Thursday, 16 May 2013

Robin in early primary moult

Today at a ringing site near Hungerford Jerry caught a female robin which had started primary wing moult.  The moult was symmetrical on both wings (scored 3310000000).

Adults of many resident species undertake a complete "post-breeding" moult, which as the name suggests, occurs after completing their breeding duties. The robin caught today had already begun this moult while still brooding eggs as evidenced by the presence of a well developed and blood engorged brood patch (stage B3).  Robin's also regularly have two or even three clutches so to undertake a "post-breeding" moult this early suggests that this individual will not attempt any further clutches.

Checking through the Groups ringing records shows that since 2007 there have been 11 robins caught which have been in "post-breeding moult".  The earliest a bird has been caught at a stage similar to the bird caught today was on 28th June 2008 (scored 4110000000).

Todays bird is picture below:-

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

May Mistle Thrush

Mistle Thrush are wary birds and rarely are they fooled by mist nets, however, it would appear that when there are hungry chicks to feed they are less alert to their surroundings. Andy caught a bird at his home near Great Shefford on 5th while Jerry caught a bird in his Hungerford garden on 8th May (left Great Shefford, right Hungerford) :-

Sunday, 5 May 2013

"Awesome Day" - Grey Partridge at Downland Organic Farm 5th May

Andy has been ringing birds on a downland organic farm for a couple of years now but in the last couple of weeks he noticed that a pair of Grey Partridge was taking an interest in grain kindly provided by the farm manager.  Grey partridge are more common at this site than most and by marking the birds it may be possible to get a better idea of how many there are and if they are moving far.  So Andy placed a couple of  potter traps in the baited area and as the birds became used to them set them and waited to see what happened.

After the female had entered the first trap Andy only had to wait for a few minutes for the male to enter the second trap. These are the first captures of grey partrdige for the Group, male left, female right.

Friday, 26 April 2013

A couple of "red tailed" migrants turn up in West Berkshire

During the last week of April Andy caught a female redstart at a downland organic farm (23rd) and John caught a nightingale at a site along the river Kennet (26th).

As the pictures show while very different both have a red tail (nightingale on the left)

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Belgium Coal Tit near Hungerford

On 26th Feb 2013 a couple of interesting birds were caught at the same time during a cold spell at our ringing site in the Kennet Valley near Hungerford. A Lesser Redpoll and a Coal Tit which are both "controls", that is they have been ringed at a site more than 5 km from our Hungerford.

The Coal Tit is of particular interest because it is a foreign ringed bird from carrying a Museum of Science,  Brussels, Belgium ring (see photos below).  At the time the winds had been from the east for some days, note the isobars running in from the east on the day of capture on the map below. From the birds plumage it is a bird which hatched last year.  Although closely related and of similar size to the Blue Tit ,the Coal Tit is known to travel considerable distances whereas Blue Tits seldom venture outside that 5 km range.

The Lesser Redpoll may also have travelled some distance. We will have to wait to hear back from the BTO in due course as to the origin of both birds.

Coal Tit

Weather map at time of capture

Thursday, 21 February 2013

An Interesting Siskin Control

In a recent batch of controls from the BTO we were informed that a Siskin ringed in October 2012 near Hungerford, West Berkshire had been reported by a member of the public. A great number of public reports are when birds have been found dead often having collided with windows/cars or after being taken by another predator. This bird was sighted on 5th Jan 2013 in Winterslow near Salisbury in Wiltshire having moved 37Km SSW. I emailed Mr. Richardson to thank him for the report. Craig often photographs birds at his garden feeder and on this occasion there were about 10 Siskins feeding when he noticed the ringed bird. He captured several images and with these was able to piece together the full ring sequence Y881437.

Many thanks to Craig and please take a look through some of his other great photographs at




Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Bird Monitoring Near Hungerford 2012 summary

This and the following images summarise two years of bird monitoring of grazing marsh near Hungerford, Berkshire.

Please note these Red Kite chicks were ringed "Under License" and should not be approached.

We thank the Town & Manor of Hungerford for supporting this Project