Tring Ringing Group

Tring Water Treatment Works bird ringing report for 2015

Species                                                      
New
Pulli
Retraps
Total
Green Woodpecker
1
0
0
1
Wren*
7
0
11
18
Dunnock*
4
0
8
12
Robin*
17
0
11
28
Blackbird*
7
0
5
12
Song Thrush*
6
0
2
8
Cetti's Warbler(*)
1
0
0
1
Reed Warbler*
6
11
7
24
Blackcap*
18
0
3
21
Chiffchaff*
7
0
6
13
Willow Warbler
1
0
0
1
Goldcrest
2
0
2
4
Long-tailed Tit*
3
0
2
5
Blue Tit*
7
17
11
35
Great Tit*
3
6
4
13
Chaffinch
4
0
0
4
Redpoll (Common/Lesser)
1
0
0
1
Bullfinch*
6
0
1
7
Totals
101
34

73
208
*Confirmed Breeding species - pulli ringed or adult with brood patch trapped
Song Thrush, Dunnock and Bullfinch are valuable breeding species; the latest Birds of Conservation Concern report lists these three as red or amber listed due to long term declines in the breeding population. The report can be looked at here http://www.bto.org/sites/default/files/u12/bocc3.pdf
Cetti’s Warbler definitely bred in the locality as a very young juvenile cetti was trapped on 26th July.
We usually catch higher numbers of Blackcaps and Chiffchaff but this year we did not do any trapping in the prime migration months of August and September. The Blackcaps and Chiffchaff we caught were all local breeding birds and their offspring, the first juvenile blackcaps appeared in July and the first chiffchaff juveniles were in early June.
A chiffchaff nest was located in May with 3 eggs but sadly it was predated, possibly by a Tawny Owl that was seen on the ground near the nest site. Seven Reed Warbler nests were located in the reed bed and 11 nestlings were ringed, two of these birds were later retrapped at Wilstone and Marsworth reservoirs after fledging.
Three of the tit boxes were replaced with boxes bought by FoTR but it was a very poor breeding season for tits. Four boxes were taken by Blue Tits laying quite large clutches with a total of 32 eggs but only 5 chicks survived to fledge, the rest dying mostly at the young chick stage presumably from lack of food. One box held Great Tits and four chicks survived from a small brood of seven. (It is tempting to make a link with the poor moth trapping results, see later.)
Robins nested at the site and seemed to do well, we caught 24 individuals (7 adults and 17 juveniles). Blackbirds are also much in evidence, although we did not locate any nests we caught 4 adult males and 6 adult females in May which indicates a healthy breeding population.
The Kestrels suffered disaster again. Last year the eggs were predated by squirrels, this year the box fell off the tree in the strong gales at the end of May and was found on the ground with four smashed eggs. An alternative box, safe from squirrels had already been erected on the brick building near the old nest site. We hoped they would take to it but unfortunately the birds had preferred to nest in the old box.
We cleared a grey squirrel drey out of the Barn Owl box.
In total 15 nest record cards were submitted to the British Trust for Ornithology.
In July we caught one of the resident Green Woodpeckers with a new net site along the back edge by the canal.
Moth Trapping
We only managed two visits in 2015 and results were very poor. The visits on 10/6/2015 and 8/8/2015 produced a total of 43 moths of 25 species. We do not know why the catch was so low.

Some interesting recoveries:
V530486 juvenile Dunnock (3J) ringed 31/5/2009 at TWTW
Retrapped as breeding male (6M) at TWTW on 15/5/2015 (5 years and 349 days later)

X858477 juvenile Blue Tit (3J) ringed 6/9/2010 at TWTW
Retrapped as breeding female (6F) at TWTWon 23/5/2015 (4 years and 259 days later)

Y635057 nestling Reed Warbler ringed 10/7/2013 at TWTW
Retrapped as breeding male (4M) at TWTW on 23/5/2015 (1 year 317 days later)

