News from Chew Valley Ringing Station

April 2017

It was a month of change, as expected. Residents were adopting a low profile in their breeding territories as the migrants started to arrive. Interestingly 27 Reed Warblers arrived and most of them were retraps indicating that they were local breeders which obviously had good survival over the winter. Only two of the 19 Sedge Warblers were retraps, as expected, as we do not have many breeding in our catching area. 218 birds of 26 species were caught of which 87 were new and 131 were retraps. As usual, in the list below, the new birds are followed by the retraps in ( ).

Mallard 1, Coot (1), Goldcrest 1 (5), Blue Tit 1 (8), Great Tit 1 (7), Cetti's Warbler 2 (13), Long-tailed Tit 3 (8), Chiffchaff 14 (16), Willow Warbler 5, Blackcap 5 (1), Garden Warbler 1 (3), Lesser Whitethroat 1, Whitethroat 1. Sedge Warbler 17 (2), Reed Warbler 7 (20), Treecreeper 1 (3). Wren 6 (13), Blackbird 9 (12), Song Thrush 2 (1), Robin 1 (3), Redstart 1, Dunnock 1 (6), Chaffinch 1, Goldfinch (1), Bullfinch1 (1).

Robin Prytherch 01.05.17

March 2017

A fairly quiet month with a couple of days of scrub clearance reducing the number of ringing days - vital work to prepare the net lanes for the breeding season. The total of birds handled was 176, made up of 74 newly ringed birds (19 species) and 102 retraps (17 sp.). The highlite was a single Siskin in the garden nets. In the list below new birds a listed first with retraps second, in 'brackets' ( ).

Mute Swan 3, Canada Goose (1), Mallard 1 (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Goldcrest 2, Blue Tit 8 (22), Great Tit 4 (24), Coal Tit 1, Cetti's Warbler 1 (3), Long-tailed Tit 6 (14), Chiffchaff 13 (3), Wren 4 (4), Blackbird 3 (2), Song Thrush 1 (1), Robin 1 (5), Dunnock 1 (11), Chaffinch 4 (3), Goldfinch 10 (4), Siskin 1, Bullfinch 1, Reed Bunting 9 (2).

STOP PRESS. Reed Warbler trapped on 1st April, Others heard on 2nd. Very early dates.

Robin Prytherch 02.04.17.

Febuary 2017

A relatively quiet month, but lots of Blue and Great Tits - 111 birds out of a total of 239 for all species (47new birds and 192 retraps).Goldfinches responded well at the dogwood feeding station. In the list below the number of new birds is followed by the number of retraps in ( ).

Mute Swan 7 (10), Canada Goose (2), Teal 2, Mallard 1 (3), Sparrowhawk (2), Moorhen 1 (12), Great Spotted Woodpecker (3), Goldcrest (4), Blue Tit 6 (62), Great Tit 5 (38), Coal Tit 2 (2), Long-tailed Tit 14 (16), Chiffchaff 1, Treecreeper (1), Wren (1), Robin (5), Dunnock 1 (21), House Sparrow 2 (1), Chaffinch 1 (2), Goldfinch 31 (6), Bullfinch(1).

Robin Prytherch 04.03.17.

January 2017

The mainly fine (if cold) weather during the month meant that we had some good catches, thanks to the feeding stations(!). There were 192 handlings of 25 species. 55 were new (19 sp.) and 137 were retraps (18 sp.). Blue Tit (8) and Goldfinch (7) lead the new birds with Long-tailed Tit (40) and Robin (31) heading the retraps. As usual, new birds are entered first, with retraps following, in brackets.

Mute Swan (1), Teal 3 (1), Mallard 5, Moorhen 4 (13), Sparrowhawk 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Goldcrest (2), Blue Tit 8 (14), Great Tit 4 (4), Coal Tit 1 (3), Long-tailed Tit 1 (40), Treecreeper (1), Wren (2), Starling 1, Blackbird 4 (3), Fieldfare (1), Song Thrush 1, Redwing 1, Robin 2 (31), Dunnock 4 (5), House Sparrow 2, Chaffinch 2 (9), Goldfinch 7 (1), Bullfinch 2, Reed Bunting 2 (5).

Robin Prytherch 31.1.17

December 2016 news plus year-end totals

A very busy month with 309 birds handled including 121 new birds, 187 retraps plus one 'control' (a bird ringed elsewhere and retrapped by us). Nearly half of the birds were Blue Tits and Great Tits - no surprise there! In the list below retraps are shown in ().

Teal 6, Mallard 1, Water Rail 1 (1), Moorhen 2 (1), Barn Owl 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 (4), Wren 1 (5), Dunnock 6 (12), Robin 2 (13), Blackbird 3 (3), Redwing 2, Cetti's Warbler (3), Chiffchaff 9 (1), Goldcrest 10 (9), Long-tailed Tit 5 (13), Coal Tit 2 (5), Blue Tit 26 (73), Great Tit 9 (40), Nuthatch (1), Treecreeper 1, Starling 1, House Sparrow 6, Chaffinch 10 (5), Greenfinch 2, Goldfinch 10 (3), Bullfinch 1, Reed Bunting 2.

Year Totals
4,106 ringed
2,282 retrapped
15 controlled
Giving a total of 6,403.

This is an averagely good result and compares well with the last few years.

Happy New Year.

Robin Prytherch 08.01.2017

November 2016

A moderately busy month, but one weekend was a wash-out which would have dented the numbers. 288 birds of 22 species were handled. 138 were new, with Blue Tit, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff and Goldfinch into double figures. Four Black-headed Gull was an unusual capture as was a Carrion Crow, all in drop traps. 150 retraps were headed by, not surprisingly, Blue and Great Tit. The full list follows, with retraps in ().

Teal 4 (1), Water Rail 4 (5), Moorhen 5 (4), Black-headed Gull 4, Carrion Crow 1, Goldcrest 21 (6), Blue Tit 31 (69), Great Tit 4 (18), Coal Tit 2 (5), Cetti's Warbler 1 (7), Chiffchaff 17 (1), Long-tailed Tit 6 (2), Treecreeper 1 (1), Wren 4 (8), Blackbird 7 (1), Redwing 2, Robin 1 (9), Dunnock 4 (8), Greenfinch 1, Goldfinch 14 (2), Bullfinch 3 (1), Reed Bunting 1 (2).

Robin Prytherch 27.11.16

October 2016

A good month with 486 bird handlings, 264 new and 222 retraps, of 30 species. The undoubted highlight was a Yellow-browed Warbler, just one of many dozens seen throughout the country. It was first trapped on the 8th - weight 5.6gms and then retrapped 8 days later when it weighed in at 7.2gms - an excellent increase of 1.6gms or just over 30%, so it was refueling steadily for its onward journey, but where to? The normal wintering area is South-east Asia, so if these birds are to survive the winter in Europe/Africa there must be a wintering area as yet unknown. Perhaps they join the equally diminutive Goldcrests, or Chiffchaffs in dense cover somewhere. Goldcrests were one of our commonest birds this month (55 birds handled) but, not surprisingly, Blue Tit headed the numbers game this month with 90: 35 new (+55 retraps). All species are listed below, retraps in ().

Teal 12, Water Rail 4 (6), Moorhen 3, Black-headed Gull (1), Stock Dove 5, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (1), Goldcrest 50 (5), Blue Tit 35 (55), Great Tit 8 (27), Coal Tit 2, Cetti's Warbler 14 (10), Long-tailed Tit 22 (27), Yellow-browed Warbler 1 (1), Chiffchaff 38 (4), Blackcap 9, Sedge Warbler 1 (2), Reed Warbler 2, Nuthatch 1, Treecreeper (3), Wren 13 (24), Blackbird 2, Song Thrush 3 (1), Robin 8 (38), Dunnock 5 (15), Pied Wagtail 1, Chaffinch 1, Goldfinch 1, Redpoll 1, Bullfinch 6 (1), Reed Bunting 15 (1).

