Friday, 13 October 2017

Marsworth 8th October 2017 - Goldcrests and Hornets

Nets: 370' Tapes: Blackcap, Chiffchaff/Goldcrest mix, Chaffinch
Weather Calm and mild
Ringers: LL, CK

Blackcaps are now few and far between but Chiffchaff are still passing through. Numbers of Goldcrests have increased and the 11 we caught included four adults, and we were surprised to find one that had not quite finished its main moult, the outer two primaries still at stage 4 and 3, and the two middle secondaries, S5 and S6,  were still growing (stage 3).

The number of Great Tits caught this year has been well below average so the capture of seven today was unusual, one of them was a retrap adult male and the other 6 were all young females. We colour-ringed four Reed Buntings. One of the Reed Buntings was new, the others were birds that have not been caught since Jan/Feb and are more evidence of Reed Buntings moving back to a regular wintering site. A Chaffinch and Goldfinch added a bit of variety and a Raven was heard flying over 2-3 times during the morning.

We set up a new net ride under the trees with the aim of trying for Tawny Owl next week. Last week we arrived early and tried Tawny Owl tapes which provoked a response from a male and female calling from the trees behind the reservoir but no action. Hopefully our new net will be in a better position.

Unfortunately after a pleasant calm morning we had a rather stressful end; we had at least 11 large hornets in two of the nets and more were flying lazily around. It was a race to get them out and the nets shut before more could go in. All but one was released successfully - they were not aggressive and most of them I released by cutting one or two strands that were caught around their waist and then going around the other side of the net and batting them off and they flew off quite sedately. At the time I was a bit worried about pheromones being released and swarms of aggressive hornets descending on me but I have since found a very interesting website with information about their lifecycle and I think they were probably a mating swarm of new queens and males - lovers not fighters!

http://www.vespa-crabro.com/hornets.htm

Lynne

Species
Total Summary
New Bird
Retrap
Blackcap
3
2
1
Blue Tit
2
1
1
Chaffinch
1
1

Chiffchaff
6
6

Goldcrest
11
11

Goldfinch
1
1

Great Tit
7
5
2
Reed Bunting
5
1
4
Robin
1
1

Wren
4
3
1
Total
41
32
9


Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Wilstone 8th October 2017

Calm and warm
460’ net
JT,EM,MCC,JSJ,SM and JD

Well, Blackcap passage appears to be over but the Chiffchaffs keep coming.This week they were accompanied by a trickle of Goldcrests.
A surprise Sedge warbler in net one along with a lonely Reed warbler too. We caught a new female Cetti's Warbler in net 8 and also the male from Marsworth in net one in the same round (see photo). Hopefully they will stick around and survive the winter.
Plenty of waders out on the mud in the far distance along with some Meadow Pipits, of which we ringed one today.
This time last year we caught our first Redwing of the year but none around this morning, something to look forward to.
Johne


New
Retrap
Total
Blackcap
4

4
Blue Tit
2
3
5
Bullfinch
1

1
Cettis Warbler
1
1
2
Chiffchaff
11

11
Goldcrest
6
1
7
Great Tit
1
1
2
Long Tailed Tit

1
1
Meadow Pipit
1

1
Reed Warbler
1

1
Sedge Warbler
1

1
Song Thrush
1

1
Wren
7
2
9




Total
37
9
46

Female and male Cetti's Warblers, photo by Jenny

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Germany Calling - news from ex-Tring RG member in Germany

Meisen Wood

Meisen Wood is our ringing site in Germany about 40km from Osnabrück.  Meisen is German for titmice and this reflects the main species of birds that we catch.  The site is c4 acres of woodland on the southern slopes of the Teutonberger Hills and is quite steep in places.  The woodland is predominantly mixed conifers with some birch and an understory of rowan, holly, elderberry and rhododendron; there is a small meadow area too.

We aim to ring, minimally, once a week using 120m of nets.  The net placings are, essentially, constant thus allowing year on year comparisons.  During the Spring and Autumn migration periods the number of ringing sessions per week are increased.  The first ever ringing session was on February 15, 2015.

Within our woodland and in the immediate vicinity we have placed and monitor 65 nest boxes aimed at attracting: Great Tit, Blue Tit, Crested Tit, Nuthatch and Pied Flycatcher – we do ring the pulli.

Elsewhere in the county we ring once a month in an old orchard; monitor 30 more nest boxes placed to attract House Sparrows and Starlings; monitor 26 Tawny Owl boxes; and ring swallow pulli at a couple of horse stables.


Meisen Wood – October 1st: Short Crests

120m nets. Sound: Robin, Goldcrest and Chiffchaff.
Weather: initially damp and misty, slowly clearing to an intermittently sunny morning.
Ringers: CS and EB.

Species
New
Re - trap
Blue Tit
1
-
Chiffchaff
3
-
Firecrest
3
-
Goldcrest
4
-
Great Tit
3
1
Long-tailed Tit
3
4
Robin
-
1
Short-toed Treecreeper
1
1
Wren
-
1
Total
18
8

Final numbers are, again, slightly below average.  The continuing low numbers of Great Tits and Blue Tits is of some concern (a situation expressed by several other local ringers too); why are the numbers down?  We know that many early broods of both species failed (for the second consecutive year) but many of these re-nested and several Great Tit pairs successfully raised two broods.  Additionally, here in Germany, both species are partial migrants (one of today’s Great Tits had a fat score of 4) so the apparent decline in numbers could be a consequence of events elsewhere.

Nonetheless a nice selection of birds caught.

Firecrest
Particularly pleasing were the Firecrests and Goldcrests.  In late September, early October we get a small flush of Firecrests (38 so far) and these seem to be the vanguard to a major Goldcrest movement.  Typically these early Firecrests and Goldcrests are adults, as they were today.  The two Short-toed Treecreepers were welcome additions to the day’s tally.  We catch both Treecreeper species at this site and identification always stimulates discussion (they are the most dog-eared pages in our Svensson). 
Short-toed Treecreeper

Two re-traps were of interest.  One of the Long-tailed Tits was originally ringed, as a 2, in early September 2015; then re-captured twice in January of this year, so is a fairly old bird for this species.


This was the 16th time we have re-trapped Robin – 90460016, the first time this autumn.

It was the first Robin we ringed at this site in February 2015, when it was aged 6, thus making it at least 4 years old – not a particularly remarkable age for a Robin.  But it has only ever been caught in one of two nets each year between late September and late March; so welcome back “old friend”; but where do you Summer and breed? 



Thursday, 5 October 2017

Wilstone - 30th September 2017

Wilstone Reservoir - 30/9/2017
Warm but disappointingly breezy again
Nets: 440’
JT, JSJ and SM

So much for wanting it to be a good Autumn for Meadow Pipits, a no show this morning on that particular front.
A reduction in the numbers of Blackcaps but Chiffchaffs still moving through. We caught a new band of Lottis and came across what passes for a tit flock nowadays.
The male singing Cettis that was around on Thursday gave us a burst throughout the morning and just happened to be a juvenile from Marsworth. Lets hope he stays and survives the winter.

Johne

Species
New
Retrap
Total
Blackcap
12

12
Blue Tit
9
4
13
Bullfinch
2

2
Cettis Warbler

1
1
Chiffchaff
18

18
Dunnock
2
2
4
Goldcrest
1

1
Great Tit
5
1
6
Long Tailed Tit
10
1
11
Robin
2
3
5
Wren
3

3




Total
88
12
76

Juvenile Cetti's Warbler (tail moulting)