Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Monitoring our local birds


A great deal of activity amongst the Northants Ringing Group team members during the last couple of days as we try to map the fortunes of breeding birds at our local sites. The high winds of recent days have prevented the use of mist nets in the main but both yesterday and today (Wednesday) has provided a period of stability and low wind speeds.

Chris Payne has been concentrating his efforts at monitoring how Swallows are getting on in South Northants, keeping counts of nests, numbers of eggs and hatched young. An established pair of Swallows will often hatch five youngsters in the first brood if the conditions are favourable, and with a protein-rich diet of insects these nestling are capable of growing up fast indeed! Which is just as well as the parents will often then try for a second brood and will do this even when the flying young from the first brood stay close! In the best conditions possible, some birds will even try a third brood before they and their offspring flee south for the winter.

Two ringing sessions at Harrington Airfield (Tuesday and Wednesday) provided a nice catch of birds with plenty of evidence of just-fledged youngsters which included Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, Reed Bunting and Yellowhammer. Uncommon captures included a Green Woodpecker, a Jay, a Nuthatch and four Linnets. Birds noted on-site yesterday included an Osprey flying south towards the Brampton Valley at 10.30am and a Siskin. A Grasshopper Warbler was heard singing both days and 2-3 Turtle Doves remain as do a few pairs of Grey Partridges. Butterflies included Orange-tip, Small Heath, Common Blue, Ringlet and Painted Lady.

Yesterday (Tuesday) evening saw a short ringing session at Lamport which resulted in seven Swifts being caught (three of which were initially ringed last year), a couple of Swallows and thirteen House Martins (one initially ringed at the same place last year). Other birds noted here included Hobby and Spotted Flycatcher.

This morning (Wednesday) saw another CES ringing effort at Pitsford Reservoir so you can see that the ringers were thinly spread! This resulted in 50 captures, the highlights being ten Blackcaps, six Garden Warblers, four Treecreepers, two Marsh Tits, a Kingfisher and a Jay.


Neil M

Male Linnet.

Male Yellowhammer.

Female Orange-tip butterfly.

Male Green Woodpecker. This bird was
first ringed as a juvenile in 2015 but is
now very much an adult male and is no doubt
supporting it's own nestlings which will probably
 fly the nest any day now.

Jacob Spinks proving that is is possible
to obtain good flight shots of Common Swifts!

Common Swift at Lamport.

You know I can't resist taking images
of Red Kites even if I  probably
have hundreds of similar photos!

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