Robin Prytherch 06.11.16

September 2016

A fairly quiet month with just 298 birds handled - 226 new and (72) retrapped. And guess what the commonest bird was -- it was Chiffchaff, with 70 new and (16) retrapped. Otherwise we saw (almost) the last of the other warblers. So here is the list of 23 species with new birds followed by retraps, if any, in ().

Teal 1, Mallard 1, Water Rail 1, Herring Gull 1, Wood Pigeon 2, Barn Owl 5, Goldcrest 8 (1), Blue Tit 18 (13), Great Tit 3 (3), Cetti's Warbler 6 (2), Long-tailed Tit 10 (7), Chiffchaff 70 (16), Blackcap 4, Sedge Warbler 34 (4), Reed Warbler 46 (4), Treecreeper 2 (1), Wren 2 (5), Blackbird 1, Robin 3 (11), Dunnock 2 (5), Chaffinch 2, Goldfinch 2, Reed Bunting 2.

Robin Prytherch 22.10.16

August 2016

Another busy month at the ringing station with just under 900 birds of 28 species handled (although this figure does not include some pullus ringing which has yet to enter the system). Just over 700 of these were new birds (the other c. 200 being retraps). No corking rare birds but a lot of 'bread-and-butter', although the pullus Stock Doves were special (and there are more on the way!). Not surprisingly, Reed Warblers lead the table with Blue Tit, Swallows and Chifchaff following.

Water Rail 1 (1), Stock Dove 11, Wood Pigeon 2, Kingfisher 3 (3), Jackdaw 7, Goldcrest 8, Blue Tit 93 (19), Great Tit 35 (2), Sand Martin 14, Swallow 83, Cetti's Warbler 3 (5), Long-tailed Tit 6 (17), Chiffchaff 52 (10), Willow Warbler 18 (3), Blackcap 25 (7), Garden Warbler 3 (1), Lesser Whitethroat 6, Sedge Warbler 41, (1), Reed Warbler 221 (83), Nuthatch 5, Treecreeper 10 (2), Wren 22 (11), Blackbird 7 (7), Robin 16 (6), Dunnock 4 (15), Goldfinch 2, Bullfinch 3 (4), Reed Bunting 2.

Robin Prytherch 05.09.16

July 2016

A really busy month including a successful Canada Goose round up, yet more pullus and culminating in our annual Ringing Course which was a great success, with a mass of Reed Warblers and a successfull Swallow roost (spread over three evenings). 1642 birds were handled, 1235 new (plus 407 retrapped) spread over 34 species. All figures below subject to checking.

Mute Swan 1, Grey Lag Goose 1, Canada Goose 153 (46), Mallard 4, Water Rail 4, Kingfisher 3, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Jackdaw 1, Goldcrest 3, Blue Tit 22 (30), Great Tit 8 (6), Sand Martin 5, Swallow 256 (3), Cetti's Warbler 7 (4), Long-tailed Tit 8 (5), Chiffchaff 33 (3), Willow Warbler 2, Blackcap 46 (10), Garden Warbler 2 (3), Lesser Whitethroat 3, Whitethroat 6, Sedge Warbler 50 (3), Reed Warbler 526 (251), Nuthatch (1), Treecreeper 5, Wren 24 (9), Blackbird 5 (1), Song Thrush 5 (4), Robin 14 (7), Dunnock 8 (16), Chaffinch 2 (3), Goldfinch 6, Bullfinch 5, Reed Bunting 5.

Robin Prytherch 11.08.16

June 2016

A busy month with around 679 birds handled, and apologies for the late appearance of this news. This figure is not accurate because there will be details of some pullus with are yet to be entered into the files. This is the month for pullus with around 250 ringed (mainly Blue Tit, Chiffchaff and Reed Warbler). In the list below I give scores for all the species ringed (and retrapped), including a rare Marsh Tit.

Goldcrest 1 (1), Blue Tit 97 (8), Great Tit 6 (2), Coal Tit 1, Marsh Tit 1, Swallow 20, Cetti's Warbler 3 (15), Long-tailed Tit 23 (3), Chiffchaff 42 (2), Blackcap 37 (5), Garden Warbler 10 (9), Lesser Whitethroat 1 (1), Whitethroat 4, Sedge Warbler 6 (12), Reed Warbler 149 (107), Treecreeper 2, Wren 3 (7), Blackbird 9 (1), Song Thrush 6 (3), Robin 20 (8), Dunnock 22 (13), Goldfinch 3 (2), Reed Bunting 10 (4).

Robin Prytherch 17.07.16

May 2016

The first full month of summer is over and all the warblers and other migrants are in. We've been hearing Cuckoos all month, which is great, but none in the nets! A total of 683 birds of 23 species were handled. 440 of these were new birds (21 species) and 242 were retraps (18 sp.). These figures include the first batch of pullus ringing. All species are listed below, new followed by retraps in ().

Canada Goose (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Goldcrest 1, Blue Tit 88 (7), Great Tit 100 (2), Coal Tit 9, Swallow 4, Cetti's Warbler (28), Long-tailed Tit 8 (6), Chiffchaff 4 (6), Blackcap 20 (10), Garden Warbler 9 (3), Lesser Whitethroat 3, Sedge Warbler 30 (10), Reed Warbler 102 (111), Wren 3 (13), Blackbird 6 (3), Song Thrush 9 (3), Robin 15 (9), Dunnock 17 (17), Chaffinch 2, Bullfinch 1 (2), Reed Bunting 8 (10).

Robin Prytherch 6.6.16

April 2016

We were dogged by highish winds and low tempratures but most migrants seem to be trickling through. 186 birds (of 23 species) were handled, 97 new and 89 retraps. At last we handled more new birds than retraps - as expected for this month. Most of the new birds were warblers with one particular excitement in the form of a rather grey Willow Warbler. We suspect that it is from a more easterly part of their range perhas even from close to the range of the race acredula which breeds north to Scandinavia. We shall see - tests in progress. All species are listed below with the number ringed and retrapped (in parenthesis).

Mute Swan 4 (1), Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Jay 1, Blue Tit 2 (19), Great Tit 3 (13), Coal Tit (2), Cetti's Warbler 2 (10), Long-tailed Tit 1 (7), Chiffchaff 18 (1), Willow Warbler 19 (1), Blackcap 23 (2), Lesser Whitethroat 2, Sedge Warbler 7, Reed Warbler 1 (1), Nuthatch (1), Wren 1 (13), Blackbird 2, Song Thrush 2, Dunnock 4 (14), Chaffinch 2 (2), Greenfinch 1, Bullfinch 1 (1), Reed Bunting 1.

Robin Prytherch 01.05.16

March 2016

A very 'steady as you go' sort of month but with some interesting species. 282 birds (76 new, 206 retraps) of 25 species were handled. 112 were Blue/Great Tits!. The specials included 10 Meadow Pipits and one Sand Martin. Baited traps of various sorts attracted not just tits but also quite a few Chaffinches and Reed Buntings. The full list with New birds plus Retraps (in parentheses) follows:

Mute Swan 6, Mallard 2, Coot 3, Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Goldcrest 1 (4), Blue Tit 6 (71), Great Tit 5 (30), Coal Tit (1), Sand Martin 1, Cetti's Warbler (5), Long-tailed Tit 1 (15), Chiffchaff 5, Nuthatch (2), Treecreeper 1, Wren 3 (9), Blackbird 1 (2), Song Thrush (2), Robin (6), Dunnock 3 (17), Meadow Pipit 10, Chaffinch 14 (20), Greenfinch 3, Goldfinch 2, Bullfinch (1), Reed Bunting 11 (19).

