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Latest Sightings.

YELLOW-LEGGED GULL - Westbury Ponds - Mike Smith Green Sandpiper, Hobby, Garden Warbler, 2 Cetti's ...
2 Curlew, 2 Whinchat, 10 Stonechat, Reed Bunting, 15 Corn Bunting, 40 Skylark, 30 Swift, 3 Red Kite ...
2 Spotted Flycatcher - Avebury - Robin Nelson QUAIL - Pewsey Downs - Matt Prior Grasshopper Warble...
2 Green Sandpiper - Langford Lakes - Ben Igglesden Raven, Red Kite, 3 Corn Bunting - Wylye - Bjorn ...
80 Swift, 25 Lapwing - Berwick Bassett Down - Simon Gathercole 7 Sedge Warbler, 2 Reed Warbler, 3 R...
2 Hobby, Green Sandpiper, Cuckoo - Langford Lakes - Ben Igglesden Cetti's Warbler - The Mead, Westb...

April Nesting Summary

The nesting season is now well underway and we had a good April with Tree Sparrows starting a week to ten days earlier than last year. Early indications are that there are more pairs than last year but it is too soon to tell. Some of our sites high on the downs do not yet have Tree Sparrows back on site yet.
Owls seem to be doing okay and we have three pairs of Tawny Owl with eggs, several pairs of Barn Owls on eggs and two pairs of Little Owl with eggs. Kestrels have also started early, we don't have many pairs but our regular birds are earlier than last year.
We have an unusual but very welcome Mistle Thrush nest with three eggs in, in a wall. We do not have many boxes in woodland but our few targeted nest boxes on the Savernake estate are doing very well with a pair of Nuthatch, two pairs of Coal Tit and best of all the pair of Willow Tits are back in our box and have 8 eggs.
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Wilti clutch 002

23rd April 2017 - Pewsey Downs

Last week I saw a fantastic loose flock of Corn Buntings at one of the sites on the downs right next to a rape crop. With the permission of the farmer I scattered some rape and barley into the tramlines and the flock concentrated into a small area. I didn't expect to catch much but if we could catch a Corn Bunting or two it would be a worthwhile session and up on the downs you never know what could turn up.
The day dawned exactly as forecast, cold and flat calm, perfect for this site. As usual the Corn Buntings largely avoided our nets but we did manage to catch three which is excellent and these birds all have darvic rings to enable us to resight them as we drive through the area during the summer. We were surprised by the number of Tree Sparrows that we caught and they contribute further to the RAS project. Right at the end we were caught that bonus bird, a Skylark so on his first ever farmland bird ringing session Terry ringed Corn Bunting, Skylark, Tree Sparrow and Linnet! MP, GH, TL
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WP 20170423 09 15 20 Rich 2
Corn Bunting 3, Skylark 1, Linnet 9, Tree Sparrow 1 (4), Reed Bunting 1

22nd April 2017 - Swindon STW

We try not to ring Swindon STW in April because the BTO prefer us to leave the CES sites in-ringed beforehand if possible. This can be hard because we want to see what is going through at this time of year but thankfully we have enough sites to keep us occupied. For this session today we set nets as far away from the CES area as possible which affected the catch because our nets were in the less favourable areas but it was perfect for us to teach new trainee Terry. I particularly enjoyed watching Biff training Terry, looking at the photo you could be forgiven for thinking that the more senior person was teaching the younger.
WP 20170422 07 06 05 Rich
It was lovely to see our first Lesser Whitethroat of the summer, they are my favourite warbler. MP, AM, TL
WP 20170422 07 11 42 Rich 2
Lesser Whitethroat 1, Whitethroat 1, Blackcap 4, Chiffchaff 2, Reed Warbler 1, Long Tailed Tit 5 (1), Dunnock 5 (4), Robin 2 (1), Blackbird 0 (1), Song Thrush 0 (1), Bullfinch 2, Greenfinch 4

17th April 2017 - SPTA east

The available nesting habitat at this site is extremely limited so I limit my sessions here to April when the finch and bunting flocks are still around and some birds are passing through on migration. Linnets and Yellowhammers are quite hard to retrap but in addition to the really good numbers of new birds ringed, we also retrapped Yellowhammers from 2014, 2015 and two from last summer and we retrapped a Linnet from this time last year. The retrap male Blackcap was very interesting because we originally ringed it as an adult make in August 2013 so he is actually approaching at least five years old.
I was on my own for this session but my friend James who is a local farmer came along to scribe. His timing was perfect as I had just caught our first Grasshopper Warbler of the year and then a really big male Corn Bunting. Using James's local knowledge we set a few spring traps and we were very successful catching two Stonechats and three Wheatears. We have previously only ringed 13 Wheatears in 17 years so this was a real red letter day. MP
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WP 20170417 10 55 43 Rich 2
WP 20170417 12 41 56 Rich 2
Wheatear 3, Stonechat 2, Corn Bunting 1, Linnet 27 (1), Yellowhammer 13 (3), Chaffinch 3, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Blackcap 6 (1), Chiffchaff 2, Dunnock 1 (4), Robin 2 (2), Blackbird 1, Wren 2, Long Tailed Tit 1 (2), Blue Tit 3 (2), Great Tit 3 (4)

16th April 2017 - Pewsey Downs

The game cover at this exposed site is non-existent and our last session here was not very successful and though we were a bit pessimistic with the prospects for this session we continued with it because it is a major site for the Tree Sparrow Retrap Adults for Survival Project. With 12 new and 9 retraps it was a reasonable RAS session. To complete a RAS dataset for the summer the BTO would like us to make 60 adult captures but we are looking to far exceed that to make our dataset much stronger, thus this catch of 21 Tree Sparrows is most useful. Our I had a really good chat with the farmer about feeding farmland birds and I am confident that we will improve the site next year, there are at least 150 Tree Sparrows on site but it is fewer than last year. The first thing I saw was a net bulging with a larger bird and as I ran towards it I saw it was a Grey Partridge and then just as I got to it, it rolled out and flew away to freedom, we don't catch many Greys and it was a shame to have missed it. A Rook was not quite so fortunate, it was caught right by a feeder and so has obviously been ransacking our feeders. A male Whitethroat was singing incessantly and moving around the whole site and managed to evade our nets right until the end of the morning but eventually he got it wrong and was our first of the species ringed this year. MP, PW
Tree Sparrow 12 (9), Yellowhammer 15 (10), Chaffinch 8 (2), Whitethroat 1, Rook 1, Robin 1 (2), Dunnock 2 (1), Great Tit 1

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)
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