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Ringing near Gifford (S.E.Scotland)

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Old Monday 13th March 2006, 07:15   #51
citrinella
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Location: E.Lothian
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Ringing at site 1 on 11/3/06. Many thanks to all concerned.

Blackbird new
retrap 1
Brambling new 1
retrap
Chaffinch new 5
retrap 2
Dunnock new 2
retrap 18
Long tailed tit new 6
retrap 1
Reed bunting new 1
retrap
Robin new 2
retrap 4
Yellowhammer new 10
retrap 2
TOTAL new 27
retrap 28


Also seen / heard at site 1 :
Golden plover (30-40 seen earlier in the week)
Grey partridge
Skylark

On Sunday, vicious wind and blowing snow (not much on ground) :
300+ finches / bunting at the feeding station, chaffinch, yellowhammer, 25+ brambling, greenfinch.

The nearby lark feeding station had c.25 yellowhammer, c.25 skylark, and scattered chaffinch mainly sheltering behind the beetle bank.

On my lawn on Saturday afternoon up to
50 chaffinch
6 greenfinch
3 goldfinch
5 brambling
robin
dunnock
2 Grey partridge
House sparrows
Blackbird

and 2 Song thrush squabbling on Sunday.

Sunday 100-150 at site 3, yellowhammer, chaffinch;
buzzard nearby quartering a hollow keeping about a metre off the ground in that wind.

Mainly forgetting corvids, game birds, gulls, pigeons and tits.

Mike.
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Old Monday 20th March 2006, 06:44   #52
citrinella
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Ringing at site 3 on 19/3/06. Many thanks to all concerned.

Blackbird new 3
retrap 1
Blue tit new 14
retrap 1
Chaffinch new 8
retrap
Coal tit new 1
retrap 1
Dunnock new
retrap 5
Great tit new 1
retrap
House sparrow new 1
retrap
Robin new 1
retrap
Treecreeper new 1
retrap
Yellowhammer new 16
retrap 4
TOTALS new 46
retrap 12



Also seen / heard at site 3 :
5 Buzzard
Kestrel
Curlew
Peewit
58 Pink-footed geese
2 Grey partridge
Meadow pipit
Skylark
30 Redwing
Pied wagtail
Jay
Starling
3 Greater spotted woodpecker
Green woodpecker
Brambling
Siskin
Greenfinch
Linnet
Reed bunting

And on my lawn :
2 Grey partridge
Brambling
c.40 Yellowhammer

with
20 Golden plover
Skylark
Buzzard
more Grey partridge
around my house.

Mainly forgetting corvids, game birds, gulls, pigeons and tits.

Mike.
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Old Wednesday 5th April 2006, 07:03   #53
citrinella
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Ringing at site 1 feeding station on 1/4/06. Many thanks to all concerned.

Blue tit new 1
retrap 1
Brambling new 5
retrap
Chaffinch new 2
retrap
Dunnock new
retrap 2
Reed bunting new 1
retrap 1
Yellowhammer new 10
retrap

TOTALS new 19
retrap 4


Also seen / heard at site 1 feeding station :
Buzzard
Kestrel
Curlew
70 Golden Plover
c.55 and 100+ Pink-footed geese
Grey partridge
Meadow pipit
Skylark
Blackbird
c. 80 Fieldfare
Green woodpecker
Goldfinch
Greenfinch

Ringer in chief saw a Barn owl at Colstoun Mains.

Later in the day at the feeding station I had finch / bunting flock c.150, mainly chaffinch and yellowhammer, but also notably 15-20 brambling and 20-30 reed bunting.

Later again I walked across wheat, putting up at least 12 lark in c.1000m. At the wild bird cover site there were c.30 chaffinch, and a few goldfinch and reed bunting.

In my garden recently I have had brambling "all the time", counting up to 6m and 1f; 3-4 goldfinch; 3-4 greenfinch; up to c.30 chaffinch; up to c.15 yellowhammer; odd house sparrow; pr.grey partridge; buzzard; sparrowhawk.