February 2016

It was a fairly quiet month at the Ringing Station, partly due to rain on some days but also because a couple of days were given over to habitat management. It is important to make sure that the net lanes are clear and that excessive growth of the willows is cut back, especially in the CES (Constant Effort Sites) areas. So, this meant that just 137 birds of 19 species were handled, 39 new (and 98 retraps), as follows:

Mute Swan 4 (2), Canada Goose (2), Mallard (1), Water Rail 2, Coot (1), Goldcrest (1), Blue Tit 8 (38), Great Tit 3 (11), Coal Tit (2), Long-tailed Tit 2 (15), Chiffchaff 1, Wren 5 (6), Blackbird 1 (3), Song Thrush (1), Robin 2 (3), Dunnock 7 (5), Chaffinch 2 (6), Goldfinch 1, Reed Bunting 1 (1).

Robin Prytherch 29.02.16

January 2016


It was a very reasonable month at the Ringing Station with 252 birds of 28 species handled. The bulk of these were, not surprisingly, retraps totalling 183 (mostly Blue and Great Tits). 69 new birds included a Green Woodpecker, quite a rarity at Chew. Other goodies included Tufted Duck, Siskin, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, Redwing, Fieldfare and Jay. The full list follows (retraps in brackets):

Mute Swan (1), Canada Goose (1), Mallard 2 (6), Tufted Duck 1, Moohen 1, Green Woodpecker 1, Jay 1 (1), Goldcrest 3 (4), Blue Tit 9 (53), Great Tit 5 (35), Coal Tit 3 (3), Cetti's Warbler (5), Long-tailed Tit 3 (8), Chiffchaff 3 (3), Treecreeper (2), Wren 4 (7), Blackbird 6 (5), Fieldfare 1 (1), Song Thrush 1, Redwing 2, Robin 2 (11), Dunnock 4 (14), Chaffinch 9 (10), Greenfinch 3 (3), Goldfinch 1, Siskin 1, Bullfinch 2 (1), Reed Bunting 1 (9).

Robin Prytherch, 03.02.16.

December 2015 News & Totals for 2015


Well, we all know how wet and windy December was but even so some ringing was achieved with a total 172 birds handled (54 New and 118 Retraps) of 27 species. Over a third of those handled were Blue and Great Tits (65 in all) which is what we expect at this time since it is the nut feeders which attract them to the nets. So, here I list those species caught (retraps in brackets).

Mut Swan 1 (2), Teal 8 (1), Mallard 7 (1), Water Rail (14), Moorhen 7 (14), Wren (1), Dunnock1 (2), Robin 1 (4), Blackbird (2), Song Thrush 1 (1), Redwing 1, Cetti's Warbler 1 (1), Goldcrest 4, Long-tailed Tit (14), Coal Tit 1 (2), Blue Tit 8 (40), Great Tit 3 (14), Nutjhatch (3), Treecreeper (1), Jay 2, Magpie 1, Jackdaw (1), Chaffinch 3 (3), Greenfinch 2 (6), Goldfinch 1, Bullfinch (1), Reed Bunting 1 (2).

Totals for 2015

These figures are provisional and will be finalised shortly. The confirmed totals will appear in our next Annual Report (due to be published later this year, 2016). Look out for it!

Total ringed was 4603. Total re-trapped was 3028. Total birds handled was 7631. The highlights were 30 Teal, 52 Cetti's Warbler, 110 Goldcrest, 1 Firecrest and 3 Bearded Tits.

Robin Prytherch 02.01.2016

November 2015

Not much to report this month (and apologies for the late posting of this news) with only 230 or so birds (of 27 species) handled (102 new birds, 129 retraps) - provisional figures. Nearly a half of these were tits so no big totals for any of the other 24 species The only other species in double figures was Teal (yes!) with 12 new ringed. Other highlights included a Redwing and 3 Fieldfare, 3 Redpoll and a Grey Wagtail. No full species list this month but in the new year I hope to give a provisional list for December and the whole year.

Best wishes for the Festive season!

Robin Prytherch, 19.12.15

October 2015

The first real autumn month saw an increase in finches and retrapped tits, the first Rewings, plus some nice surprises like Bearded Tit and Firecrest as well as an increase in trapped Cetti's Warbler and Greenfinch. A total of 566 birds were trapped comprising 261 new birds and 305 retrapped - more retrapped than new marks the usual trend btween autumn and spring. 32 species were handled in the list which follows (retraps in brackets): Teal 10, Mallard 3, Water Rail 3 (6), Moorhen 7 (11), Great Spotted Woodpecker 3, Wren 25 (12), Dunnock 6 (12), Robin 6 (17), Blackbird 3, Song Thrush 3 (1), Redwing 2, Cetti's Warbler 11 (6), Sedge Warbler 1, Reed Warbler 1, Blackcap 2, Chiffchaff 14 (1), Goldcrest 24 (10), Firecrest 1, Bearded Tit 3, Long-tailed Tit 5 (14), Coal Tit 3 (8), Blue Tit 34 (103), Great Tit 18 (54), Nuthatch 2 (2), Treecreeper (8), Chaffinch 12 (7), Greenfinch 51 (31), Goldfinch 1, Redpoll 4, Bullfinch 2 (2), Reed Bunting1.

Robin Prytherch 02.11.2015

September 2015

Another busy month with 669 birds of 34 species handled, with large numbers of summer warblers feeding up before departure south, including big numbers of Chiffchaff and Reed Warblers. The lone Grasshoper Warbler was a pleasant surprise. The last Swallow and Sand Martin were netted. A total of 498 new birds were caught plus 171 retraps (shown in brackets below).

Mallard 2, Moorhen 7 (1), Common Sandpiper 2, Black-headed Gull 1, Stock Dove 2, Wood Pigeon 2, Sand Martin 1, Swallow 1, Pied Wagtail 2, Wren 18 (12), Dunnock 3 (3), Robin 8 (18), Song Thrush 1, Blackbird (1), Cetti's Warbler 4 (15), Grasshopper Warbler 1, Sedge Warbler 41 (1), Reed Warbler 94 (15), Lesser Whitethroat 2, Blackcap 47 (2), Chiffchaff 122 (8), Willow Warbler 3, Goldcrest 43 (7), Long-tailed Tit 8 (5), Coal Tit 3, Blue Tit 43 (51), Great Tit 7 (15), Treecreeper 3 (2), Jay (2), Chaffinch 8 (4), Greenfinch 14 (6), Bullfinch 4 (3), Reed Bunting 1.

August 2015

The first two days of the month were included in last months news (because of the Ringing Course) so this report runs from 3rd to 31st August. It was quite a busy month and included the final CES visits - all completed successfully for this year. In all 554 birds (of 29 species) were handled in the period - 361 new and 193 retraps Reed Warblers topped the bill with 170 new (102 retraps). There were good numbers too for Sedge Warbler (45 plus one retrap) and Chiffchaff (37 new, 8 retraps). Greenfinch, however, slumped again. All species handled are listed below - new birds (plus retraps).

Canada Goose (1, ring read in the field), Tufted Duck 4, Water Rail 1 (4), Kingfisher 3, Wood Pigeon 1, Wren 22 (9), Dunnock 5 (7), Robin 8 (9), Blackbird 1, Song Thrush (1), Cetti's Warbler 2 (5), Sedge Warbler 45 (1), Reed Warbler 170 (102), Lesser Whitethroat 1 (1), Whitethroat 2, Garden Warbler 5 (1), Blackcap 26 (4), Chiffchaff 37 (8), Willow Warbler 6, Goldcrest (1), Long-tailed Tit 4 (15), Coal Tit 1, Blue Tit 13 (17), Great Tit (4), Treecreeper 1 (1), Chaffinch 1, Greenfinch 1, Bullfinch 5 (2), Reed Bunting 1.

