4

             Pied/White Wagtail                                                        1                       8                       9

             Waxwing                                                                           1                       0                       1

             Wren                                                                               75                       6                     81

             Dunnock                                                                         41                       6                     47

             Robin                                                                             135                       1                   136

             Redstart                                                                            5                       6                     11

             Mistle Thrush                                                                   1                       0                       1

             Blackbird                                                                        57                       9                     66

             Fieldfare                                                                           2                       0                       2

             Song Thrush                                                                   21                       1                     22

             Redwing                                                                        169                       0                   169

             Grasshopper Warbler                                                     1                       0                       1

             Reed Warbler                                                                   1                       0                       1

             Sedge Warbler                                                                 1                       0                       1

             Whitethroat                                                                   14                       0                     14

             Garden Warbler                                                            13                       0                     13

             Blackcap                                                                       110                       2                   112

             Chiffchaff                                                                     156                       0                   156

             Willow Warbler                                                             51                       0                     51

             Goldcrest                                                                        80                       0                     80

             Firecrest                                                                            8                       0                       8

             Spotted Flycatcher                                                           1                       0                       1

             Long-tailed Tit                                                               34                       0                     34

             Marsh Tit                                                                          9                       0                       9

             Coal Tit                                                                           61                       0                     61

             Blue Tit                                                                         665                     11                   676

             Great Tit                                                                       367                     11                   378

             Nuthatch                                                                         30                       0                     30

             Treecreeper                                                                    13                       0                     13

             Great Grey Shrike                                                          1                       0                       1

             Jay                                                                                     7                       0                       7

             Magpie                                                                              5                       0                       5

             Jackdaw                                                                            5                     37                     42

             House Sparrow                                                                 6                       0                       6

             Chaffinch                                                                     269                       1                   270

             Brambling                                                                        9                       0                       9

             Greenfinch                                                                     25                       0                     25

             Goldfinch                                                                        54                       0                     54

             Siskin                                                                            441                       0                   441

             Linnet                                                                               4                       0                       4

             Common Redpoll                                                           10                       0                     10

             Lesser Redpoll                                                             270                       0                   270

             Redpoll (Common/Lesser)                                              5                       0                       5

             Common Crossbill                                                        13                       0                     13

             Bullfinch                                                                          3                       0                       3

                                                   Annual Total:                      3316                   160                 3476