Sunday, 29 November 2015

November Review

What a dire month we have had with only 356 birds ringed, our worst total since 2011. The weather conditions have been terrible all month with wind and rain badly affecting what we could do. In fact we were only out on 7 dates all month (9 in 2014) and one of those was rain affected, with the nets up it started to rain (not forecast) at dawn so down they came again. The result :- wet kit, wet birds and I was soaked as well.... not a great day!!!!  Of the 356 birds ringed Redwing was the most abundant with 170 followed by Goldfinch on 40 and Tree Sparrow on 30. All the rest were in much reduced numbers to what I would have expected for the time of year. For example during the corresponding month last year we caught 38 Blackbird - 26 this year, 24 Blue Tit - 7 this year , 93 Tree Sparrow - 30 this year and finally 41 Reed Bunting to 12 this year, a concerning downward trend. It will be interesting to see by the years end if things even themselves out at all.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Outrageous October

Well what a great October we have had at Stanford. A record number caught with 1387 ringed for the month pushing our yearly total to just over 7000 new for the site and 4000 of those being Warblers. The month started well and continued on from September with excellent numbers of both Blackcap and Chiffchaff so when you compare the totals with last year when we had record numbers for the year you can appreciate how good this year has been. Last year during October we caught 37 Blackcap and 48 Chiffchaff, this year we caught 186 and 225 respectively so you can see what a jump in numbers there has been this year. For those of you who are regular viewers of this site you will remember me banging on about how many Goldcrests we have caught over the previous 2 months, well this month went crazy with 129 birds ringed taking us to just over 200 for the year. Not many you may think but when you compare it with our previous highest total of 76 you can see where we are coming from. Mid month we hit a real purple patch for us and it all started on the 9th when on the second round of the morning I caught a Siberian Chiffchaff, one of the brown looking ones as opposed to the more familiar grey ones, this was the 2nd one caught at Stanford and on the next round I caught a first year female Firecrest, the 5th caught at Stanford. What was a great days ringing and quite unexpected, was followed on the 12th with a Yellow-browed Warbler and an Asian Lesser Whitethroat. (see accounts on articles page on the Web site). Then to round things off I caught another female Firecrest on the 20th, a day that I caught 19 new Goldcrests on site..... a record in itself. By the 16th we had started to catch winter Thrushes and by the end of the month we had good numbers for this time of year, 15 Song Thrush, 17 Blackbird , 2 Fieldfare and 181 Redwing. Last year the corresponding figures were 14, 7, 0 and 20 so you can see a significant increase over last year. Of the Tits, Lotti's were up by almost two thirds but Blue and Great Tits were down by about one third. Tree Sparrows have crept up again with 82 ringed this month, a big improvement on the last two months. Then we come to Finches and Buntings, they are continuing their topsy-turvy year with some species down in numbers whilst others go up. Chaffinch and Bullfinch are similar to last year albeit very low numbers. Greenfinch are down a third, Goldfinch by half and Yellowhammer are non existent compared to last years 35. Reed Bunting have continued a worrying trend of low numbers this year with a paltry 9 birds ringed. The one high point has been the welcome return of Lesser Redpoll with 134 ringed during the month and a single Siskin, our 3rd of the year and another record.