Robin Prytherch, 07.09.15

July 2015

This month I've included the first two days of August to include the Ringing Course which ran from 30th July to 2nd August (see elswhere for a full report on the course). The Cuckoo reported last month has fledged successfully! Other novelties included a Carrion Crow and a Woodpigeon, but just one Kingfisher. Most outstanding was the 100s of Reed Warblers with 1108 being handled out of a total of 2072 birds. In the list below I show the totals of each of the 34 species of ringed birds, followed by the retraps in ( ). I show the proportion handled on the ringing course in [ ]. All these numbers are provisional and will include some pullus.

Mallard 2 (2) [2 (2)], Water Rail 5 (2) [5 (2)], Stock Dove 1, Woodpigeon 1 [1], Cuckoo 1, Kingfisher 1 [1], Sand Martin 13 [1], Swallow 90 (2) [33], Pied Wagtail 2, Wren 50 (18) [5 (7)], Dunnock 115 (11) [6 (5)], Robin 26 (20) [3 (3)], Blackbird 7 (1) [3], Song Thrush 7 (3) [3], Cetti's Warbler 20 (8) [1 (2)], Sedge Warbler 52 (5) [30 (3)], Reed Warbler 758 (350) [157 (118)], Lesser Whitethroat 13 (2) [2], Whitethroat 9 [1], Garden Warbler 13 (6) [2 (1)], Blackcap 100 (19) [8 (2)], Chiffchaff 46 (5) [4 (2)], Willow Warbler 7 (1) [2], Goldcrest 4 [1], Long-tailed Tit 5 [7], Blue Tit 45 (87) [15 (71)], Great Tit 18 (25) [3 (17)], Treecreeper 8 (1) [2 (1)], Carrion Crow 1, Chaffinch 13 (3) [6 (3)], Greenfinch 29 (7) [17 (7)], Goldfinch 2, Bullfinch 7 (1) [(1)], Reed Bunting 13.

Robin Prytherch 04.08.15

June 2015

It was a very busy month with many birds fledging and finding the nets. Many pullus (nestling ringed in nests and last but not least, 134 Canada Geese in the round-up (plus another 20 or so released without ringing as we had caught more than the rings we had!) Amongst the 134 were 29 retraps including one ringed at Chew in 2006. Overall 1028 birds were handled during the month, 763 new birds plus 265 retraps, of 26 species. A very good mix as you'll read below. For each species the number ringed is shown them the retraps in ( ). Many of these figures include pullus.

Canada Goose 105 (29), Stock Dove 2, Barn Owl 7, Tawny Owl 2, Swallow 9, Wren 9 (6), Dunnock 14 (5), Robin 36 (9), Blackbird 8 (10), Song Thrush 5 (6), Cetti's Warbler 8 (13), Sedge Warbler 4, Reed Warbler 192 (119), Lesser Whitethroat 2, Garden Warbler 3 (2), Blackcap 76 (11), Chiffchaff 39 (9), Goldcrest 3 (2), Long-tailed Tit 24 (12), Coal Tit 2, Blue Tit 119 (15), Great Tit 61 (7), Treecreeper 15, Jay 1, Chaffinch 3 (2), Reed Bunting 14 (8).

AND I'll just mention that we have a Cuckoo chick in a Reed Warblers nest. Will it survive to be ringed? Watch out for news next month.

Robin Prytherch, 04 07 2015.

May 2015

What a difference a month can make. We have nearly doubled our year total, thanks to over 400 pullus (nestlings), mostly in our nestboxes. The big highlight of the month was the ringing of a Cuckoo (caught with the help of playback and under licence), not forgetting a lovely 1st year male Sparrowhawk. In all, 959 birds were handled (including the pullus) and nearly 300 retraps. The 23 species are listed below, retraps in ( ).

Sparrowhawk 1, Cuckoo 1, Wren 1 (11), Dunnock 11, Robin 21 (including 17 pull.), Blackbird 5 (8), Song Thrush 4 (12), Cetti's Warbler 1 (13), Sedge Warbler 24 (7), Reed Warbler 95 (109), Lesser Whitethroat 3, Whitethroat 2, Garden Warbler 6 (15), Blackcap 9 (6), Chiffchaff 7 (15), Goldcrest 1 (1), Long-tailed Tit 66 (42) - many fresh broods roaming our area, Blue Tit 194 all pull. (13), Great Tit 200 all pull. (8), Chaffinch 2 (2), Goldfinch 7 (2), Bullfinch (1), Reed Bunting 6 (16).

April 2015

Apologies for the late appearance of this news. It was a pretty average April, slightly affected by the sudden change from warm spring weather followed to colder and windy conditions and rain! The best bird of the month was a Redstart but it was good to see and hear returning Reed and Sedge Warblers and other warblers. In all, just over 280 birds were ringed, with 116 new and 283 retrapped, in ( ) below. A lot of effort was put into preparing the Constant Effort Sites - due to start in May.

Wren 6 (15), Dunnock 1 (18), Robin 1 (6), Redstart 1, Blackbird 2 (6), Song Thrush 3 (5), Cetti's Warbler 2 (12), Sedge Warbler 21 (2), Reed Warbler 7 (8), Whitethroat 1, Garden Warbler 1, Blackcap 24 (7), Chiffchaff 17 (18), Willow Warbler 12, Goldcrest (2), Long-tailed Tit (9), Blue Tit (19), Great Tit 2 (19), Treecreeper 1, Chaffinch 2 (6), Greenfinch 1, Goldfinch 2, Bullfinch (4), Reed Bunting 9 (11).

Robin Prytherch 10.05.2015

March 2015

A quiet month with no unexpected records. Over 250 birds were handled with twice as many retrapped as ringed. Hopefully this balance with change in favour of new birds during April. As usual I list the species with new birds first and retraps in ( ).

Canada Goose (1), Mallard 1, Tufted Duck (1), Sparrowhawk 1, Water Rail 1 (4), Meadow Pipit 7, Pied Wagtail 1, Wren 7 (11), Dunnock 6 (15), Robin 1 (13), Blackbird 1 (5), Song Thrush (2), Redwing 2, Cetti's Warbler (10), Chiffchaff 10 (9), Goldcrest 1 (5), Long-tailed Tit 2 (6), Blue Tit 4 (28), Great Tit 5 (27), Treecreeper 1, Chaffinch 14 (14), Bullfinch (1), Reed Bunting 11 (22). Robin Prytherch 04.04.2015

February 2015

Humble apologies for the delay in posting this edition. It was a pretty quiet month, although 378 birds were handled of 26 species. Two Chiffchaffs were rather grey and might have been from the Siberian race but not certain. In the list below I show number ringed (with retraps).

Mute Swan (7), Mallard (1), Tufted Duck (1), Coot (1), Water Rail (1), Barn Owl 1, Meadow Pipit 6, Wren 2 (14), Robin 1 (17), Dunnock 3 (20), Blackbird 4 (6), Song Thrush 1 (1), Redwing 5, Cetti's Warbler 1 (9), Chiffcaff 8 (3), Goldcrest 11 (4), Long-tailed Tit 12 (22), Blue Tit 13 (78), Great Tit 12 (29), Treecreeper 3 (1), Chaffinch 16 (17), Goldfinch 4, Bullfinch (1), House Sparrow 1, Reed Bunting 11 (50), and, I almost forgot, one retrap Jay (it raids the Heligoland bait!!)

Robin Prytherch, 15th March 2015

January 2015

Usually a fairly quiet month, this January proved to be an exception. The amazing record of a Reed Warbler on the 30th (netted in area A, which we rarely visit in the winter) during an attempt to catch a 'siberian' race Chiffchaff was the big surprise. Eleven Chiffchaff and 10 Goldcrests was good. See the photos of the Reed Warbler in the gallery. Here is the list of all records, 88 new birds and 199 retraps, with the latter shown in parentheses. 24 species.