Y275322 juvenile Reed Warbler ringed 31/7/2011 at Marsworth
Retrapped as breeding male (4M) at TWTW on 15/5/2015 (3 years 288 days later)


Lynne Lambert (Tring Ringing Group)







·        All CES visits completed for the 30th year at Wilstone and Marsworth and show a much better breeding season than the last two years.
·        Tern rafts at Wilstone vital for displaced Common Terns – 52 chicks ringed
·        Cetti’s Warblers back breeding successfully at Wilstone and Marsworth
·        A good year for Cuckoos at the reservoirs
·        Record numbers of Meadow Pipits ringed at Wilstone



A Summary of the 2014 Breeding Season at the Reservoirs

The long established Heronry had 15 nests this year and is now in the lower willow scrub.  The tall tree on the west of Drayton Bank was taken over by the cormorants and held 16 active cormorant nests. A pair of Little Egrets raised 4 young in a vacated Grey Heron nest later on in the season.
Following last year’s unsuccessful first attempt, Oystercatchers fledged 2 young on the largest of the tern rafts at Wilstone and at least 1 juvenile was seen on the reservoir bank with the adults. The Common Terns, after a late influx, colonised all the rafts and produced at least 60 chicks with 52 being ringed. Many birds seem to have moved from College Lake as in previous years after predation, probably by mink.
Two juvenile Tawny Owls were caught in the nets at Wilstone, which shows that Tawny Owls certainly bred, although not in the nest boxes provided. While at Marsworth, one of the new nest boxes designed for Barn Owls held Tawnys and 3 chicks were ringed. Barn Owls roosted in another box, but did not attempt to breed and later in the year the box was used by Stock Doves .
The Red Kites did not return to last year’s nest site and did not breed on the reserve. Common Buzzards however did breed close by, with young often seen with parent birds over the trees. And the Chinese Water Deer, often seen around the reed beds at Wilstone, raised six young this year.
Cuckoos were very evident with 5 birds being seen together at once, 2 of which were females. A male Cuckoo was ringed on 8th June at Wilstone and a juvenile was ringed in a Reed Warbler’s nest at FoTR’s own reserve at the Tring Water Treatment Works. Water Rails also bred, chicks being seen within a known territory.  Cetti’s Warblers raised at least 2 young at Wilstone for the first time in a few years, where a male from Marsworth paired with a new female of uncertain origin and Marsworth had two pairs and at least 4 young.
The CES season runs from May 1st until August 31st. This long-running scheme, the Constant Effort Sites scheme, which was pioneered at Tring, uses catches made in a standardised way - about twelve visits each breeding season - from over 100 sites across the UK, including Tring Reservoirs. The results are used to measure changing population sizes, breeding success and annual survival rates for 25 common breeding songbirds.
This year’s surveys at Tring showed that our resident species, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Great Tit had a more productive year than last. Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit fared the same as 2013 but much better than 2012. Treecreepers and Reed Buntings were down in numbers though. Kingfishers appeared to have had two broods at Marsworth where 8 birds were ringed but only 2 were ringed at Wilstone.
With the migrants, Sedge Warblers had an average year as did Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff. Garden Warblers did not occupy any of their usual territories and therefore no adults were caught. Blackcaps did exceptionally well, even taking in to account the general early departure of summer migrants moving through the reserve, with 117 juveniles being ringed at Wilstone compared to 54 in 2013.
The good numbers of resident juveniles early in the season led to hopes of a bumper breeding season but as it progressed it became apparent that the migrant species had not had such a successful time and the year levelled out into being average, but still a welcome improvement on the last 2 years’ performance.






CES Ringing

Data from Tring Reservoirs contributes to the national analysis by the BTO.
The Constant Effort Sites have been in operation at Wilstone and Marsworth Reservoirs since the scheme began in 1985, that’s 30 years of ringing with the same footage of net, at the same times of year, for a set number of hours. And approximately 7,560 volunteer hours!

