Friday, 2 September 2016

Titchfield Haven Ringing Update - August 2016

I have recently had a few enquiries from birders asking how things have been going with the ringing at Titchfield Haven this year so I thought it was time for a blog update. Subscribers to Birdguides or Rare Bird Alert will no doubt have seen the images of the Aquatic Warbler that we ringed back on 13th August, and that has unquestionably been the highlight of our season to date. This individual was the 17th to be ringed at the Haven and the first since 2009, so it was long overdue. It is great to see a few others turning up on the south coast so you never know, we may even get another, let's hope so.

Juvenile Aquatic Warbler - Titchfield Haven August 2016
Juvenile Aquatic Warbler  - Titchfield Haven 2016

Our ringing totals this year for most species have been disappointing and as I write this post there have only been three mornings where we have caught more that 100 birds. This morning (2nd September) we did catch nearly 150 but the totals in the graph and table below only cover to the end of August, so I will post about that on another day. Typically we would be expecting to catch between 150 - 250 birds at this time of year, but the distinct lack of migrants passing through or over our ringing area has been alarming. The figures for the usual selection of species (below) covering 2010 - 2016 show the total for this year as being the second lowest. When you consider that for 2010 - 2015 the totals are to the 23rd August, whereas the 2016 total is to the 31st August, it is likely to be the second lowest by some way.

Selected species ringing totals 2010 - 2016
Selected species ringing totals 2010 - 2016

You can see from the figures that all of the species totals we have selected are below average as is the grand total, which includes all birds ringed. Interestingly though I have been catching excellent numbers of Goldfinch and Greenfinch in my garden, and the totals to date have already surpassed my best ever annual totals for those two species. We have been discussing the possible reasons for totals being so low and can only really conclude that poor weather during May and June may have reduced breeding success for migrant species, but that is just our opinion.

As yet we have been catching very few adult birds, therefore it is possible that many species are still breeding so there is still the chance that some species totals will pick up, but for Willow Warbler we are pretty much done and dusted, so it is looking like a dismal year for this species.

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