Mute Swan (1)
Tufted Duck 1
Moorhen 1 (3)
Coot 4
Great Spotted Woodpecker (3)
Goldcrest 10 (4)
Blue Tit 11 (66)
Great Tit 6 (26)
Coal Tit (3)
Long-tailed Tit 1 (17)
Chiffchaff 11 (7)
Cetti's Warbler 1 (1)
Reed Warbler 1
Treecreeper (2)
Wren (4)
Blackbird 5 (5)
Redwing 5
Song Thrush 1 (2)
Robin (17)
Dunnock 2 (16)
Chaffinch 16 (10), Goldfinch 1
Bullfinch 4 (6)
Reed Bunting 7 (6).

Robin Prytherch, 01.02.15.

CVRS News for December 2014...and for the Year

Provisional figures for 2014 show that we handled around 7257 birds, with 4874 new ringed birds and 2373 retraps. I'll confirm this next month when the totals have been thoroughly checked. December remained fairly busy but, predictably, we had many more retraps than new birds - 43 new and 180 retraps! You'll see below that about half of the retraps were Blue and Great Tits. The biggest surprise new bird was a Kingfisher. A couple of days were lost due to our need to put in a couple of work days when a deal of constructive (or should I say, destructive) conservation work was applied to the various habitats. In the list that follows new birds are followed by retraps in ().

Teal 1, Moorhen 5 (14), Coot 3, Kingfisher 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker (1), Jay (2), Goldcrest 2 (7), Blue Tit 5 (67), Great Tit 3 (24), Coal Tit (4), Long-tailed Tit 2 (12), Cetti's Warbler (5), Chiffchaff 7, Treecreeper (2), Wren 2 (9), Blackbird 5 (3), Song Thrush 1, Robin (8), Dunnock (9), Chaffinch (3), Greenfinch 4 (7), Reed Bunting 3 (3).

Robin Prytherch, Dec. 2014

November 2014

Over 500 birds were handled during the month with good birds at the start and end. I mentioned the Firecrest as a stop press to October and at the end of this month we took a Lesser Whitethroat out of the Heligoland trap. Yes, a Lesser W in November. I expect there is a photo here somewhere. There was a lot of discussion and biometrics were taken. It is probably of eastern origin and seems to have features of our local race curruca and blythi or another eastern form. With luck DNA may reveal the truth. Tape luring must have helped with the relatively high numbers of Golcrest and Chiffchaff, one of the latter looking like a siberian race. The high numbers of Blue and Great Tits as well as Greenfinch are more normal. The complete list for the month follows, 191 new and 315 (retraps):

Mallard 1
Sparrowhawk 1
Water Rail 3 (5)
Moorhen 3 (10)
Coot 1
Meadow Pipit 4
Wren 6 (10)
Dunnock 3 (12)
Robin 3 (14)
Blackbird 5 (3)
Song Thrush 5
Redwing 2
Cetti's Warbler 2 (9)
Lesser Whitethroat 1
Chiffchaff 30 (14)
Goldcrest 15 (7)
Firecrest 1
Long-tailed Tit 6 (36)
Coal Tit (6)
Blue Tit 27 (116)
Great Tit 12 (32)
Treecreeper (3)
Chaffinch 11 (5)
Greenfinch 36 (31)
Goldfinch 4
Bullfinch 3 (1)
Reed Bunting 6 (1)

Robin Prytherch 02/12/14.

October 2014

Another excellent month during which we handled 322 birds (153 new, 169 retraps). The star of the month was a Yellow-browed Warbler: a brilliant bird to see in the hand! A first for the ringing station was an Egyptian Goose, otherwise mostly more of the same including the last of the Sedge and Reed Warblers with wintering species yet to make their mark. I list them all below with the number a new birds followed by (retaps).

Egyptian Goose 1
Mallard 5 (3)
Water Rail 2 (4)
Moorhen 9 (14), Coot 3
Kingfisher (1), Wren 11 (10), Dunnock 4 (6)
Robin 4 (9)
Blackbird (1)
Song Thrush 3
Cetti's Warbler 3 (4)
Sedge Warbler 1, Reed Warbler 3
Blackcap 5
Chiffchaff 16
Yellow-browed Warbler 1, Goldcrest 10 (2)
Long-tailed Tit 3 (19)
Coal Tit 1 (5)
Blue Tit 20 (41)
Great Tit 8 (25)
Treecreeper (3)
Jay (1)
Chaffinch 2 (1)
Greenfinch 38 (20).

Finally - a Stop Press... Sat 1st Nov a Firecrest!!

Robin Prytherch (1st Oct 2014)

September 2014

Another busy month with over 900 birds handled of 30 species. The star bird was, of course, the Spotted Crake trapped by Mark Dadds, and he also trapped a Green Sandpiper, which was pretty special. Plenty of warblers going through, especially Chiffchaffs and Reed Warblers, but fewer Sedge Warblers. The arrival of four new Cetti's Warbers over the last weekend suggested that they were new arrivals. Blackcaps were high on the list as were Greenfinches with 60 new birds trapped, mostly in the Heligoland trap. In summary, there were 665 new birds of 28 species and 246 retraps of 22 species. All the numbers are provisional (to be confirmed once all computer entries completed and checked!). Here is the list: retraps are given in parentheses. Some birds were ringed earlier as pullus but only accounted for this month (ie. Swallows).

Mallard 7
Teal 1 (1)
Water Rail 6 (3)
Spotted Crake (1)
Moorhen 13 (8)
Green Sandpiper 1
Great Spotted Woodpecker 1 (1)
Swallow 26
Wren 11 (20)
Dunnock 9 (14)
Robin 20 (15)
Song Thrush 1 (1)
Blackbird (3)
Blackcap 92 (7)
Whitethroat 2
Sedge Warbler 42 (4)
Reed Warbler 172 (26)
Cetti's Warbler 7 (10)
Willow Warbler 3
Chiffchaff 138 (24)
Goldcrest 9
Great Tit 12 (27)
Coal Tit 1
Blue Tit, 18 (49)
Long-tailed Tit 2 (6)
Treecreeper 1 (4)
Chaffinch 6 (1)
Greenfinch 60 (17)
Bullfinch (3)
Reed Bunting 3 (2).

Robin Prytherch (1st Oct 2014)

August 2014

Another busy month at the station. Prep for the Ringing Course included a hirundine roost catch of 78 birds (not to be repeated on the course sadly). The ringing course was a great success with good catches but not too many. The last day was rained off and instead we enjoyed some interesting talks. CES continued and ended with some good catches. Over the month just over 1000 birds were ringed with just under 500 retraps. Total for the year is now just under 3800 new birds. 30 species were ringed during the month. I list them below.

Sparrowhawk 1, Water Rail 8, Snipe 1, Kingfisher 3, Swallow 111, Sand Martin 11, House Martin 5, Pied Wagtail 1, Song Thrush 5, Blackbird 16, Robin 17, Blue Tit 33, Great Tit 13, Long-tailed Tit 14, Treecreeper 1, Wren 33, Dunnock 16, Chiffchaff 114, Willow Warbler 27, Blackcap 75, Garden Warbler 4, Reed Warbler 368, Sedge Warbler 132, Cetti's Warbler 2, Whitethroat 12, Lesser Whitethroat 3, Chaffinch 5, Greenfinch 39, Bullfinch 6, Reed Bunting 2

Note the high figures for many of the warblers and especially Greenfinch.

Robin Prytherch 01.09.14.

June 2014

It was a busy month with lots of nestlings (pullus) ringed and other young birds dispersing from their breeding locations, plus the Canada Goose round-up, with 90 birds driven into the corral.