On one recent visit to site 3 I saw 3 tree sparrow. Been getting the usual collection of greenfinch, chaffinch and yellowhammer here, plus a few reed bunting and resident buzzard and kestrel.

Mainly forgetting corvids, game birds, gulls, pigeons and tits.

Mike.
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Old Monday 10th April 2006, 06:59   #54
citrinella
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Ringing at site 3 on 8/4/06. Last session for this winter. Many thanks to all who have helped throughout the winter, and also to the landowners who have allowed us to ring on their land.

Blackbird new
retrap 1
Chaffinch new 4
retrap 1
Dunnock new 1
retrap 1
Long tailed tit new
retrap 1
Reed bunting new 1
retrap
Tree sparrow new 1
retrap
Yellowhammer new 14
retrap 10
TOTALS new 21
retrap 14


Also seen / heard at site 3 :
Buzzard (later, same morning)
Stock dove
2+ Greater spotted woodpecker
9 starling
Meadow pipit
Skylark
Pied wagtail
Fieldfare
Redwing
Song thrush
Goldcrest
Robin
Greenfinch
Brambling

One of the ringers saw a merlin earlier in the week on the Duns road about 2km from Gifford.

Only my second siskin visitation (mmf) to my peanut feeder this winter. Pr pied wagtail and (on feed) 2 brambling, 6 yellowhammer, 5 goldfinch, 5 greenfinch, c.40 chaffinch in the garden.

Mainly forgetting corvids, game birds, gulls, pigeons and tits.

Hares are very noticeable now. On Thursday afternoon I had eight playing within 100m of my tractor.

Mike.
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Old Monday 10th April 2006, 09:00   #55
Andrew Rowlands
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Thanks to all involved Mike - we may not make many comments but we do appreciate the updates!

Keep up the good work

Cheers,

Andy.
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Old Monday 17th April 2006, 07:15   #56
citrinella
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Ringing has finished for winter 05-06. Here are the winter's totals, with the
last two years shown for comparison. If you have difficulty with column
alignment use a non-proportional font such as Courier (_not_ "Courier New"),
maximize the window and select line length of 80 characters or more. Many
thanks to all concerned.


Species totals
Winter 05-06 04-05 03-04
new retrap new retrap new retrap
Blackbird 60 78 79
35 18 29
Blackcap 1
0
Blue tit 55 80 47
13 14 5
Brambling 10 11 4
0 1 0
Bullfinch 0 0 1
0 0 0
Chaffinch 132 160 246
25 25 29
Coal tit 10 7 7
3 0 0
Dunnock 45 70 54
90 68 46
Fieldfare 1 3
0 0
Goldcrest 17 7 12
7 1 3
Goldfinch 3 2 18
0 0 2
Great tit 14 22 9
4 4 2
Greenfinch 29 105 39
0 4 2
House sparrow 42 23 24
25 6 9
Linnet 6 10 2
0 0 0
Long tailed tit 12 13 12
5 7 5
Redwing 5 6
0 0
Reed bunting 11 82 30
4 9 7
Robin 22 33 39
44 34 26
Skylark 7 0 5
1 0 0
Song Thrush 4 6 2
1 5 0
Sparrowhawk 0 0 1
0 0 0
Starling 0 0 5
0 0 0
Treecreeper 2 1
0 0
Tree sparrow 3 4 12
0 0 1
Woodpigeon 0 1 1
0 0 0
Wren 9 29 10
8 23 0
Yellowhammer 128 309 261
46 58 44

628 311 1062 277 920 210
New Retrap New Retrap New Retrap

Comments :
A very disappointing season. Our poor catches as an indicator of a bad breeding
season last year are supported by :
very high proportion of re-traps this year (I cannot give an age breakdown);
my own observations of flock sizes during the winter;
reports from other observers in the county, especially on yellowhammer numbers,
with one of the local rangers (Victor Lough) receiving enough negative reports
to initiate a more thorough investigation;
ringers in East and West Fife reporting very low catches this winter;
Pete gordon reporting much smaller flocks of yellowhammer in favoured areas
near his house in Lauderdale.

