Ringing review of 2019

Highlights included record annual totals for Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Robin and Reed Warbler; our 4th Tree Pipit, our 8th and 9th Marsh Tits, and our first brood of Tawny Owls for five years, plus a full grown bird netted in the autumn, equalling our record Tawny Owl year.

Gordon Duns and Roger Emmens were the lucky ringers of these Tawny Owlets

After a disappointing 2018 hit by various instances of bad weather, 2019 was much better and many breeding species bounced back with bumper productivity. Numbers were therefore generally very good for most passerines: indeed, we caught over a thousand birds a month for three consecutive months in June, July and August for the first time in the Group’s sixty year history. The exceptions to the bonanza strangely included the thrushes, and also swallows and sand martins, owing to a lack of roosts in the Autumn – they just didn’t seem to pass through Rye Meads.

The down side was a continued collapse in numbers of wildfowl caught, reflecting a recent history of issues with the South Lagoons adversely affecting the numbers of wildfowl using this area. As always the issues are complex, but the continued presence of illegally introduced carp in the lagoons, an increase in the rate of flow through the sluice and lagoons, and the presence of a large flock of non-breeding Mute Swans during the summer all combine to have a deleterious effect on invertebrate populations and hence our waterbirds. In addition, bank maintenance resulted in fewer breeding sites usable by ducks and so less ducklings in the Lagoons in summer.

By contrast, most wildfowl continue to flourish in the North Lagoons, including a record year for Pochard broods, but sadly we have limited opportunities to catch them there.

The table shows the totals of birds ringed at Rye Meads by species, covering the last two complete calendar years and the grand totals for the Group.

Species1960-201720182019Grand TotalComments
Canada Goose189614209
Mute Swan29863307
Egyptian Goose1313
Shelduck4141
Garganey11
Shoveler4343
Gadwall627187652Second fewest of past 24 years
Mallard2,1313492,174Second fewest of past 46 years
Pintail11
Teal496284528
Pochard44852Only the second blank year since 2005
Tufted Duck9942691,029
Ruddy Duck88
Red-legged Partridge22
Grey Partridge33
Manx Shearwater11
Little Grebe1571158First blank year since 1998
Great Crested Grebe1717
Bittern22
Grey Heron1717
Little Egret11
Gannet11
Shag11
Cormorant66
Sparrowhawk97198Only the second blank year since 1996
Water Rail1431144
Moorhen2,0651712,083
Coot1,2845631,343
Lapwing1131114
Ringed Plover1616
Little Ringed Plover212212
Bar-tailed Godwit11
Ruff11
Dunlin1515
Little Stint11
Woodcock55
Jack Snipe861513114Our second best year after 2018
Snipe28187296
Common Sandpiper271271
Green Sandpiper8888
Solitary Sandpiper11
Redshank2424
Wood Sandpiper22
Greenshank33
Black-headed Gull1,3722873171,976The second best year
Common Gull11
Herring Gull11
Common Tern2,62037352,692
Stock Dove1422212176
Woodpigeon32743334
Turtle Dove7878
Collared Dove712275
Cuckoo9712100
Barn Owl77
Tawny Owl19322Equals 2007 as a record year
Little Owl1010
Long-eared Owl44
Short-eared Owl11
Swift6,9016,901
Kingfisher1,36820231,411
Wryneck55
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker2828
Great Spotted Woodpecker16722171
Green Woodpecker961198
Kestrel11726125Best year since 1998
Hobby11
Great Grey Shrike22
Jay14035148
Magpie4552417496
Jackdaw11
Carrion Crow189189
Coal Tit241530A record year! They aren't common here
Marsh Tit6129Our 8th and 9th Marsh Tits
Willow Tit430430
Blue Tit11,08826845211,808A record year
Great Tit9,0842893519,724Our third best year
Bearded Tit162162
Skylark268268
Sand Martin7,3391727,358
Swallow6,5537876,638
House Martin7,787907,877
Cetti's Warbler3831563461Our third best year
Long-tailed Tit3,795741163,985
Wood Warbler22
Willow Warbler8,71318248,755
Chiffchaff8,7501423449,236
Sedge Warbler23,82519038624,401
Reed Warbler17,01035170418,065A record year
Grasshopper Warbler1111112
Savi's Warbler11
Blackcap11,74830050412,552Our second best year after 2015
Garden Warbler3,42822543,504
Barred Warbler22
Lesser Whitethroat2,79423302,847
Whitethroat5,032941235,249
Firecrest1313
Goldcrest9102231963
Wren6,633691436,845
Nuthatch1212
Treecreeper40665417
Starling3,241253,266
Ring Ouzel11
Blackbird7,80275667,943Equal fewest since 2006
Fieldfare57251578
Redwing1,04117151,073
Song Thrush4,64525234,693Second fewest since 1997
Mistle Thrush2020
Spotted Flycatcher1071108
Robin3,784801233,987Our best year for Robins
Bluethroat11
Nightingale1414
Pied Flycatcher77
Black Redstart44
Redstart1414
Whinchat57158First Whinchat for 19 years
Stonechat681574One short of the 2001 record
Wheatear4141
Dipper11
House Sparrow3,8733,873
Tree Sparrow4,9584,958
Dunnock7,630701317,831
Yellow Wagtail1,54351,548Best since 1995
Grey Wagtail3705375First blank year since 1991
Pied Wagtail4,07954,084
Meadow Pipit1,408771,422
Tree Pipit314Our fourth Tree Pipit
Water Pipit39140
Rock Pipit22
Chaffinch3,55228153,595
Brambling1621163
Hawfinch22
Bullfinch3,229563,240
Greenfinch11,21111511,227
Linnet5,62515,626
Lesser Redpoll8201821
Goldfinch3,0732361673,476Down on recent years but still 4th best total
Siskin8383
Corn Bunting231231
Yellowhammer1,631311,662Best total for 30 years
Little Bunting11
Reed Bunting9,214641489,426Best since 2004
Total ringed244,4903,3244,637252,451An above average year despite the dearth of wildfowl
Number of species1406564141
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