2014 Wilstone report:

All 12 visits completed plus 6 additional visits included in the CES submission.
The first 2 sessions in May produced average catches of 31 and 42 birds, however the next on the 25th produced a total of 81 [the 10 year mean being 46.8]. The following 6 sessions also produced above the average mean [99, 97, 95, 102, 114 and 114 respectively] until the August visits 10 and 11 produced below than average catches. Only the final visit 12 returned above the normal at 113.
The average catch per CES session for 2014 was 86.25 birds handled, the third highest after 2004 [108.25] and 2011 [87.33].
Adult abundance and productivity figures for the Wilstone CES season 2014 largely mirrored the preliminary national CES results for the year. Comparing the year with 2013, we had significant increases in the numbers of Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Goldcrest, but a significant decrease in Whitethroat, Garden Warblers and Willow Warblers.
Four species not usually appearing in the CES list for the year were Water Rail, Cuckoo, Starling and the first Green Sandpiper to be ringed at the reservoirs.

2014 Marsworth report:
CES season started at Marsworth on 4th May with a good catch of 34 birds. A surprise was a female Fieldfare, which should have been long gone back to its breeding grounds in Scandinavia. Male and female Cuckoos were calling, (and were heard right up to the end of June).
We started catching juvenile birds in CES 2 (2 weeks earlier than in 2013). These were resident birds: Dunnock, Robin, Long-tailed Tits and Reed Bunting that had got off to a good start after a wet but mild winter.
The good weather continued and all 12 sessions were completed.
It ended as a good but unspectacular season as a result of many species still catching up after two successive poor years. The percentage of juvenile birds in the catch was the best since 2009 (62%) and hopefully if we have another mild winter we will start next season with more breeding adults. 
Marsworth and National results compared
Bullfinch
Marsworth: Increase
National: increase
Nationally Bullfinch experienced their most productive year on record (56% increase).
Robin
Marsworth: Increase
National: increase
Double the average number of adults gave us twice as many juveniles as usual. Nationally, high numbers of Robins and Wrens survived the wet but mild 2013/14 winter.
Reed Warbler
Marsworth: Increase
National: decrease
Good numbers of reed warblers returning to breed at Marsworth and good breeding success.  But nationally there was an 8% decrease in numbers of adults.
Sedge Warbler
Marsworth:  Increase
National: decrease
 Individual birds were up 28% on 5 year average. Nationally a decrease of -20%.
Treecreeper
Marsworth: Decrease
National: Stable
This was the only species showing a statistically significant drop at Marsworth. Only 3 captures when we usually catch around 8. Nationally there was no change. (Goldcrest numbers have also not yet recovered from the 2 severe winters of 2012 and 2013.)
Chiffchaff 
Marsworth: Increase
National: decrease
Chiffchaff had a great breeding season. Starting with a below average number of adults we had 61 juvenile captures compared to an average of 55. In contrast the national picture blamed the increase in numbers of adults for a reduction in productivity, due to increased competition. This was not the case at Marsworth which obviously still has space for more Chiffchaffs!
Great Tit
Marsworth: increase
National: increase
 Numbers remained depressed at the start of the year – only 2 adults (average 8) but a good breeding season helped to get numbers back up. The same picture was true for Blackcap, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Long-tailed Tit, Reed Bunting and Song Thrush. This was in line with the national results. As elsewhere, the early start to the breeding season probably allowed many of these birds to have repeat broods.



GENERAL RINGING AT TRING RESERVOIRS
Wilstone:

We had 2 Oystercatcher chicks and 52 Common Tern chicks ringed on the rafts plus 1 adult Tern. 103 Meadow Pipits were ringed between the 7th of September and the 30th of November. Redwings totalled 64, 83% more than 2013.
The Red Kites did not nest but Little Egrets returned with 4 young being raised in an empty Grey Heron nest late in the season. Unfortunately it proved too unsafe to ring them as they were too large when we visited the nest.
2014 was a good year for Cuckoo numbers at Wilstone,  there being  5 individuals present at any one time,  usually 2 females and 3 males, one of which was caught in net ride one.  May and early June brought a good number of Swifts to Wilstone to feed, but the right conditions for catching them proved problematic and only one evening catch was possible resulting in 61 birds being ringed.
The last bird to be handled in 2014 was a Grey Wagtail, the first for a good few years.

