This has been a record year for the group, with over 4,800 birds ringed and new record totals for 14 species during 2010. The combination of cold spells of weather at both ends of the year, coupled with a good breeding season, has led to high totals of a wide range of species. In both January and December, the large congregation of coot at Southport allowed 660 to be caught of which many were colour ringed, leading to some fascinating rapid movements. Most notable were birds sighted in Leicester and Cornwall within a few weeks of ringing, showing that coot will continue to move large distances during spells of cold weather. With regular reading of colour rings, some birds have begun to show established patterns of movement in successive winters. We hope to analyse these results in more detail after a further season of field observations.
Good numbers of tufted duck were also caught in January, but only a handful of short distance movements within Merseyside has so far been notified. As a spin-off, a rapid cold weather Canada goose movement of 50km across the Pennines was also recorded. Sustained ringing of Canada geese throughout the year led to record totals for this species as well. Later in the year, a new site for catching black-headed gulls by hand was identified which, combined with increased ringing effort at a productive colony, has also led to over 600 being ringed. Concerted efforts at ring reading in the field identified 15 foreign ringed black-headed gulls from 9 countries.
During late spring, the good breeding season with high nest box occupancy allowed record numbers of blue and great tits and tree sparrows to be ringed. Long-tailed tits were also caught in record numbers, showing that many had successfully survived the cold spell. More systematic searching of reed beds, coupled with increased expertise at nest finding, resulted in almost 50 pullus reed warblers being ringed. Later in the year, a new swallow roost was located and although no more than 250 birds were present at any one time, over 500 were caught in several visits. Notable were several retraps of pulli ringed nearby in previous years as well as a control that had moved 200km north-west from a roost in Northamptonshire earlier in the autumn. Increased ringing activity in the reed bed also led to record reed bunting totals.
The setting up of regular feeding stations helped to boost finch numbers and following the good breeding season record totals of goldfinch, bullfinch and chaffinch were ringed, including a rapid movement of one of the latter from Heysham. Good numbers of brambling were present from late September along with more resident species, leading to a record total of these. By December, that even more charismatic visitor from Scandinavia, the waxwing, arrived in force, leading to the capture of a record total of 36 over three days.
Many thanks are due to all landowners for permission to ring at numerous sites during 2010.
2010 Ringing totals.
|Species||Full||Pulli||Retrap / Recov||Total|
|R C Pochard||1||1|
|Black H Gull||106||501||31||638|
|L B B Gull||1||1|
|Long Eared Owl||3||3|
Group members 2010
Steve Christmas, Tim Christmas, Wes Halton, Kane Brides
Charles Findlay, Jenny Cliff & Ciaran Hatsell.