Ringing Review of 2020

Given the restricted activities due to site closures and social distancing, it's not surprising that the ringing total was low; but there were still some highlights.

Ringing and Results

Ringing Review of 2020

Given the restrictions imposed on the group’s activities in terms of site access – four of our five most used net sites and all but one duck trap were not accessible from March onwards – and the limit on the number of people allowed on the RSPB and HMWT reserves at any one time as a result of the pandemic, it will come as no surprise that the ringing total of 1,877 is our second lowest ever, the lowest (179) being when the group started in 1961.  We ringed 56 species, meaning the year joins 1991 as having the fourth lowest species total. (Report by Jan Swan)

A Barn Owlet is held after ringing.
A Barn Owl chick newly ringed (Photo: Hanako Ward).

The lack of access to all bar one of our duck traps is highly evident from the totals of waterfowl; we just about managed to get Teal and Mallard on the ringing sheets although three of the Teal were caught in mist nets, rather than the duck trap behind the scrape.

Another surprise in the nets was our first Grey Heron since 1999.  We also caught and colour-ringed two more Green Sandpipers; the first after two blank years.  Both birds have a RED colour code ring on the left leg above the knee and on the right leg above the knee either DARK GREEN over BLACK or DARK GREEN over WHITE; so keep your eyes peeled as and when you’re eventually allowed back in the hides, and please let us know if you see any colour ringed birds.

2020 saw us ring two Barn Owl chicks; our first since 2012 and it’s only the seventh year we’ve ringed the species.  As might be expected we were unable to monitor the nestboxes on site due to the timing of the first lockdown, which is clear from the much-reduced Blue Tit and Great Tit numbers.

Reed Warbler is still making its slow, steady ascent to most-ringed species and still took top spot for the year with 411.

Some other good news species: the 41 Redwings we ringed is our best total since 2003, and the 25 Lesser Redpolls ringed is our best total for eight years.  The Yellowhammer total is also in keeping with last years’.

With no access to the South Lagoons the south CES wasn’t carried out.  However, thanks to a concerted effort between group members we completed visits seven to 12 of the official visits in the north CES.  So, all is not lost; the data we collected can still contribute to the records collated and used by the BTO.

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.

Species1960-201820192020Grand TotalComments
Canada Goose195141210
Mute Swan30432309
Egyptian Goose1313
Shelduck4141
Garganey11
Shoveler4343
Gadwall6457652
Mallard2,165912,175
Pintail11
Teal52444532
Pochard5252
Tufted Duck1,02091,029
Ruddy Duck88
Red-legged Partridge22
Grey Partridge33
Manx Shearwater11
Little Grebe158158
Great Crested Grebe1717
Bittern22
Grey Heron17118Our first ringed on site for 22 years
Little Egret11
Gannet11
Shag11
Cormorant66
Sparrowhawk982100
Water Rail14312146
Moorhen2,082122,085
Coot1,340311,344
Lapwing1131114
Ringed Plover1616
Little Ringed Plover212212
Bar-tailed Godwit11
Ruff11
Dunlin1515
Little Stint11
Woodcock55
Jack Snipe1011310124
Snipe28974300
Common Sandpiper271271
Green Sandpiper88290
Solitary Sandpiper11
Redshank2424
Wood Sandpiper22
Greenshank33
Black-headed Gull1,6593171742,150
Common Gull11
Herring Gull11
Common Tern2,6573572,699
Stock Dove164125181
Woodpigeon33132336
Turtle Dove7878
Collared Dove73275
Cuckoo9822102
Barn Owl729First since 2012
Tawny Owl19322
Little Owl1010
Long-eared Owl44
Short-eared Owl11
Swift6,9016,901
Kingfisher1,38823101,421
Wryneck55
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker2828
Great Spotted Woodpecker16922173
Green Woodpecker97198
Kestrel1196125
Hobby11
Great Grey Shrike22
Jay14351149
Magpie479171497
Jackdaw11
Carrion Crow189189
Coal Tit255131Only our 31st Coal Tit!
Marsh Tit729
Willow Tit430430
Blue Tit11,35645212211,930
Great Tit9,373351599,783
Bearded Tit162162
Skylark268268
Sand Martin7,3562257,383
Swallow6,6317316,669
House Martin7,8777,877
Cetti's Warbler3986345506A total we've only beaten four times
Long-tailed Tit3,869116364,021
Wood Warbler22
Willow Warbler8,73124168,771
Chiffchaff8,8923441529,388
Sedge Warbler24,01538626724,668
Reed Warbler17,36170441118,476
Grasshopper Warbler11112114
Savi's Warbler11
Blackcap12,04850410512,657
Garden Warbler3,45054113,515
Barred Warbler22
Lesser Whitethroat2,8173012,848
Whitethroat5,126123355,284
Firecrest1313
Goldcrest932318971
Wren6,702143526,897
Nuthatch1212
Treecreeper41252419
Starling3,2412513,267
Ring Ouzel11
Blackbird7,87766227,965
Fieldfare57711579
Redwing1,05815411,114Our best since 2003 and eighth best in 61 years
Song Thrush4,6702374,700
Mistle Thrush2020
Spotted Flycatcher108108
Robin3,864123454,032
Bluethroat11
Nightingale1414
Pied Flycatcher77
Black Redstart44
Redstart1414
Whinchat571159
Stonechat69574
Wheatear4141
Dipper11
House Sparrow3,8733,873
Tree Sparrow4,9584,958
Dunnock7,700131207,851
Yellow Wagtail1,54351,548
Grey Wagtail3751376
Pied Wagtail4,07954,084
Meadow Pipit1,415711,423
Tree Pipit314
Water Pipit4040
Rock Pipit22
Chaffinch3,5801513,596
Brambling163163
Hawfinch22
Bullfinch3,23463,240Our first ever blank year
Greenfinch11,2121511,227Like Bullfinch, we've never had a blank year before
Linnet5,6265,626
Lesser Redpoll82125846Best since 2012, second best since 1988
Goldfinch3,30916743,480
Siskin8383
Corn Bunting231231
Yellowhammer1,63131291,691After last year, second best since 1989
Little Bunting11
Reed Bunting9,278148599,485
Total ringed247,8144,6371,877254,328Total reflects restricted operations due to Covid-19
Number of species1416456141

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