Our overall catch would be lowered by the fact that our two least productive
sites more or less failed this year, to the point that we gave up on them. Had
we not done so, our catches of blackbird, dunnock, robin, tits, and wren would
all probably have been significantly higher. these species are of limited
interest to us (our principal interest is farmland granivores). This failure
was due to the wild bird cover at these sites moving into an unproductive phase
(of seed). I had anticipated this at my own farm, and sown additional area
which should have been productive - had it not been grazed off completely by
deer and hares last August.

While I am pretty convinced numbers are genuinely low, especially for
yellowhammer and chaffinch, I am not so sure we can take a strong message for
any other individual species. Chaffinch were the only species which dropped
significantly last winter, 04-05. At the time I was reassured by the BTO
assertion that they were benefiting from ample food in the wider countryside,
even though I couldn't find them in the wider countryside. This winter catches
have dropped again, despite the fact that I think I have been seeing more than
last winter in that "wider countryside".

Linnet and reed bunting tend to favour wild bird cover, so the drop in catch
could be largely attributed to our failure to catch birds at these sites.
Greenfinch are similar, but our 04-05 catch was boosted by special factors,
exacerbating the apparent decline.

A large proportion of our goldfinch catch in 03-04, and our entire starling
catch that year, were taken using tactics we have not been able to repeat.

House sparrow catch this year has been particularly satisfying, with a total of
46 individuals caught in my steading. We have put in an intense effort on this,
using better tactics, so the figures are not comparable with previous years. My
observations suggest the population is stable. hopefully we can put in a
similar effort sometime in the future to collect further evidence on that.

We didn't catch skylark during 04-05 simply for lack of effort.

While a serious drop in populations is strongly indicated, there are still very
healthy breeding populations. Hopefully we will have some good breeding seasons
to restore numbers quickly.

Surprisingly (to me), our longest-ringed re-trap is a long-tailed tit, at 1141
days (just over 3 years). We have also re-trapped blackbird, dunnock and
yellowhammer after over 1100 days.

=========================
Partridge count, 15.4.06.

6 sightings of pairs of greys. Same pair almost certainly seen twice. Another
pair might have been seen twice, but two pairs have been noted in that area
over the last couple of months. Probable total, 5 pairs.

1 pair red-legs.

Also :
3 and 1 buzzard
Owl spp
song thrush
2 Pied wagtails
3 Reed bunting singing
Numerous pairs of yellowhammer, some chaffinch round the hedges
9+ brambling in the mixed flock of 60-80 at the feeding station
Small flocks of linnet (6-15).
6+ goldfinches, 3 greenfinch, 2prs siskin, 7+ chaffinch, 2 mistle thrush in my
garden

My assistant had seen a flock of 50-60 linnet earlier in the week (on survey
work). I had 50-60 on electric wires later in the day.

1st swallow, same morning, two by lunch time, after lunch they were cosied up
by one of of the old nests, chittering away nineteen to the dozen :-)

Also. loads of hares and peacock butterflies. A glorious day.

Mainly forgetting corvids, game birds (!), gulls, pigeons and tits.

Mike.
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Old Monday 17th April 2006, 07:19   #57
citrinella
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Rowlands
Thanks to all involved Mike - we may not make many comments but we do appreciate the updates!

Keep up the good work

Cheers,

Andy.
Glad to hear it Andy, I sometimes wonder, but when I haven't posted in the past, I've had queries which is encouraging.

Enjoy your summer,

Mike.

Now, how do I sort the alignment (on the year summary), it's removed all the spaces since I pasted :-(
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Old Monday 17th April 2006, 10:49   #58
Andrew Rowlands
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Quote:
Originally Posted by citrinella
how do I sort the alignment (on the year summary), it's removed all the spaces since I pasted :-(
Hmm - that's a challenge Mike! The forum software's not conducive to tabulating.

Maybe better to make a .doc attachment for it, anyone interested can download it?

You could leave your comments on the webpage, they're probably the most interesting read for non number crunchers anyway.

Cheers,

Andy.
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