Welcome to this new blog, where you will find regular updates about the exploits and activities of the Axe Estuary Ringing Group. Please browse through all the pages on the blog, where you will find more information about the Group, the area, and how to get involved.
Working today on the Seaton Wetlands, both ringing birds and conducting surveys revealed there were good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers. This was particularly so with Sedge Warblers. Although we only caught five many could be heard singing. Top of the poll today were Reed Warblers with 12 birds out of a total of 30 of ten species. Not too many birds, but a steady flow throughout the morning.
Despite the cold weather in March followed by warm weather this month migrants are now catching up with their movements. Today the Group had a reasonable catch of 33 birds of 11 species. Of these more than half were migrants including, eight Sedge Warblers, six Reed Warblers one Chiffchaff and three Blackcaps. Seeing and hearing them suggesting that summer is not far away.
Today with the wet start was hardly an inducement to conduct a ringing session. It was agreed to start an hour later and we were lucky to enjoy the best weather for several days. This session was important to the Group as we were hosting students from the University Centre Reaseheath, Cheshire. The Ringing Group had been approached to enable them to have an "hands on" experience as part of their ecology and environmental modules.
We were really pleased they found the session informative and enjoyable. They had practicable experience in identification, ringing, and taking biometrics of 28 birds of ten species. The care that is needed to identify the sex of Reed Buntings during the winter and early spring was drawn to their attention. So a very pleasing moment for the Group which has now hosted two groups within nine days.
A happy student group
A pair of Reed Buntings caught together (male on the right) Photographs Mike Tyler
Whenever the Group wished to get 2018 ringing sessions underway it was prevented due to dreadful weather. Anyway two sessions did get underway resulting in 44 birds being caught. The last session on Monday 26th March saw a retrap male Sparrowhawk which was originally ringed on 7th November 2016 as an adult. (See photographs)
That day was also special for the Group which acted as host to a group of members of the North Somerset Birding Group.
At daybreak today 16 hardy souls met on Seaton Marshes to attempt a catch of duck, including our project species, the Shelduck. The catch was relatively small for a cannon net catch, which was as well with a small team of volunteers. Despite the frosty conditions seven Shelduck, all of the species on the lagoon, six Mallard and eleven Wigeon were caught. This was the first catch on our former site for over two years and that is thanks to the Countryside Team, East Devon District Council reviving the habitat for duck. This session concluded our duck research for the year.
A fine male Shelduck (Photo Allan Reese)
Releasing of a Shelduck (Photo Allan Reese)
The magnificent head of a male Wigeon (Photo Mike Tyler)
Measuring head and bill of a female Mallard (Photo Allan Reese)
The team with cannons right in the foreground (Photo Allan Reese)