04 June 2010

CES with a difference

As you would expect, here at the BTO we take part in our own ringing Constant Effort Site (CES). This is a nationally standardised ringing project where we put the same nets in the same place at the same time of year. This means that the numbers of birds caught are comparable between years and fluctuations in the numbers of adults and young can be monitored.

This morning was session number 4 for the Nunnery Ringing Group and the weather was set to give us some good ringing and we were hoping for a large catch. It turned out that the weather was fabulous but as usual we didn't get great numbers of birds, but we did get some unusual species.

As you might have seen from Springwatch last year, we have Cuckoo on the reserve laying their eggs into Reed Warbler nests, but we have never caught one. This is not surprising, as in 2009 for example only 34 Cuckoo were ringed (13 of which were ringed as chicks) over the whole country. This morning though we caught a female that hatched last year (aged on plumage charateristics)!

Out of the 31 birds we caught this was the highlight but we also caught some great birds including Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Jay and also some recently fledged Dunnock. It is also nice to know that all these birds were caught on a CES session and the results are even more valuable than normal ringing. For more information on CES check out http://www.bto.org/ringing/ringinfo/ces/index.htm

Thanks to all of the ringers that have helped with our CES sessions over the years, Paul Stancliffe for the photo and to Kate Risely for kindly 'volunteering' to ring the Cuckoo.

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