Monday, 2 May 2011

Ringing on 24th Apr 2011

  George was over at the Observatory today this morning but results were as is nearly usual now - poor! George ended the day with just 5 birds processed including 4 New birds and 1 Retrap.

  With results from the nets being so poor recently, Mick Briggs and Dave Vincent used this Sunday's training session to try for something different. They ended the day with 5 New birds and 1 Retrap.
  It was decided that we should try to target a species that we don't ring often and yet turn up on the reserve every year in small numbers and usually attempt to breed - Grasshopper Warbler!

  In the afternoon Mick Briggs spent most of the afternoon and early evening waiting for Wheatears to go into Spring Traps around the Field Station area, unfortunately they were not aware of the rules of the game but luckily a Black Redstart that arrived that morning at the Field Station was.

  The combined catch for the day of 9 New birds and 2 Retraps was made up thus (New/Retrap) - (1/0) Black Redstart, (2/0) Grasshopper Warbler, (2/1) Sedge Warbler, (2/1) Whitethroat, (1/0) Chiffchaff and (1/0) Willow Warbler.

  After much discussion and several reccies around likely Gropper breeding areas on the reserve, it was decided that we should have enough birds present to try to catch this years male Groppers and then target them at the same time next year in the same areas and hopefully find out if we have the same birds coming back to the same areas to breed each year or not. Obviously we will have to try to catch the young birds later on in the season as well incase these are the birds that come back next year to breed in the same areas.
  It means some long term effort on a project that will not result in big numbers but hopefully the findings over the next few years will be fascinating!

  The result of our endeavours was 2 Male Grasshopper Warblers ringed out of two attempts.
  Whilst we were doing this we took the opportunity of to trap some Sedge Warblers whilst the Grasshopper Warblers were being ringed and this resulted in 2 New Sedge Warblers and a single Retrap Sedge Warbler, first ringed on the 25th July 2009 as a juvenile at Aylmer Avenue and not caught since. At least we know now that it has being busily (breeding) along Mill Pond Road for the last two years inbetween trips to Africa!

  The Grasshopper Warblers were just the 25th and 26th ever ringed by the Observatory ever! and were just the 3rd and 4th adults ever and the first two to be sexed ever! Amazingly, upon checking the records I found that seven of the previous 24 birds ringed were pullus from one nest in 1979, which means that todays birds were actually just the 18th and 19th full grown Groppers ever! To show just how scarce these are in the hand at Gib, after last years bird ringed in May, the last one was back in July 2003 and before that, the last one was 1996!

  The Black Redstart was just the 37th ever for the Observatory. After the three birds ringed at the Field Station in 2009, the last one was back in 2004. We have never had a recovery back of any of the Black Redstarts ringed at the Field Station and bearing in mind that they turn up at the Field Station every Spring for a few weeks on and off, and bearing in mind how easily they enter spring traps, maybe we should be colour ringing them from next year?
  There were a pair of Stonechats hanging around the Old Saltmarsh near the Field Station for most of the afternoon, these two birds have been hanging around for around three weeks now and would appear to attempting to breed. Hopefully they might end up in a Spring Trap before long, maybe the next time we are trying to catch Wheatears?

  All in all, a cracking day for the Observatory, with plenty to think of for the future. Dave Vincent was more than happy with the day with two ringing ticks! Grashopper Warbler in the morning and Black Redstart in the afternoon - can't be bad!

Also reported on the reserve on the 24th April 2011 were -

x2 Whimbrel
x1 Greenshank
x21 House Martin
x3 Sand Martin
x10 Swallow
x2 Stonechat
x9 Fieldfare (South)
x1 Brambling
x4 Lesser Whitethroat
x12 Whitethroat
x6 Willow Warbler
x4 Chiffchaff
x4 Blackcap
x1 Barn Owl

David Vincent holding the first Grasshopper Warbler of 2011, ringed on 24th April.
Photo - Mick Briggs

The second Grasshopper Warbler of 2011, ringed on 24th April.
Photo - Mick Briggs

The second Grasshopper Warbler of 2011, ringed on 24th April.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Sedge Warbler ringed on 24th April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Sedge Warbler ringed on 24th April 2011.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Black Redstart ringed on 24th April 2011 at the Field Station.
Photo - Mick Briggs

Black Redstart ringed on 24th April 2011 at the Field Station.
Photo - Mick Briggs

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