Marsworth:

The table below shows the totals of new ringed birds (i.e. not including retraps) at Marsworth since 1996. New species in 2014 include Tawny Owl, Grey Wagtail, Redstart, Fieldfare and a Firecrest.
2014 is the first year that we did not catch any Garden Warblers.
We spent some time targeting the Reed Buntings that use the reed bed at Marsworth for a winter roost. Seed was provided and we managed to ring 107 new birds. Hopefully these will lead to some recoveries to build a picture of where the large numbers of buntings that use the reed bed are from.  We also started trapping Water Rails and caught 4 birds.
Finally, in December we started putting two 100m stretches of boardwalk down net rides 1 & 2. HMWT bought wood and materials and Paul Thrush with 3 HMWT wardens/trainees met up with members of TRG to install the much needed walk way.  The net rides have now been in the same place for 40 years and constant walking up and down the rides has made them treacherously muddy and quite dangerous. The boardwalk is planned for completion by March 2015.






 
Tawny Owl chick at Marsworth 2014



Interesting Recoveries of Birds ringed and recovered at Tring Reservoirs in 2014: 




2014 report on Tring Water Treatment Works. 


Totals Summary for Tring Water Treatment Works 2014

 

Full grown
Pulli
Retraps
Total
Sparrowhawk
1
0
0
1
Stock Dove
1
0
0
1
Cuckoo
0
1
0
1
Kingfisher
1
0
0
1
Meadow Pipit
3
0
0
3
Pied/White Wagtail
0
3
0
3
Wren
11
0
2
13
Dunnock
4
0
3
7
Robin
14
0
11
25
Blackbird
6
0
1
7
Song Thrush
5
0
0
5
Sedge Warbler
1
0
0
1
Reed Warbler
2
4
2
8
Whitethroat
1
0
1
2
Blackcap
50
0
2
52
Chiffchaff
24
0
4
28
Goldcrest
2
0
0
2
Long-tailed Tit
9
0
3
12
Blue Tit
9
11
7
27
Great Tit
7
5
3
15
Bullfinch
1
0
0
1
Annual Total:
152
24
39
215

Sparrowhawk ringed at TWTW 14/9/2014 by Adam Light

It was quite a varied and successful year at TWTW in 2014. We made 8 visits to the Thames Water/FoTR reserve during the breeding season and early autumn for general ringing plus a few additional visits for nest recording.
May started well with a pair of Whitethroats caught on the first visit. The male already had a ring and turned out to be the same bird that was caught here on 10/7/2013. He was an adult last year so he has travelled to Africa and back at least twice.
We also ringed a brood of 11 blue tits and a brood of 5 great tits from boxes on the reserve.
Another visit on 26th May was much quieter but we did catch an adult female Kingfisher obviously using the lagoon for food.
In June we located a reed warbler and a pied wagtail nest and ringed broods of 4 and 3 nestlings respectively.
In total we submitted 12 nest record cards to the BTO for nests on the reserve but the most exciting find was a cuckoo egg which had been laid in a reed warbler nest. A visit on 21/6/2014 found only the newly hatched cuckoo chick left in the nest after it must have ditched the reed warbler eggs and eight days later it was big enough to ring. All the signs were that it fledged successfully.
Sadly the Kestrel was not successful. The clutch of 6 eggs was found kicked out of the nest by Grey Squirrels just before they hatched. FoTR have paid for a new box to go up on one of the buildings where the Kestrels will be safe from squirrel predation, if they take to the box.
In August we discovered a Stock Dove nesting in the Barn Owl box, which was a first for the site.
September was characterised by a good passage of Blackcaps and Chiffchaff. On the 14th September we caught a juvenile Sparrowhawk along with 13 Chiffchaff and 7 Blackcaps. At the end of September we managed to tape lure 3 Meadow Pipits and were still catching Blackcaps and Chiffchaff finishing up with a total of 50 new Blackcaps and 24 new Chiffchaff ringed.


