Wednesday, 16 January 2019

First mist netting session for 2019 off to a good start

Yesterday the Group's first mist netting session was a success with 63 birds caught of 14 species. The highlights being a Redwing, rarely caught on the Wetlands and a Teal, although not uncommon is rarely caught in a mist net. The other species were those one would expect, but there was an unusual leucistic Blackbird with several white feathers. Four Bullfinches and seven Long-tailed Tits also graced the catch.


Leucistic male Blackbird

Male Bullfinch

Photographs copyright Mark Wills

Monday, 14 January 2019

First duck catch for 2019

Our first duck catch for 2019 took place at Seaton Marshes on Saturday 12th January and resulted in a reasonable catch of of 54 birds. These included 47 Shelduck, 5 Mallard, 1 Teal and 1 Wigeon. The previous catch in December resulted in a catch of 20 Shelduck of which eleven were retrapped at this latest session. At the time of firing the cannons all except three Shelduck all those present were caught suggesting at least 63 have visited the site so far this winter. The Shelduck is site loyal species. Hopefully we will catch more Wigeon at our last session in February as there are in the region of 50 birds wintering in the vicinity.

Four teams busy processing the catch

Adult male Teal
Photographs Mike Tyler

Wednesday, 26 December 2018

Last sessions for 2018

The Group had two sessions on 16th and 17th December concluding the year's work on the Axe Estuary. The first session was programmed to catch duck with the use of cannon nets and 23 duck were caught comprising of 20 Shelduck and three Teal. Some of the Shelduck were ringed from earlier sessions several years before. They are fairly long lived and site loyal to the Axe Estuary.

The following day the last mist netting session took place and grand total of 54 birds were caught and processed. A good number for the time of the year. Mainly general species, but a Grey Wagtail and three Cetti's Warblers were a nice surprise. Other species included: Blue Tit 15; Great Tit 4; Blackbird 4; Wren 2; Chaffinch 4; Song Thrush 2; Robin 5; Dunnock 5; Goldfinch 3; and Reed Bunting 6.

We start again in earnest on 12th January hopefully with a duck catch.

Adult male Shelduck

Pair of adult Teal

First year Grey Wagtail

Different pose of the same Grey Wagtail

Photographs by Mark Wills and Mike Tyler

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Cetti's Warblers return

At the Group's ringing session yesterday 41 birds were caught of 11 species. These included: Great Tit 3; Dunnock 5; Blue Tit 13; Reed Bunting 3 (see photo); Blackcap 1; Cetti's Warbler 4 (see photo); Chaffinch 1; Goldfinch 8; Robin 1; Wren 1; Blackbird 1. The highlight of these were the four Cetti's Warblers that had deserted us this summer, Hopefully some will stay over the winter and nest in the following spring. The Reed Buntings, all males, looked splendid in winter plumage.

Male Reed Bunting in winter plumage (Photo Mark Wills)

One of the Cetti's Warblers (Photo Mike Tyler)

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

The last Whimbrel!

The Group held its last wader catch for this autumn last evening. Further waders about and the wind increased  so we had to abandon the the session just after high tide. Nevertheless one bird was caught a juvenile female Whimbrel. Not quite what we expected as most would have migrated.

The lonely Whimbrel  (Photo Mike Tylet)

Wednesday, 10 October 2018


Due to bad weather forecast there will be no bird ringing on Saturday 13th October 2018.

Mike Tyler
Group Leader

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Still plenty of Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps

Not expecting to ring many migrants, a surprise was in for the Group last Sunday when 14 Chiffchaffs and 6 Blackcaps were caught. In fact the morning proved to be worthwhile session with 60 birds caught, including two Great Spotted Woodpeckers and a juvenile male Sparrowhawk.