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Latest Sightings.

OSPREY - CWP74 - Graham Lawler 6 Sedge Warbler - Caen Hill Locks - Matt Minnis Hobby, 3 Green Sand...
5 Grey Wagtail, Red Kite - Seend STW - Dave Hanham Common Gull, 170 Black-headed Gull - Old Sarum -...
Yellow Wagtail - Water Eaton - Matt Prior 3 Green Sandpiper, 56 Lapwing - Langford Lakes - Bob Blam...
30 Stonechat, 20 Whitethroat, 10 Yellowhammer, Red Kite - SPTA east - John Manley 5 Common Sandpipe...
Cuckoo, 10 Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting, Kingfisher - Corsham Lake - Tim Salkeld 50 Tree Sparrow, 40 ...
7 Corn Bunting, Raven - Wylye - Bjorn Howard

15th April 2017 - Thames Valley

My friends have always been mildly fascinated by my bird ringing tales and they have often asked if I can show their children some birds. This seemed like an ideal session as it is very close to where I live and at this time of year we don't have to get up very early. We have been scattering a lot of seed on the ground here to feed the farmland birds and even though the flock has largely dispersed it was still worth a session.
We ringed 40 birds and retrapped 17 of a wide range of species and it was great showing the kids the birds and allowing them to release them. I then found some Barn Owl pellets and that kept the kids completely rapt for the rest of the morning. From our point of view it was a decent little April session and completes a god winter monitoring for this particular site. MP, NW, GH
Yellowhammer 9 (3), Reed Bunting 1, Chaffinch 4, Bullfinch 3 (3), Greenfinch 5, Linnet 1, Tree Sparrow 1, Blue Tit 1 (1), Long Tailed Tit 1, Song Thrush 1 (1), Dunnock 1 (2), Robin 2 (2), Blackcap 3, Chiffchaff 2, Treecreeper 1, Goldcrest 2, Wren 2 (1), Blackbird 0 (1), Great Tit 0 (3)

9th April 2017 - Thames Valley

Our last session at this site didn't work very well and as we watched the birds during that session we did a bit of habitat management to make the site more open for farmland birds and then we fed some seed along a field edge to set a two shelf net alongside. Both of these methods worked an absolute treat and Linnets and Yellowhammers filled our nets. There was a flock of about 30 Tree Sparrows present and we did very well for the Thames Valley these days ringing five and retrapping 4. This site has a large solar farm on it and it has affected the number of birds at the site but as I packed up, the farmer popped by to see us and we had a great chat. The outcome is that he will be planting a large area of conservation cover crops and that there may even be money available to help our conservation work.
In the afternoon I popped into a woodland that the previous day held over 100 Redpolls and Siskins but they had all disappeared overnight and I only caught one bird but it was a superb adult male Brambling. MP, AF
Yellowhammer 49 (7), Linnet 40, Chaffinch 21 (2), Tree Sparrow 5 (4), Reed Bunting 4 (1), Blue Tit 1, Goldfinch 2, Brambling 1, House Sparrow 4, Greenfinch 4, Great Spotted Woodpecker 1, Robin 4 (1), Dunnock 3 (2), Blackbird 1, Blackcap 1, Great Tit 0 (1)

8th April 2017 - Marlborough Downs

Today dawned very cold but bright and clear and we were really excited about this session as it was the first session of our Retrap Adults for Survival Project for the year. We did very well last year and this session is very important for the project. We had a great team out and we were joined by a couple of trainees from two different ringing groups in Avon and Dorset who wanted to experience farmland bird ringing.
This site is easy to ring with lots of short nets set across a long hedgerow along which the birds fly to access a series of feeders. The birds did not disappoint and we were able to treat our guests to a whole array of new species and experiences through the morning.
As ever, with these Tree Sparrow sessions we get a fantastic set of local movements and today was no exception, birds flock here from all round and the flock now totals about 300 birds and is probably our largest winter flock this year.
Davids RAS17a
Tresp RAS Davids1
After the farmland session, Gary and I went to Bedwyn Common to try to catch some redpolls that we had seen come to a drinking pool. By the time we got to site it was really quite hot and for a couple of hours the finches swarmed down to the pool and into our 9 metre net. It was a great sight to see and a new experience for Gary. During this session we ringed 46 birds including plenty of Redpolls and a few Siskins. MP, GH, PW, NW, OA, FS
Tree Sparrow 9 (16), Chaffinch 16 (2), Yellowhammer 11, Goldfinch 13, Linnet 9, Dunnock 3 (1), Wren 1 (2), Blackbird 1 (1), Great Tit 1 (3), Greenfinch 0 (1)
Bedwyn Common
Lesser Redpoll 36 (1), Siskin 4, Goldfinch 2, Chaffinch 3 (1), Dunnock 1, Coal Tit 0 (4), Great Tit 0 (3), Blue Tit 0 (1)

