Saturday, 3 September 2011

Titchfield Haven Bird Ringing - End of August Update

By the end of August we had managed 13 ringing sessions and captured a total of 2113 new birds of 17 species. Combined with the July total, that brings our total for the year to a respectable 2996 birds, to date. The August total was dominated by two species, Sedge Warbler with 967 new birds and of course Grasshopper Warbler with 504 new birds, bringing the respective autumn totals for both to 1306 and 771. With the whole of September and October to go the question has to be, can we catch 1000 Grasshopper Warblers in a single year? Well, I will keep you posted!!

Other species that appear to have had a good breeding season are Common Whitethroat, with 95 new birds captured in August, and Garden Warbler, with 64 new birds captured. The combined totals of these two species, as of the end of August, stands at 120 and 75, respectively, both new record totals for the site. Blackcap numbers started to increase towards the end of the month as expected, with 31 new birds captured on 29th August, and a total for the month of 92, 129 in total to date.

First Year Male Blackcap, Titchfield Haven

But whilst some species appear to have been doing very well, others appear to be struggling. The number of Cetti's Warblers captured this year remained extremely low, with only 4 new birds captured in August, 11 in total to date this year. Two consecutive cold winters has undoubtedly had an effect on this species. But Eurasian Reed Warbler numbers have also remained very low, 229 new birds were captured during August, 338 new birds this year.

Reed Warbler, Titchfield Haven

Being a species that migrates south for the winter, and away from our recent harsh winters, the reason for such low numbers is unclear, but maybe it is simply a result of a lack of food during the breeding season. At Titchfield Haven, there has been a distinct lack of aphids in the reedbeds which must have had an effect on juvenile survival rates.

Willow Warbler numbers were steady during August with the month ending on 80 new birds, bringing the total for the year to date 117, the peak day was 17 on 2nd August, whereas Eurasian Chiffchaff numbers were low, with only 20 new birds captured, but then Chiffchaff numbers don't normally peak until September.

Juvenile Lesser Whitethroat

September began with a flurry, and produced our first Lesser Whitethroat of the year, but I will save the remaining figures for a future post.

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