Monday, 4 February 2013

January's Ringing Totals

Over to the right you will see that I have updated the ringing totals for Fylde Ringing Group and this month we ringed 131 birds of 13 species. By this time last year we had ringed 317 birds, so we have got off to a slow start, but it has been the weather that has caused the slow start.

Below I have listed the top three species ringed for the month, as these were the only species to be ringed in double figures:

Chaffinch - 43
Goldfinch - 27
Tunrstone - 14

No time for any real birding for me today other than to feed my farmland birds. It was pouring down with rain when I walked down the track loaded with food, so I didn't linger. I recorded a male Sparrowhawk, a Buzzard, 113 Tree Sparrows, 15 Chaffinches, 11 Redwings and a Song Thrush.

If you don't subscribe to British Birds then I can thoroughly recommend you getting a subscription. The main paper this month was 'Population estimates of birds in Great Britain and the United Kingdom'. This was a cracking paper by the Avian Population Estimates Panel (APEP) that attempted to estimate the total population of breeding, passage and wintering birds in the UK.

It produces some amazing statistics and figures, and to give you a taste of these I have listed a few below:

- there are now thought to be 84 million breeding birds in the UK
- the ten commonest breeding species contribute 57% of this total
- Wren alone provides one in ten of our breeding birds
- in all 23 species exceed one million breeding pairs
- more than 8% of our breeding birds are pigeons and doves, more than double the number of all seabirds  combined
- less than 0.3% of our breeding birds are raptors or owls
- about 3% of our breeding birds are non-native species, mostly Pheasants, Red-legged Partridges and Canada Geese
- we have similarly sized breeding populations of Kestrel and Leach's Petrel, or of Scottish Crossbill and Little Grebe!

We might have one of the most studied avifaunas in the world, but this report highlights some of the gaps in our knowledge and comes up with some recommendations to improve population estimates. Some of these recommendations would make excellent projects for individual bird clubs to help fill in the gaps in our knowledge.

Another excellent short article was about the exceptional arrival of thrushes on the east coast of England in 2012. A group of observers based at Blakeney Point, Norfolk and Spurn, Yorkshire were encouraged to put together this article by Ian Newton because "published accounts of spectacular arrivals such as these are surprisingly hard to find...and when writing his New Naturalist volume on bird migration, he found very few descriptions of such events in the literature".

To cut to the chase on 22nd October 2012 Blakeney Point recorded an incredible fall of 25,000 Redwings, 4,000 Fieldfares, 3,000 Song Thrushes, 3,000 Blackbirds, 30 Ring Ouzels, 400 Bramblings, 280 Robins, 80 Goldcrests, 25 Chiffchaffs and 5 Black Redstarts.

On the same day Spurn recorded, amongst others, 23 Woodcocks, 785 Goldcrests, 35 Chiffchaffs, 57 Ring Ouzels, 1,270 Blackbirds, 10,100 Fieldfares, 885 Song Thrushes, 21,070 Redwings, 20 Black Redstarts and 2,675 Bramblings.

So, if you were impressed by that and haven't got a subscription to British Birds be sure to get one!

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