Cuckoo chick – probably 1 day old by Lynne Lambert

And eight days later…
Report and photographs by Lynne Lambert

 Wednesday 16th April 2014.
Lynne Lambert - Tring Ringing Group Report for Liaison Meeting on 8th April 2014

2013/14 Winter Ringing
We have been attempting to target more Reed Buntings (and Corn Bunting) from the roost that uses the reed beds at Marsworth and Wilstone during the winter months.

Winter 11/12 78 captures (5 sessions) plus 2 corn buntings
Winter 12/13 39 captures (1 session) plus 3 corn buntings
Winter 13/14 85 captures (5 sessions) plus 2 corn buntings

Hope that these will eventually lead to some interesting recoveries to show us where all the birds come from.

Good numbers of Redwing were caught at Wilstone at the end of 2013.

Spring 2014

Summer visitors have started to arrive Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are singing around the reservoirs. Sand Martins and Swallows have arrived.

The Tern rafts have been raked and one has string across to prevent Geese from taking over. Common Terns due to arrive in the next week. A pair of Oystercatchers appears to be planning on nesting on one of the rafts again (Possibly the same pair as last year).

Reports across the country indicate that residents have started nesting early this year.

Last week we caught a second male Cetti’s Warbler and two new females at Marsworth, so hopefully there will be successful breeding this year.
A Barn Owl has been seen coming out of the box at Marsworth.

Heronry survey:
Count of 15 Heron nests and 16 Cormorant nests. 3 Little Egrets have been seen recently around Wilstone reservoir, no sign of Little Egret nest yet but they do nest later and have escaped notice before. The large tree that the Cormorants took over from the Herons has died and they have moved into one of the last large trees along the front side of Drayton Bank. The Herons have moved into the lower willow scrub and are having a successful year, there are more nests than last year’s low (12)  - probably the high water levels have made the willow safer and therefore a more attractive nest site. Nesting has also been early this year with chicks already quite well-grown.

Lynne Lambert


 15th October 2013.

A few interesting records of our birds from this year:

We have just had news that a juvenile Chiffchaff ringed at Marsworth in August 2011 was trapped near Madrid on 10th November 2011. This is a distance of 1,445 km in a maximum of 88 days (by a bird that weighed just 6.9g when we caught it.)

A juvenile Blackcap ringed last July at Marsworth was caught this spring 976 km north-east of here, in Denmark. Many UK Blackcaps spend the winter in southern Spain or NE Africa. This bird must have been travelling back up through Europe north to breed and instead of crossing the channel to England, carried on up to Denmark.

Another interesting bird was a Reed Warbler ringed at Wilstone on 5th May 2013 that was trapped down in Titchfield Haven in Hampshire on 11/7/2013. He was probably a failed breeder going south so early, most of the breeding adults in the reed beds here will try for two broods and will not start to leave their nest sites until the end of July.

Little Egret ringed at Wilstone on 1st September 2013


Constant Effort Site Ringing:

All 12 visits were completed at Wilstone and Marsworth sites. Juveniles were late in appearing, we didn't start catching this year’s young until session 4 (early June) usually we start catching the first young birds 2 – 3 weeks earlier.

Reed Warblers had a good year, Although they were late in arriving, they had a good breeding season.
The birds which have probably fared worst this year were those that breed earlier and suffered in the cold spring. Long-tailed Tits numbers are very low. Blue Tits and Great Tits that only have one breeding attempt a year did not do very well.

Other news:
A pair of Red Kite bred at the reservoirs for the first time. The nest at Wilstone reservoir produced one chick that was ringed with the help of a climber.

