Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Ringing Season

With my passion for all things conservation renewed after Whalefest and with the reports starting to flood in of Black Redstarts, Chiffys, Sand Martins, Wheatears and other Passerine Migrants, I am greatly looking forward to getting out ringing again. This winter has been incredibly slow for me on the ringing front and I am chomping at the bit to get back out in the field.

Whether or not anything can top last years Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler at Titchfield Haven I don't know nor am I really that concerned because much as it was a very exciting bird and I felt very privileged to see it first hand, the main reason I ring is not for the rarities but for the data we can provide on long term population trends.

Pallas' Grasshopper Warbler
At Titchfield last summer we ringed in total 4619 birds across 50 different species. Nearly 500 birds more than the year before. I should add that my input was minimal to these figures and the real credit should go to Barry Duffin and Trevor Codlin whose dedication to that site is unparalleled.

Sedge Warbler
At the end of the day it is the 'run of the mill' species that I am really passionate for. When you think that a Sedge Warbler of around 12g, makes a UK to sub-Saharan Africa migration each year of its life, travelling in the region of 5000km each way, that is a staggering distance and that's what fascinates me. Sedge Warblers were the most numerous bird we trapped at Titchfield last year, with 1225 new birds caught and ringed and that trend seems to be consistent with previous years. To put that into perspective the amount of kilometers travelled by all the Sedge Warblers we ringed last year at Titchfield, would be an incredible 6,125,000km from the UK to Africa in a single year! That is the equivalent of Earth to the Moon and back 16 times! And what makes this even more incredible is that's a single species and a single migration journey from one UK site.

What will this year hold? Will there be any suprises? How will the spring fair for all the breeders? With a good spring forecast and record breeding years for several UK breeders last year, will we see increases in some of our species numbers this year? Well only time will, so in the meantime please enjoy some of the picture highlights below of my first year of ringing.

Happy Birding


Cettis Warbler

Reed Bunting


Titchfield Havens first ever Cuckoo fledglings

Net Ride at Farlington Marshes Hants Wildlife Trust


Garden Warbler



Yellow Wagtail

Male Bearded Tit/Reedling

Coal Tit


Wood Warbler



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