• Another lovely morning

    We made full use again of the still calm conditions where the only downside was the bright sun on the nets--but after the rubbish weather we have had over recent years I'm not going to complain--not too much anyway.

    Although there was again little sign of any migration we managed another 58 new birds ringed. Presumably birds from the surrounding area. 19 Reed warblers made up the bulk of the catch with yet more 'new' adults for the reserve. We reckon these are probably birds which have been nesting at Belvide over recent years but have gone unringed as we have not been able to net the biggest reedbed due to high water levels. There are also plenty of young illustrating a good breeding season so far with plenty more second and perhaps even third broods to come.

    7 Sedge warblers was more encouraging--most again caught in the main reedbed. The supporting cast included 8 Blackcap, 3 Garden warbler, 6 Chiffchaff and--at last--an adult Whitethroat.

    Next session on Wednesday 30th with possibly an evening session on Tuesday 29th. There seems to be a few Swallows gathering so we may try to see if they are roosting.

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  • A few Sedgies at last

    The cloud from the east as forecast was useful this morning as there was a bit of an east wind from which few nets are sheltered. Pete, Glynn, Moira and I had a pretty good moring with 44 new birds ringed of which 10 were Chiffchaff, 14 Reed warbler, and a welcome 6 Sedgies. 6 Blackcaps, 1 Garden warbler and another 2 juvenile kingfishers were notable.

    There should be some evidence of migration soon--lets hope it brings in some Willow warblers and Whitethroats.....

    Next session on Saturday as usual--member visitors welcome from about 6am.

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  • Getting Better...

    After cancelling Saturday's session--a good move given that it poured down most of the day--we didn't want to miss the whole weekend so a Monday trip was hastily convened. A small but beautifully put together team spent another lovely morning at Belvide--but this time managed a decent catch of 62 new birds. 25 Reed Warbler were the key species and this was helped by our first opening of the nets in the main reedbed. There were quite a few adults so there should be plenty more juveniles to come as second broods are starting. 14 Blackaps showed again how well this species is doing. Only 7 Chiffchaff was a bit disappointing but we missed lots in the roving tit flock which evaded the nets. On the flip side only 2 Sedge Warblers again showed how poor their breeding season has been with the high water--and still no Whitethroats. ( Other ringers in the area are reporting lots of this species so something specific to Belvide has virtually wiped them out this year.) Another juvenile Kingfisher was, as always a lovely bird to see in the hand and it seems like the local pair has got at least 3 chicks on the wing.

    Next session Wednesday 23rd.

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  • Oh what a beautiful morning.....

    ....As the old song goes--it was a perfect morning with little wind and bits of cloud gradually getting warmer. We had a decent catch of 48 new birds of 16 species, but no recoveries of note. There were 11 Chiffchaff and 15 Blackcaps--both species clearly having had a good breeding season. One of the Blackcaps was completely leucistic--photos are on many media sites.

    Modest numbers of Reed Warblers (5) and Sedgies(--only 1) are expected given the very high water levels--but Reedies should be raising second broods--and even thitd if the weather stays good. Our first Willow warbler of the season, another juvenile Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Garden warblers and a second Kingfisher provided the supporting cast. Next session Saturday 19th--all welcome after about 6 am.

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  • A bit better than Wednesday

    Although there does not seem to be many birds around at the moment, we managed 41 new birds, with the season's first Marsh Tit one of the highlights. Warblers were representaed by 9 chiffchaff, 4 blackcap, 6 reed warb, 7 sedge warb, 1 goldcrest and1 garden warbler.

    Next session is due on Wed16 but keep an eye on the blog because we may move to only Saturdays until migration kicks in

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  • A Tale of Two Reedies!?

    Although we had a disappointing total of new birds on Wednesday morning, I did mention that we had had a couple of potentially interesting Reed Warblers which were already ringed. A bit of research ( thanks Scott !!) has revealed an interesting lillte story.

    First, we look at Reed Warbler X 913035, this was a male which was hatched at Belvide in the summer of 2009. We have caught him at Belvide each year since and it looks like he is breeding again this year. This is interesting on several levels:- he is displaying high site fidelity, and a great ability to migrate successfully. We estimate that he had completed 5 round trips to Africa--(probably mid-west) avoiding all the hazards en route and completed somewhere between 15 and 20,000 miles just in migrating. Pretty awesome!!