Barn Owls attempted to breed in one of the new boxes that we have put up behind Marsworth reservoir but deserted the eggs. Nationally a very poor year for owls due to lack of mammal prey. The good news is however that a pair have found the box and obviously like the site.

A few pairs of Common Terns bred on the tern rafts at Wilstone and we ringed 2 chicks. A pair of Oystercatcher also nested on one of the rafts. There were two chicks, one died but the other one fledged successfully. It was fed by the adults carrying food (earthworms) across to the raft.

Cetti’s Warblers have started to come back after the last few cold winters had virtually wiped them out. We trapped one male, originally ringed in 2009 that has managed to survive another year and we ringed 5 new juvenile Cetti’s this summer.
Common Swift ringed at Startopsend on 17th May 2013

Thanks to Lynne Lambert for this update.

 2012
Tring Ringing Group Species Totals for 2012 
(All Tring Ringing Group sites)

Fully Grown
Adults
Juvenile 3/3J
unknown age
Pulli
Retraps
New for Year
Total
Mute Swan 3 2 1 3 3
Sparrowhawk 2 1 1 1 2 3
Kestrel 1 1 1 1
Water Rail 2 2 2 2
Snipe 1 1 1 1
Common Tern 0 0 7 7 7
Stock Dove 1 0 1 3 4 4
Wood Pigeon 3 2 1 3 3
Collared Dove 1 0 1 1 1
Tawny Owl 1 1 11 12 12
Swift 40 40 2 1 43 43
Kingfisher 7 2 5 3 9 10
Great Spotted Woodpecker 17 6 11 7 19 24
Swallow 3 2 1 24 27 27
House Martin 6 5 1 6 6
Meadow Pipit 2 0 2 2 2
Yellow Wagtail 114 28 83 3 3 115 117
Grey Wagtail 1 0 1 1 1
Pied/White Wagtail 23 6 17 1 24 24
Wren 166 34 132 91 195 257
Dunnock 115 50 63 2 3 86 148 204
Robin 176 44 132 10 108 202 294
Blackbird 102 62 40 4 61 135 167
Fieldfare 1 1 1 1
Song Thrush 46 28 18 19 55 65
Redwing 16 6 10 16 16
Cetti's Warbler 3 0 3 11 6 14
Grasshopper Warbler 1 1 2 2 3
Sedge Warbler 87 36 51 2 32 93 121
Reed Warbler 321 119 202 1 156 382 478
Lesser Whitethroat 6 3 3 3 6 9
Whitethroat 29 18 11 21 34 50
Garden Warbler 25 18 7 7 26 32
Blackcap 407 127 279 1 1 113 446 521
Chiffchaff 245 62 182 1 108 268 353
Willow Warbler 99 28 70 1 21 102 120
Goldcrest 70 15 55 41 76 111
Long-tailed Tit 130 40 36 54 110 168 240
Marsh Tit 6 0 6 10 10 16
Coal Tit 17 10 7 8 2 25 27
Blue Tit 449 228 221 44 227 539 720
Great Tit 274 147 127 23 150 333 447
Nuthatch 10 0 5 5 4 10 14
Treecreeper 19 4 14 1 13 22 32
Jay 5 4 1 5 5
Magpie 2 1 1 2 2
Starling 9 4 4 1 9 9
House Sparrow 15 8 7 2 15 17
Tree Sparrow 14 14 1 15 15
Chaffinch 125 108 16 1 16 132 141
Greenfinch 100 67 31 2 2 100 102
Goldfinch 344 298 45 1 58 345 402
Siskin 3 3 3 3
Lesser Redpoll 79 25 53 1 4 80 83
Bullfinch 50 20 30 48 73 98
Yellowhammer 33 33 4 34 37
Reed Bunting 114 94 16 4 54 144 168
Corn Bunting 3 3 3 3
Totals: 3944 1862 2003 79 143 1601 4542
5688









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