It is now mid-September and what started as a slow season has turned out to be an excellent autumn. As I have mentioned in previous posts, we try to use standard trapping methods at the Haven, this includes using the same number of nets, ringing on only three mornings a week and the same tape lures. This allows us to directly compare our totals year on year. Of course the birds that we catch will not necessarily be from the breeding population in the UK, but are likely to be birds from other parts of Europe, as was illustrated so dramatically illustrated with the Pallas's Grasshopper Warbler a couple of weeks ago.
Looking at the nine key species that we study, it is evident that they have all had good years. The Sedge Warbler total currently stands at 1183, which is already our sixth highest total ever. Reed Warbler's seem to be one of the winners this year, as the total of 642 is already the second highest total ever, and the Willow Warbler total of 267 is the highest ever.
The Grasshopper Warbler total is the fifth highest total ever and Garden Warbler's appear to have had a good year as this total is our second highest ever. It is still early days for Chiffchaff, as this species is a later migrant, but the total to date is the second highest of the last five years. I was only today reading a post on the BTO Bird Ringing Demog Blog about large numbers of Blackcaps being ringed at western and central sites in the UK, and this is definitely the case at the Haven. We have already ringed 537 birds, which is the eighth highest total, but looking at the year to year comparisons, the total this year is already 180 more that at the same point in 2010 when the third highest total ever was recorded. The total for Common Whitethroat is on a par with our highest ever total, which was recorded in 2011 and the Cetti's Warbler is again indicating a strong breeding season.