West Wilts Ringing Group: August 2020 Results

Another excellent month for the group. The stand out bird has to be the Long-eared Owl! 

Photo: Dr Ian Grier

Or perhaps it was the Nightjar:

Photo: Dr Ian Grier (note the second bird flying across in the background)

Apart from those cracking birds, the number of Sedge Warbler, Robin and Reed Bunting caught are the only numbers that are significantly up. Significantly down are the numbers of new Blue Tit and Greenfinch ringed. The Greenfinch count in 2019 was spiked by a huge catch of 22 at Meadow Farm on the 8th August which was not replicated this year.

A slightly lower average catch but a 7 species difference between this year and last.

We can discount the Barn Owls and the Stock Doves from last year: they were nestlings ringed in the nest box and, as a result of various unforeseen circumstances, I did not get out to any owl boxes this August.  The 2019 Skylark was a lucky catch for me at Blakehill.  The Jay was a one-off at Lower Moor Farm and the Green Woodpecker was a regular catch missing so far at Lower Moor this year.

By contrast, the aforementioned Long-eared Owl and the Nightjar came courtesy of Salisbury Plain; it was great to get back to catching Whinchat and Stonechat on Blakehill Farm and Swallows and Redstart shared between Salisbury Plain and Blakehill Farm, rather unevenly shared in favour of Salisbury Plain.  

Stonechat (courtesy of Steph Buggins)
Whinchat (courtesy of Steph Buggins)

I was happy to catch a juvenile Jackdaw in a walk-in trap in the garden.  This is the second that I have caught in my garden, the previous one being soon after I got my C-permit back in 2012. We don’t catch many: only 5 caught in the last 9 years, apart from the youngsters ringed in nest boxes. so it is an unusual catch for me.

September is a busy month for us, with autumn migration boosting the numbers at Blakehill and on Salisbury Plain. Hopefully we will have some more exciting catches this year!