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)
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.
|Great Crested Grebe||17||17|
|Grey Heron||17||1||18||Our first ringed on site for 22 years|
|Little Ringed Plover||212||212|
|Barn Owl||7||2||9||First since 2012|
|Lesser Spotted Woodpecker||28||28|
|Great Spotted Woodpecker||169||2||2||173|
|Great Grey Shrike||2||2|
|Coal Tit||25||5||1||31||Only our 31st Coal Tit!|
|Cetti's Warbler||398||63||45||506||A total we've only beaten four times|
|Redwing||1,058||15||41||1,114||Our best since 2003 and eighth best in 61 years|
|Bullfinch||3,234||6||3,240||Our first ever blank year|
|Greenfinch||11,212||15||11,227||Like Bullfinch, we've never had a blank year before|
|Lesser Redpoll||821||25||846||Best since 2012, second best since 1988|
|Yellowhammer||1,631||31||29||1,691||After last year, second best since 1989|
|Total ringed||247,814||4,637||1,877||254,328||Total reflects restricted operations due to Covid-19|
|Number of species||141||64||56||141|