    Second we turn to Reed Warbler L183182. Again this is a male, but is demonstrating a quite different type of behaviour in one key respect. This bird was raised in a reed bed ay Alscott near Shrewsbury and originally ringed there in the summer of 2010. He too has been very successful in migrating, but he has not shown the same site fidelity as X913035. At some point he made a move to Belvide--and we originally recaptured him in the summer of 2013. The site has clearly met with his approval because he is back this year, presumably with a mate. This second bird shows that while sticking with a site you know can be good for breeding--it is also very important for some individuals in a population to have a touch of wanderlust so that the gene pool can be mixed and avoid in-breeding.

    Just a few very interesting issues which bird ringing can help uncover.

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  • Not too good today

    We set nets on Tuesday evening and caught a few birds including a juv Kingfisher which always warms the cockles. However very disappointing this morning with a combined total of only 31 new birds ringed--8 reed warbler, 9 chiffchaff, 2 sedgies, 3 blackcap and a leseer whitethroat were the key migrants plus a few tits etc.

    We did catch a couple of what look like being quite old retrapped reed warblers when we get round to checking them out.

    Unless poor weather is forecast then we will be operating on Saturday morning--all welcome from about 6 am

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  • A good session for our first of the post breeding season visits to Belvide

    On Sunday ( having decided against Saturday because of rain), we had a good catch of 100+ birds of which 94 were newly ringed. Good numbers of Reed, Sedge, Chiichaff and Blackcap warblers included fledgelings and several adults new to the site.

    Next session Wednesday 9th --ringers meet at 05.00--should be ringing until about 09.30

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  • Group recoveries

    A few weeks ago we received a batch of recoveries from BTO, mainly the lesser redpolls that we've been ringing on Cannock Chase over the winter and spring.

    The map shows the amazing places where these birds have come from before being recaught on the Chase. Most interesting are several groups of birds which have come from the same location. All red icons above are lesser redpoll, orange icons are common redpoll and blue is a brambling. The yellow icon is a siskin which was caught on the Chase in February 2011 and then recaught in Belgium in April 2013, 778 days later.

    Common redpoll

    Three birds caught on 16th October 2013 at Kilnsea in Yorkshire, then recaught on the Chase as singles on 14th, 19th and 26th March 2014.

    Lesser redpoll

    Three birds caught on 6th May 2013 at Stocksfield in Northumberland, then recaught on the Chase as singles on 6th, 11th and 14th March 2014.

    Two birds caught on 15th October 2013 at Holme Bird Observatory in Norfolk, then recaught on the Chase as singles on 11th and 26th March 2014.

    Two birds caught on 18th October 2010 at Ramsley Reservoir in Derbyshire, then recaught on the Chase as singles on 4th and 19th February 2014, both birds over 1200 days later.

    Five birds caught on 10th October 2013 at Greystoke Forest in Cumbria, then recaught on the Chase as singles on 11th, 17th, 21st, 26th and 28th March 2014

    Single bird caught on 11th October 2013 at Rogaland in Norway, then recaught on the Chase on 6th March 2014, 146 days later.

    From these groups being recaught at the same location within a few days of each other it would appear that flocks remain together throughout the winter months. However, look more closely and bird birds caught in Derbyshire in 2010 were caught a few weeks apart in spring 2014! Coincidence? Without bird ringing we'd never know the fascinating life of our birds.

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  • Nightjar tastic

    On Thursday 5th June 2014 Ben headed out on his second trip to catch and ring nightjars on Cannock Chase and was excited at the prospect of catching more after the success of his first trip and the fact that other members of the group had not been so lucky.

    He set his net on another sunny evening with low wind and waited for the sun to go down and the Nightjars to start churring.

    Finally after watching an exciting display by a number of Nighjar in the area Ben Caught his second Male nightjar of 2014

    Due to the number of Nightjar in the area Ben continued due to the quick capture of the first Nightjar and was successful with his 3rd male Nightjar of 2014

    Other group members are now glad that Ben is on holiday for two weeks as it now gives the experienced ringers time to catch up with the newbee ;)

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