2nd April 2017 - Liddington Hill

Over the years this has been one of our best Corn Bunting sites but in the past few years the farmer has got rid of his game cover and the farmland birds are now never as concentrated as they used to be. We now feed in a small copse which is okay but not ideal and we rarely catch and ring Corn Buntings here nowadays. I was joined by Biff for this session, there can't be many 17 year olds in the country who got to experience what he did this morning as we started the day with a couple of stunning Short Eared Owls. From there on it was very slow despite the perfect cold but calm ringing conditions. A lucky birder bumped into us as we were about to release the owls and so he had a real treat seeing such beautiful birds close up.
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We only caught one Linnet but it was a retrap and was originally ringed in March 2013, this is our oldest ever Linnet, four years survival is excellent. This is a great site for raptors and in addition to the usual Buzzard and Red Kite, we also saw a Sparrowhawk and then right at the end a superb Merlin flew through. MP, AM
Short Eared Owl 2, Yellowhammer 17 (2), Chaffinch 5 (1), Chiffchaff 1, Robin 2, Dunnock 2 (2), Linnet 0 (1), Blackbird 3, Great Tit 4, Wren 1

1st April 2017 - Avebury

It has been quite a frustrating few months with bad weather at weekends and then good weather during the week.
This is a very exposed site and the birds can be very difficult to catch in such an open environment and at this site they behave much more warily than other similar sites. We tried a different net set but as the results show, this still was not the solution.
The total of 29 new and 11 retraps is very low for this site when you consider there were over 100 Tree Sparrows, 200 Yellowhammers and 200 Linnets present. MP, GH
Linnet 11, Yellowhammer 8 (1), Chaffinch 2 (1), Greenfinch 3, Tree Sparrow 4 (8), Blue Tit 1, Reed Bunting 0 (1)

25th March 2017 - Thames Valley

This site in the Thames Valley has experienced a crash in numbers of birds and I cannot put my finger on the precise reason but there have been a number of changes in habitat and one or a combination of these has had a dramatic effect. The biggest impact has been on the Tree Sparrows and though we record them on each visit, their numbers are now very low and they appear to be on their way to a local extinction, despite our efforts. The start of the day was very cold but it then warmed up to be a lovely day and with spring migrants arriving across the country it was lovely to catch a couple of Chiffchaffs.
It was just Biff and I for most of the session but Noah then joined us to ring a few birds before we went to plant about 150 trees at Marlborough STW in the afternoon
The morning total of 60 new and 26 retraps is pretty modest by this sites standards but at least good numbers of Yellowhammer persist. MP, AM, NW
Chiffchaff 2, Yellowhammer 36 (1), Reed Bunting 1 (1), Chaffinch 6 (1), Bullfinch 1 (3), Robin 1 (2), Dunnock 7 (7), Blue Tit 1 (2), Great Tit 4 (1), Song Thrush 1 (1), Blackbird 0 (3), Goldcrest 0 (2), Wren 0 (1), House Sparrow 0 (1)

17th March 2017 - Marlborough Downs

What finer way to spend your birthday than ring Tree Sparrows at one of the biggest Tree Sparrow sites on the Marlborough Downs. This site is an expansive garden with lots of feeders. The aim of today was to fit more Tree Sparrows with PIT tags to enable us to identify the individuals using each box and to learn more about pair relationships. We were pretty successful fitting PIT tags to 19 birds. The retrap Tree Sparrows mostly originated from the same site but the furthest movement was of 9km and the oldest bird was two years old. All of these retrap histories build up the picture that enables us to target our conservation efforts for Tree Sparrows.
Crab map 17.3.17
Surprise of the day was a Mistle Thrush which as it turns out is the first adult Mistle Thrush we have ringed since 2004. Mistle Thrushes frequent open parkland and so generally are associated with sites that are not good for ringing which is why we do not catch them. Gary was the lucky chap to ring this bird because none of the more experienced team members were present. After this initial work we then spent the rest of the day refurbishing and putting up nest boxes across the downs. MP, GH
Tree Sparrow 4 (17), House Sparrow 5 (2), Mistle Thrush 1, Song Thrush 1, Stock Dove 1, Chaffinch 7 (4), Goldfinch 14, Greenfinch 2, Dunnock 6 (1), Robin 2 (2), Wren 4, Blackbird 2 (1), Goldcrest 1 (1), Blue Tit 1 (2), Great Tit 2 (1)

12th March 2017 - Swindon STW

Whilst doing some other work one evening I noticed a reasonable Linnet roost of 50 plus going into some brambles. I told the team and they were keen to target them as we do not ring that many Linnets and people wanted to brush up their id skills.
A roost catch is great as it doesn't take that long and the results can be very good compared with the effort put in, and so tonight proved. 17 Linnets and then a control Reed Bunting was a fantastic return for two hours effort. MP, AF, NW, GH
Linnet 17, Reed Bunting 2 (1), Long Tailed Tit (1), Chifchaff 1, Dunnock  1Wren (1)
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