Tuesday, January 11, 2011

What’s The Total?

It’s the question ringers ask at the end of each year of a ringing group secretary when all the year’s efforts come together. So here is a summary I put together of the Ringing Group results in 2010.

Our ringing group i.e Fylde RG totals equate to 3674 new birds ringed of of 69 species, with 520 of this overall number being pulli/nestlings and the remaining 3154 full grown.

The Top Ten species and individual totals for the year:

1. Chaffinch 674
2. Greenfinch 337
3. Blue Tit 238
4. Goldfinch 236
5. Blackbird 152
6. Tree Sparrow 146
7. Great Tit 142
8. Reed Bunting 139
9. Whitethroat 137
10. Swallow 128

During the year we particularly targeted finches, so the fact that finches figure in the first four shows we were successful to a large degree. Of the 674 Chaffinch captures, 506 were from the month of August through to December when migration is at its peak and when continental immigrants spread west as the winter progresses. Since its formation in 1985, the Fylde Ringing Group has ringed 13,900 Chaffinches, and in the process collected a phenomenal amount of data. Group members sponsored the Chaffinch pages in the BTO (British Trust for Ornithology) Migration Atlas, a superlative book first published in 2002, a book that is still available for any bird watcher unfortunate enough not to own a copy.


Out of the 337 Greenfinch captures in the year, 305 occurred from September to November, a time when many birds make fairly local post-juvenile movements up and down the west coast but when others move longer distances. We know this from previous year’s studies, as the group’s overall total of Greenfinches ringed is almost 7,000 birds, the data from which has provided much information on their movements and longevity.


Our Goldfinch catches show three distinct peaks, between Feb to April when birds return north, June and July when many young birds are in evidence, and then October to December when Goldfinches undertake partial migration and local numbers are swelled by birds from the north of us.


The ultra-clever and wary Tree Sparrows often defy us at the netting sites but we ringed 119 nestlings, a worthy effort to gather data for a still threatened species.

Tree Sparrow

It was especially pleasing to see healthy Whitethroat and Reed Bunting totals. Of the 139 Reed Buntings captured, 129 came from the migration period of September to November, Reed Buntings making rather late autumn movements. In contrast, our Whitethroat totals reflect netting efforts in mainly breeding localities with 120 birds out of 137 caught as mainly juvenile birds between June and August.


Reed Bunting

These results represent a lot of hard work by our few members, and a special mention must be given to young Craig who made singular and heroic efforts to ring Coot in often severe winter weather but just missed the Top Ten with 89 Coot ringed. Well done Craig, we’ll have a whip around and get the jacket dry cleaned.


Thanks also to Seumus who spends much time and effort in liaising with the BTO and maintaining our IPMR database of 108,504 records!

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