This all means that our overall total (2593) is now just above last year's. Highlights below, with those marked* including pullus. These are all new birds (+ Retraps) .
Swallow14*
Tawny Owl2
Dunnock15 (4)
Robin23 (4)
Blackbird12 (7)
Blue Tit161* (11)
Great Tit96* (14)
Long-tailed Tit 17 (12)
Chiffchaff77 * (19)
Reed Warbler341* (103)
Sedge Warbler1 (4)
Cetti's Warbler9 (3)
Blackcap94 (8)
Garden Warbler16
Robin Prytherch, 30 June 2014

May 2014

Since the poor totals given last month it's good to report that the figure for the year has bumped up with birds processed now much more in line with last year. This comprised largely of pullus ringing (300+) - mostly Blue Tits and Great Tits in nest boxes, but a Tawny Owl was special. During the month 743 birds were processed and there are yet more pullus to be added.

The species list for the month was good too - 25 ringed and 15 retrapped, with a big overlap, of course. Among the highlights were Blackcap (17, 14 retraps), Sedge Warbler (16, 3r/t) Reed Warbler (63, incl some pullus, 53r/t), Garden Warbler (13, 12r/t) a Kingfisher (juv) and a Pied Wagtail.

Robin Prytherch 01/06/2014

April 2014

Numbers still rather low and about 50% down for the year so far compared to recent years. During April, 85 birds were handled including 42 new birds (14 sp.) and 43 retraps (also 14 sp.). Towards the end of the month it was a relief and joy to find summer migrants in the nets. These included 5 Blackcaps, 4 Sedge Warblers, 4 Reed Warblers and one each of Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroad and Redstart; the latter being a nice surprise. Eight Chiffchaffs were also netted although we've been catching them for several weeks now. No surprises amongst the retraps but it was good to get a Cetti's Warbler. The low catches are partly to do with the high water levels which persisted all month.

The CESs have started (as I write this) and we should start to get some decent catches as more migrants come in and young birds start to fledge.

Robin Prytherch

March 2014

A rather quiet month with just 69 ringed and 112 retraps. Highlights include 1 female Bearded Tit on 1st, a new female and a control female Cetti's Warbler. 1 control Reed Bunting, 6 Tufted Ducks bringing this year's total to 16. Controlled Grey-lag Goose and Mute Swan from rings read on Herriott's Bridge.

Mark Dadds has continued with the Water Rail project with 6 ringed and 12 retraps this year. He has just started on a survey using playback / responses to monitor breeding territories around the lake.

Febuary 2014

We would expect February to be quiet, and so it was! 146 birds (19 species) were handled, 55 New birds (14 sp.) and 91 Retraps (12 sp.).

The leaders were Reed Bunting (17N, 16 R) and Blue Tit (7N, 27R).

Two Mute Swan, 4 Mallard and 4 Moorhen were all new.

Moorhens (4N, 8R) and Water Rail (1N, 9R) and 4 Coot (all N) complete the non-passerine catch.

The passerines were Chiffchaff (1N), Goldcrest (1N), Robin (5R), Blackbird (2N), Great Tit (10R), Long-tailed Tit (4R), Treecreeper (2R), Dunnock (4N, 7R), House Sparrow (1N, 1R), Chaffinch (2N, 1R) and Goldfinch (2N).

1st March gave us a nice surprise in the form of a female Bearded Tit, last bird of the day!!

Robin Prytherch

January 2014

Apologies for a lack of news for the last three months of the year; this was because I was away during November and rather too busy. But with the New Year I hope to put that right. January was up to scratch, despite the torrents of rain. 185 birds were handled of which 74 were new with 111 retraps, 20 species were ringed and the notable to nine were (up to time of writing):
6Tufted Duck
2Moorhen
4Water Rail
3Goldcrest
2Chiffchaff (including song on 26th)
1Redwing
2Fieldfare
4Blackbird
1Siskin

Finally, we have recieved news of recoveries of a Cetti's Warbler and a Goldcrest:
Cetti's Warbler ringed 21/10/12, recovered 28/11/13 at Bentley Mere, Staffs 190km N
Goldcrest ringed 08/12/12, recovered 18/10/13 at Besford, Worcs 95km NNE

Both excellent records and, hopefully, a good surprise for the finders too.

Robin Prytherch, 28th January, 2014.

2013 Summary

We ended the year with totals of 3837 birds ringed, 2127 retraps which gives at total of birds handled to 5964. This is slightly less that the average for the last four years. This was achieved with almost exactly the same amount of effort when totals of operational days and Ringer days are compared, and despite the very poor weather earlier in the year.

September 2013

A moderately quiet month with 122 ringed birds and 86 retraps. The star of the month was undoubtedly the Green Sandpiper. Otherwise the numbers were quite small, with the best listed below.
Chiffchaff28
Sedge Warbler16
Reed Warbler27
Blackcap5
Whitethroat1
Lesr Whiteth1
Water Rail4

There will be no news for October because I am away. It'll be a joint news report with November.

Robin Prytherch 06/10/2013

August 2013

We handled 1236 birds during the month. 930 new and 306 retraps. The biggest contributor to this total was Swallows and the Ringing Course. The latter was very successful and included Swallow roost catches on both Friday and Saturday evenings, totalling 466 birds (plus the 391 in July, as reported last month). That still leaves a lot of birds to account for and I list the best of them below.
Water Rail 11 + 27 retraps (some multiple)
Chiffchaff43 (but only 5 Willow Warblers)
Cetti's Warbler5
Reed Warbler218 (one with fat of 50) + 67 retraps
Sedge Warbler56 (one with fat of 80!!) No retraps
Blackcap31 + 8 retraps, but only one Garden Warbler
Whitethroat4
Lesser Wh.2
Greenfinch61 + 30 retraps A welcome return

Plus 20 other species! Full details at the ringing hut.

Robin Prytherch 02/09/2013

July 2013

The highlight of the month was definitely the big roost catch of hirundines on 26th - 401 Swallows plus a few Sand Martins. The Canada Goose round-up was also a success but with a relatively low catch of 72 birds (63 new birds and 9 retraps). The other surprise of the month was a sudden arrival of Greenfinches - enticed by the feeders which have been topped-up regularly. 51 were trapped.

Otherwise I'll just list the warblers we've trapped as this is a prime time for us to catch the dispersing juveniles:
35Chiffchaff
2Willow Warbler
86Blackcap
2Whitethroat
8Lesser Whitethroat
224Reed Warbler
17Sedge Warbler

Robin Prytherch 31/07/2013

June 2013

At last, things are looking up. During the month we nearly doubled the numbers ringed over the previous 5 months. 642 were ringed with 197 retraps. This is almost entirely due to the new generation of birds emerging from nests, incl. nest boxes. These pulli predominate in the numbers highlighted below.
Great Sp W/pecker1
Robin22
Blue Tit170 (all pulli)
Great Tit127 (mostly pulli)
Long-tailed Tit33
Chiffchaff22
Blackcap38
Garden Warbler5
Lesser Whitethroat1 (first of the year)
Reed Warbler96
Sedge Warbler1
Bullfinch1
Reed Bunting10

Robin Prytherch 03/07/2013

May 2013

We had an unprecedented catch of 49 Sedge Warblers in one day at the beginning of the month. These were clearly migrants as many were heavy, very heavy, several over 14 grammes. Were they migrants heading further north (they breed up to the arctic circle in Scandinavia) but a little off course? Then by the end of the month the first pullus were being ringed (pullus = nestlings) and many migrants were established. The two CES sites were completed sucessfully, but mostly with few birds. The months highlights were:
Great Tit50 (all pullus)
Song Thrush17 (16 pullus)
Blackcap11
Garden Warbler7
Sedge Warbler60 (see also above)
Reed Warbler69
WhitethroatJust 3
Bullfinch1 (the first of the year)

Robin Prytherch 10/06/2013

April 2013


The highlight, as most of you will have heard, was a Nightingale trapped early on Sat 20th. It was taken out of one of the nets in the 'dog wood' area. I believe it was the 6th trapped by the ringing station. Overall nearly 300 birds were handled during the month, 169 new and 128 retraps of 23 species. During the last third of the month summer migrants started to pour in which coincided with a slight improvement in the weather. I list the highlights below with numbers ringed plus retraps in parentheses.

