Monday, 20 July 2015

Where has the last month gone?

I can only apologise for what has been a month since my last post, which has in part been due to a new and very busy role at work, but also due to an extremely busy social calendar. In fact, things have been so busy that there was a period of seven days when I didn't even lift my binoculars, something I cannot remember happening before, and my camera has almost been mothballed.

Bird ringing activities have also been limited, but I have managed a couple of sessions. One was a ringing event on the Leckford Estate for Trustees of the John Spedan Lewis Trust and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust on 21st June. It was a bit of a breezy day but we managed to catch 34 birds of 11 species. Given that the visitors arrive at 11:00 and leave at 15:00, I am always glad to catch anything, and the crowd pleaser's were undoubtedly the two Kingfishers and single Great Spotted Woodpecker. The supporting cast included two Marsh Tits (one a retrap from last year), 13 Great Tits, five Wren's, 3 Robins, two of each Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest and single Blue Tit and Chaffinch, the latter a superb male.

Another session was at Manor Farm Country Park as part of my RAS project on 27th June. We ringed 46 birds of four species, 42 House Sparrows, three of which were retraps, two Blackbirds and single Robin and Wren. So plenty of target birds but very few retraps which was disappointing. In the afternoon I opened a net in my garden and caught 15 birds of five species, including six Great Tits, three Goldfinch's, 4 Blue Tits and single Chiffchaff and Robin.

Ringing at the Haven has also commenced for the autumn and to date we have ringed 131 birds of 16 species. Unsurprisingly Reed Warbler has been the most numerous species with 67 birds ringed, no doubt the local breeding population. Ten Cetti's Warblers, nine Blackcaps, eight Robins, five Chiffchaffs, four Dunnocks, three each Blackbird and Bullfinch, two Bearded Tit, Long-tailed Tit and Reed Bunting and single Wren, Song Thrush and Willow Warbler.

Juvenile Avocet, Titchfield Haven (Geoff Jones)

On the afternoon of the 18th July I received an email from the Haven with a picture taken by Geoff Jones, one of the Havens volunteers and a keen photographer. The image was of a juvenile Avocet wearing a yellow colour ring on its right tibia, and a yellow flag with the letters AC on it, on its left tibia. I knew that it was not one of the Haven birds as they have not been ringed, and based on the juvenile dispersal from the west of the county last year, I suspected it might be one of Graham Giddens' birds. 

Graham responded to my email immediately and it was indeed a chick he had ringed at a site in the west of the the county on 3rd June. It was disappointing to learn that this was the only bird to fledge from his site this year, the others being predated by large gulls and Grey Herons. The lack of success for Graham is not mirrored at the Haven where I understand over 25 chicks have fledged, the best ever year for breeding Avocet at the site.
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