Sunday, 21 October 2012

Titchfield Haven Bird Ringing Update - 21st October 2012

This weekends ringing had a very, late autumn, end of season feel about it, with the numbers of birds and diversity of species, much lower than they have been during August and September. The acro's have now gone, we did not catch a single reed or sedge warbler, and the same with groppers. Our gropper total ended on 360 birds, the third most numerous species ringed, with sedge warbler (635) and blackcap (368 so far), the two most numerous species. The gropper total is the fourth highest ever for the site, with the previous highest being the three preceding years, 950 (2011), 569 (2009) and 463 (2010). In the last 14 seasons we have ringed a total of 4019 groppers, which is an astonishing total seeing as in the previous 25 years only 18 birds were ringed.

Yellow-browed Warbler (B. S. Duffin)

As I mentioned in my last post, Friday began with a bit of excitement as a yellow-browed warbler was one of the first birds extracted. A cracking juvenile bird, in very fresh plumage and only the third to be ringed at the Haven. Saturday also began with a bit of excitement, although not the same rarity value as yellow-browed, but another firecrest. This is our fifth firecrest of the year, and our best year ever for this species, the grand total for the site is 15. This latest bird was a juvenile female.

Juvenile female Firecrest

The most numerous species of the last two days was chiffchaff, with 25 ringed Friday and 26 ringed Saturday, only eight blackcaps, six goldcrests and three wrens. Cetti's warblers have been a bit elusive in recent weeks, since they will have been undergoing their post breeding or post juvenile moults, but two new birds were ringed this weekend, and also two new robins.

Cetti's Warbler

Another surprise was a juvenile common redstart, which was the fifth bird ringed this year. This is the highest total for this species, four being the previous highest total in 2001 and 2004; a total of 33 have now been ringed at the Haven. Single song thrush and blackbird, and a retrap Eurasian treecreeper made up the totals; 37 new birds Friday and 42 Saturday.

Eurasian Treecreeper

Two the the Havens volunteers, Andy and Eddie, have recently put in a lot of time renovating the Heligoland trap at the Haven. Now finished it is being baited with the hope of attracting reed buntings for some winter ringing. A quick visit to see if any birds were there resulted in a single jay on 14/10/2012. This bird turned out to be a retrap that was first ringed on 16/08/1997, some 15 years 1 month and 28 days earlier. The longevity record for jay currently belongs to a North Yorkshire bird that was retrapped 16 years 9 months and 19 days after its original capture, although not the record this is a pretty good innings for our bird.

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