The new captures were:
Meadow Pipit4
Nightingale1
Cetti's Warbler1 (4)
Chiffchaff 33 (3)
Willow Warbler27
Reed Warbler17 (11)
Sedge Warbler39 (9) Many of these were heavy with fat, presumably on passage.
Blackcap14 (4)
Whitethroat2

Robin Prytherch 09/05/2013

March 2013


With the cold and persistent easterly winds settling on us during the month birds became more difficult to catch; they simply were not there, although there was a 'fall' of Chiffchaffs during the last 10 days or so (with some Sand Martins seen too). 160 birds were trapped in total of which 44 were new and 116 were retrapped with most of the latter from only three species (24 Moorhens - yes!, 23 Blue Tits and 17 Reed Buntings.

The new captures were:
Mallard1
Moorhen4
Water Rail3
Goldcrest1
Blue Tit2
Long-tailed Tit4
Treecreeper1
Chiffchaff14
Jackdaw1 (in the whoosh net)
Jay1
Blackbird2
Robin2
Chaffinch2
Goldfinch3
Siskin7

Robin Prytherch 01/04/2013

Febuary 2013


We trapped nearly 300 birds during month, of which about three-quarters were retraps! Typical for this time of the year. It shows that we have a well marked population at Chew. I give some examples below.
Moorhen6new/13retraps
Robin 3/14
Dunnock0/16
Long-t Tit10/16
Blue Tit4/73 (!)
Great Tit3/26
Chaffinch7/9
Goldfinch3/7
Reed Bunting12/37
An exception was Siskin, 20 new birds, 5 retraps. Other catches of note were Water Rail 3 new ringed and one each of Mallard, Song Thrush and lesser Redpoll.

Let us hope that with the arrival of migrants we'll have plenty of new birds during March.

Robin Prytherch 04/03/2013

January 2013


Despite the extremely muddy conditions ringing got off to a good start for the new year. 242 birds were handled during the month - 74 new birds and 178 retraps. I list, below, the highlights, mostly new birds:
Coot2
Water Rail2
Moorhen8
Chiffchaff3
Robin 3
Jay1
Blue Tit6 and 65 retraps
Goldfinch25
Siskin2
House Sparrow1
Reed Bunting12 and 20 retraps
The rails and many Reed Buntings were caught in walk-in traps.

Robin Prytherch 5th Feb 2013

December 2012


A moderately busy month - around a hundred new birds and a lot of retraps too. At the start of the month we visited an orchard near Woodford Lodge and caught nine Fieldfare, a Mistle Thrush and a Brambling. Sadly the birds stopped using the orchard. The continuing rain and high lake level continued to be a menace. Fortunately, the baited metal traps continued to catch as did the expanded garden nets. Star birds, as well as those in the orchard, were a Sparrowhawk and a Jay, both tricky birds to handle! The best birds were:
The Sparrowhawk
18 Moorhens
Two Water Rails (29 caught during 2012)
Seven Goldcrests
Six Blackbirds
One Mistle Thrush
Nine Fieldfare
One Jay
12 Blue Tits
13 Chaffinch
Two Brambling
10 Goldfinch
The 2012 total for birds ringed was 3,050 - a little disappointing but the high rainfall and high lake level certainly reduced the output from nests as many nests were swamped and young perished before they could fledge. We recorded 1403mm of rain for the year an astonishing total and not far off double the normal figure.

Happy New Year, and here's to a better result for our labours during 2013.

Robin Prytherch, January, 2013.

November 2012


Despite the amazingly high water level at the lake (7th month in a row) we managed to net 110 new birds and 141 retraps. Even the Heligoland trap was almost inaccessible for a couple of days. We've cut out a few more net sites in the dogwood close to the 'hut' which helped. The highlights are as follows (all new birds):
Water Rail Just one
Moorhen 9
Meadow Pipit5
Chiffchaff6
Goldcrest13
Lesser Redpoll18


October 2012


A relatively busy month, including a work day. Apart from our 'bread and butter' species I mention below some highlights.
Water RailLast months total should have been 6 (not 3). This month definitely 3.
KingfisherJust 1.
WhitethroatAn amazingly late bird at the beginning of the month.
Blackcap 3, the last of the year.
Cetti's Warbler 5, perhaps some have moved into our area?
Chiffchaff6 spread through the month.
Lesser RedpollI heard some on a Saturday and Mike set up a tape to lure them in on the Sunday and caught 7 on the first round of the nets!
Greenfinch32 - they really do seem to have come back!

And, stealing an excitement from November... a Water Pipit was netted on the 2nd!!, only our 3rd ever

Robin Prytherch

September 2012


I'll start at the end of the month with the exciting capture of a Wryneck in the heligoland trap on 29th - the 3rd for CVRS and 5th for the lake. See the Gallery for a photo of this lovely bird.

Other specials were a Grey Wagtail and 9 Meadow pipits as well as 3 Kingfishers and another 3 Water Rails. Other highlights as follows:

4 Cetti's Warbler (dispersals in to the lake?)
65Chiffchaff
53Blackcap
1Garden Warbler
47Reed Warbler
10Sedge Warbler
15Greenfinch

Robin Prytherch

August 2012


It was a busy month at Chew. The first weekend was taken over by the Ringing Course which was a great success (click here to view the report). As ealier in this summer the rain dominated with 133 mm during August making a total of well over 600 mm for the summer months. The lake level should be well down by August but with the rain and the fact that Bristol Water is not taking any water out of the lake, it is still brim full.

Anyway, it may be the high water level that has given Water Rails an opportunity to produce a bumper crop of chicks. Mark Dadds has been developing traps for them which seem to work - 12 were trapped during the month and more since. Excellent. Over 600 birds were ringed with the bulk of them being warblers - 327 - listed below, and 146 Swallows (plus 6 Sand Martins) caught entering a roost. Only two Kingfishers were caught, but, Greenfinches were up with an amazing 29 ringed. A few years ago this would not have been remarkable.

Warblers:
50Chiffchaff
20Willow Warbler
86Blackcap
8Garden Warbler
115Reed Warbler
48Sedge Warbler
Reed Warblers have had a disastrous breeding season, along with other species - more on this next month.

Robin Prytherch

June/July 2012


The dominant feature of both months was the rain - 191mm in June and 200mm in July. This very roughly between a half and a third of the annual total!! The lake continues to remain brim full of water and swamping many of our net lanes.

Even so, over 1200 birds (of over 30 species) were handled during the two months. This figure should have been 3-400 birds higher had the normal number of pullus (nestlings) been ringed. David Warden has reported massive failures of Reed Warbler nests and survival of tits in nestboxes has been low. 161 Reed Warblers were ringed, but only 12 Sedge Warblers. A surprise was eight Nuthatches including ads and young which had probably been fledged from our adjacent wood. Four Swifts were 'flicked'. Three Barn Owl chicks in the Herriott's Pool box were ringed and a single Kingfisher turned up in a net - the first of the year. Two Water Rails were caught in baited traps (more on this species in the next report. Six Greenfinches were a surprise as they have been very scarce so far this year.

May 2012


During May rainfall continued as in April (about 250mm. over the two months!). A disaster for nesting birds. May is the peak month for ringing pullus (nestlings) in nest boxes and in many of the boxes eggs did not hatch or chicks died. Many open nests would have failed too.

It was also the start of the CES (Constant Effort Site) sessions and three have been completed. Overall at least 600 birds were ringed. Some are listed below. In addition, these are worth a mention - 2 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Meadow Pipit, 1 Sparrowhawk and one Kestrel.

