May 31st

A pleasant morning but it remains very quiet. There were six new birds and nine retraps, all local stock.

The main news is of a fascinating Sedge Warbler control. It was ringed here as a young bird on 15/9/13. It was caught by a ringer in Mauritania (1973 days, 4191 km SSW) on 9/2/19. This has traveled to Africa and back six times so far. It is the 29th UK Sedge Warbler to be found in that country. There are even more movements between the UK and Senegal, just a bit further south. This is due to an intensive ringing effort in the 1980’s by UK and then European ringers to demonstrate the importance of these areas for wintering warblers.

May 27th

A round of the main nest box areas at the south of the area produced 71 tits to be ringed with Blue Tits the busiest, hopefully making up for last year. Stock Doves are already on their second set of chicks.

May 26th

Pleasant conditions for a mornings ringing. Fledging birds are now appearing as well as a few late migrants. Only eight birds were new but this included another Lesser Whitethroat.

May 24th

A couple of interesting recoveries were circulated today. The first is a Reed Warbler, ringed here as a juvenile on 18/8/15 and re-trapped at Paxton Pits, Cambridgeshire, on the 12th of May this year. So it has been to Africa and back four times so far.

The second is a Blackcap ringed here as a young bird on 4/9/17 (the start of peak Blackcap passage) and re-trapped at Bridge Farm, Devon, which is 346km SW of here.

May 22nd

It would seem that rearing chicks this spring is even more of a lottery than usual. Blue Tits are clearly struggling with mostly small broods of small chicks. Most Great Tits are doing better and early House Sparrows put on a growth spurt in the last few days.

Those who look at the moth pages as well will know that moth numbers have been very low, due to the cold nights, and this may be reflected in the struggle Blue Tits are having.

May 17th

Nine new birds this morning and one of them was a bit unusual…

Hybrid SwallowxHouse Martin. 17/5/19.I Hunter
Hybrid Swallow x House Martin. 17/5/19.I Hunter
Hyrbrid Swallow x House Martin. 17/5/19. I Hunter
Hybrid Swallow x House Martin. 17/5/19. I Hunter

May 15th

Continued monitoring of the nest boxes is producing a very mixed picture. Plenty of boxes are being used but brood size is down for tits. Great Tits seem to be a bit ahead of Blue Tits in their developmental stage. Apart from one or two tit nests where the chicks are which are now well developed most will not be at a stage big enough for ringing for another 10 days or so.

May 12th

The easterly had a rest first thing and it was a relatively productive morning with singles of Lesser Whitethroat (another species which seems to be around in good numbers), Whitethroat, Blackcap and Chiffchaff. The highlight was a French ringed Goldfinch.

The first fledglings of the year showed up, two Robins and a Blackbird. A check of the local House Martin colony showed another slow start with no eggs laid yet, although one or two nests were fully lined.

French ringed Goldfinch. 12/5/19. Sue Smith
French ringed Goldfinch. 12/5/19. Sue Smith

May 10th

Two more Whitethroats were ringed this morning. There appears to be very good numbers of these on territory.

May 9th

Whilst I was away enjoying sunny Spain the cold winds have not helped ringing here. So far this month eight birds have been ringed, two more Willow warblers did not make much difference to a terrible spring for them.

However local breeding birds seem to be very active and 18 Starling pulli have been ringed so far. The lack of migrants has meant some time has been spent on nest location and a brood of four Meadow Pipits is the first to be ringed for almost 30 years.