Blue Tit275, mostly pullus
Great Tit180, ditto
14 Blackbird14, some pullus
Song Thrush15, ditto
Robin8, ditto
Coal Tit9, ditto
Pied Wagtail4, all pullus
Mistle Thrush4, incl. 3 pullus
Magpie6, incl. 3 pullus
Barn Owl5, all pullus (Heron's Green box)
Long-tailed Tit48, incl. a lot of juvs
Chiffchaff10
Blackcap22
Garden Warbler11
Reed Warbler38
Sedge Warbler6
House Martin6
Bullfinch5
Reed Bunting15


April deluge and a few birds


In the last week of April the lake level suddenly shot up about 50cm and is probably more as I write this (04/05) and beginning to swamp out some net lanes. Despite this 221 birds were handled in the month although the majority were still retraps (2 to1) and with no surprises there apart from 6 Cetti's Warblers to add to 2 new ones. Concentrating on new birds one surprise was a late Redwing. I'll now list the migrants taken out of nets:

Chiffchaff10 (a couple from the Heligoland trap)
Willow Warbler11 These obv. moving through as no retraps
Reed Warbler1 plus 4 retraps- a lot more to come in May
Sedge Warbler5 but no retraps
Blackcap 13 plus 3 retraps
Garden Warbler1

I did see a Whitethroat on 21st . Overall a rather poor showing for April.

Robin Prytherch

A dry March at CVRS


Just 39mm of rain for the whole month must be a record low at the lake. The fine weather helped to boost numbers of birds caught. The totals were 104 new birds and 238 retraps to give a grand total of 342 for the month.Most of the birds were residents but even these were declining during the month as many must have settled into territories away from the usual catching areas. One each of Mallard and Moorhen were trapped, perhaps the last of the winter period? Summer visitors started to arrive in the third week. These included 14 Chiffchaffs, one Willow Warbler and one Blackcap. Many more are hoped for in the next few weeks. Unusually we ringed 10 Goldfinch (more than expected) and just one Greenfinch. Finally a mention of Reed Buntings which seem to be more plentiful than recent springs. 13 were ringed with another 21 retrapped.

Robin Prytherch

February 2012


It was a surprisingly busy month with 262 birds handled, 109 new and 153 retraps which included some interesting birds. Of the new birds 16 Chaffinch were matched by 16 Goldfinch. These were followed by 13 Reed Buntings, 12 Great Tit and, yes, 12 Moorhens! Most special of all though was a Green Woodpecker and, apart from 9 Teal an adult female Garganey. This bird had been around for a while according to the duck people at CVL (it should be much further south in Africa but does very rarely winter in Europe, BWP).

Amongst the retraps were a couple of old birds. A Dunnock, R524079, was ringed as a 3JP on 3rd August 2003. So it is about 8 years 8 months old but still 3 years or so from the nations oldest Dunnock which was over 11 years old. This birds has been trapped by us 36 times and is a male. The other one, a Chaffinch, P723585, was ringed as a 5 female on 1st April 2002 and therefore over 10 years old. It is only a year or so off the oldest Chaffinch which was 11y7m21d/o. We must hope that she survives the next year and becomes a record breaker.

After these excitments perhaps the next report will have good news about the arrival of migrants.

January 2012


We tried a repeat visit to the orchard at Bishop Sutton, but this year only trapped a small number of birds (unlike last years' 100 or so). The owner had swept up most the fallen apples so there was little to attract the birds in.

Back at the ringing station we had a quite interesting month with many wire traps in use. Here are a few highlights from the total of 84 new birds caught during the month (we did catch some new Blue Tits too!).
Mallard8
Moorhen8
Coot3
Goldcrest2
Fieldfare1
Redpoll2
House Sparrow3

December 2011


Quite busy with 203 new birds trapped, although a visit to the Orchard in Bishop Sutton was moderately tame, with few thrushes due to a lack of fallen apples (which the owner had removed). Two Fieldfares and a Blackcap were caught, amongst a few other species.

The undoubted highlight of the month was a Yellow-browed Warbler trapped on the 27th then retrapped a few days later. (I missed it both times! - RJP).

A concerted effort was put into trapping Starlings at a roost in the reeds behind the bund. Catches of 19 + 73 + 6 and 9 (107) were deemed a moderate success! Other highlights are listed below, to add to those above:
Mallard10
Teal9
Moorhen2
Chiffchaff5
Blackcap2
Fieldfare2
Redwing3

The totals for 2011 were 5427 ringed, 2459 retrapped, 7887 handlings. This is the 5th highest year total for CVRS. All subject to final checking.

November 2011


As to be expected numbers of birds slumped a little with the arrival of winter. The Bishop Sutton Fruit Farm was visited but most of the apples had been 'hoovered' up leaving little to attact birds. Nevertheless there were some highlights during the month.
Mallard and TealThe duck traps were baited and 3 Mallard and 6 Teal now carry rings.
SparrowhawkA single trapped (in the Orchard).
ChiffchaffOne of three trapped was a bird which had been ringed in Belgium - we'll learn more of this anon.
BlackcapJust one.
Goldcrest10 was a good haul.
RedpollJust a single.
Starling22 trapped in a newly formed roost in the reeds in the bund pool. Further attempts will be made to ring more of these birds.

October 2011


The month of change with end of summer migrants and residents reasserting themselves. 515 birds were handled comprising 279 new birds and 236 retraps. 21 species. No true winter visitors yet.

Warblers. Almost all of these were trapped in the first couple of days of the month.
Sedge Warbler3
Reed Warbler6One of these, on 23rd, was very fat weighing 20.5gm, almost twice the normal weight of 10.5 gm. Enough fat to take all the way to west Africa in one go.
Blackcap70
Chiffchaff42
Cettis Warbler8These almost doubled the year total thus far. Some must have arrived at Chew from elsewhere.

Residents. A sudden increase in these almost entirely due to the provision of 'artificial' food.
Long-tailed Tit24
Great Tit22
Blue Tit34
Nuthatch1
Wren15
Finally, just 3 Blackbirds and 1 Song Thrush. Where have all the thrushes gone?
And 8 Moorhens, due to bait again and resiting of traps.

September 2011


Kingfisher 1They've been down this year so just one in the nets was a surprise.
Sedge Warbler62Fewer as the days go by
Reed Warbler59Ditto
Lesser Whitethroat2Undoubtedly the last of the year.
Whitethroat5Ditto.
Blackcap152A good total, more to come, we hope, next month.
Chiffchaff128Ditto
Willow Warbler3At the beginning of the month. An early migrant.
Nuthatch1One in the nets was a nice surprise. Although they breed nearby they rarely visit the ringing areas.

Last but not least, a Cetti's Warbler was controlled (ie. caught by us but already carrying a ring). It was a UK ring so could have come from anywhere in southern Britain. More news next month.
Robin Prytherch

August 2011


Swallow60Mostly trapped at a roost.
Sedge Warbler319A record catch for recent years.
Reed Warbler276Unusually taking second place behind Sedge Warbler.
Lesser Whitethroat1We expected a few more.
Whitethroat2Ditto.
Garden Warbler1They must depart as soon as breeding is over.
Blackcap49
Chiffchaff114
Willow Warbler30
Spotted Flycatcher1A real rarity at CVRS now.
Greenfinch1This too!

July 2011


Sand Martin2
Swallow38All trapped at a roost near the end of the month.
Cetti's Warbler4Well down after two cold winters.
Sedge Warbler79
Reed Warbler365Plus 150 pullus ringed in the reed beds.
Lesser Whitethroat7
Whitethroat4Still quite a rarity.
Garden Warbler8The breeding birds must disperse soon after breeding.
Blackcap45
Chiffchaff43
Willow Warbler11
Marsh Tit 1A real rarity in the nets - two or three a year normally.
Greenfinch1Only the fourth this year.
Siskin1The bird of the month. A Juv., where did it come from?
Kingfisher3Now is the time for juvs to appear at the lake.

If you would like to see more news like this, let us know, and give us your comments. Hope to send out another list at the end of August.

RJP 03/08/11