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.

Wednesday 26 September 2018

A few waders!

The Axe Estuary is not conducive to catching large numbers of waders, but that has never stopped the Group from occasionally carrying out autumn catches. Last evening was our fist autumn session this year and eight birds were caught. Not many, but double the number compared with 2017. The terrain is difficult to work on, especially during darkness. On the high tide two Curlews were caught, one a juvenile. All the other birds were juveniles including four male Black-tailed Godwits that were colour ringed, one Green Sandpiper and a male Whimbrel. 

It is hoped to try another session before the end of October.

Colour ringed Black-tailed Godwit

Juvenile male Whimbrel

Juvenile Curlew

Photos Mike Tyler 

Friday 14 September 2018

Fewer migrants

Our session on Tuesday started quietly and gradually gathered pace. Thirty-seven birds were caught, but only seven migrants, all but one were Blackcaps. Local ringers have mentioned on several occasions that this species as been in abundance this year. The others were resident species, including a juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker below.

Great Spotted Woodpecker

Sunday 2 September 2018

Public satisfaction

The Group during the year hold public ringing demonstrations at the Seaton Wetlands and yesterday was our early autumn public session. Twenty-four members of the public attended during the morning, with some on holiday and a family who came down from Bristol especially to attend the session. A total of 42 birds were caught and ringed of various species, including a Kingfisher which of cause was the highlight for those in attendance. 

Saturday 11 August 2018

Rain stops play!

Today was one of the Group's public demonstration sessions, but despite an early start the rain spoilt the session and prematurely brought it to an end. Nevertheless, 34 birds of 12 species were caught, including a young Whitethroat, nine Sedge Warblers, ten Reed Warblers, one Willow Warbler, two Blackcaps and two Swallows to complete the migrants. Unusually for the Group a juvenile Linnet was caught. Other species were Wrens, Robins, Dunnock, Greenfinch and a Goldfinch.

Wednesday 1 August 2018

Warbler numbers still high

Yesterday the Group set nets to monitor the movement of birds over a section of reed and scrub and caught during the morning 124 birds of which 64 were warblers. These included 19 Sedge Warblers, 29 Reed Warblers, eight Blackcaps, four Willow Warblers, three Chiffchaff and one Cetti's Warbler. The latter an adult female was the first Cetti's caught this year when in most years several would have been heard. Unfortunately there was no evidence of breeding this year. Finches also featured in the catch with four Chaffinches, seven Greenfinches, ten Goldfinches and one Bullfinch. Despite few trees adjoining the area a Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Treecreeper were included in the total tally. Two juvenile Kingfishers were reluctant to escape before having a photo shoot!

Willow Warbler 

Photogenic juvenile Kingfishers

Juvenile Treecreeper

Juvenile Great Spotted Woodpecker
(All photos copyright  Mike Tyler)

Thursday 19 July 2018

Good juvenile warbler movement

The Group this morning were fortunate to catch 128 birds of which the majority were juveniles. Of the total included 26 Reed Warblers, nine Sedge Warblers and a Stonechat. Others of interest included 30 Blue Tits, 13 Great Tits, ten Goldfinches, three Reed Buntings, 11 Blackcaps, two Treecreepers and one Kingfisher.

The Group's ten year report incorporating the report for 2017 is now available.

Juv Stonechat

Juv Reed Warbler

Adult Reed Warbler

Juv Sedge Warbler

Female Kingfisher

Photographs Copyright Brendan Sheils  

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Good juvenile catch

Today the Group started very early to take advantage before the sun created too hot conditions to mist net birds. Even finishing early 74 birds were caught of which 56 were juveniles. Blackcaps, Reed Warblers, Blue Tits and Great Tits were high on that list.

Friday 15 June 2018

Session cancelled

Please note the ringing session for Saturday 16th June is cancelled due to rain and wind forecast in the morning.

Saturday 9 June 2018

Signs of a good Reed Warbler breeding season

This morning a small team from the Group took advantage of the tides of the River Axe  to set a few nets in the reeds close to the Seaton Tramway. Expecting a low number of birds the team were surprised to catch 23 of which 20 were Reed Warblers with one each of a Reed Bunting, Blackbird and Blue Tit.

Monday 4 June 2018

Many juveniles now to be found

Breeding is well underway with the majority of the 57 birds caught today being juveniles. Four were Kestrel pulli which was a nice surprise and good experience for the trainee ringer present. This brood was one of two on the Wetlands and so far not subject to predation. The other birds comprised of 14 species including Reed Warblers, and a female Whitethroat with a brood patch. The area worked was not in the busy public area.

Miriam with one of the Kestrel chicks

Photograph by Lesley Clarke

Wednesday 23 May 2018

Colyford Common catch

Today the Group ventured onto Colyford Common to ascertain the movement of birds and those that were breeding. The reeds indicated breeding Reed Warblers as expected, resulting in seven of which five were in breeding activity. A Lesser Whitethroat thought initially a control turned out to have been ringed on the nearby Colyton WWTW on 1st May this year. A lovely male Bullfinch was caught as well as a family of Goldfinches. Most of the birds were shown to be in breeding activity.  In all 30 birds of 11 species were processed.

First spring Male Bullfinch (Photo Mike Tyler)

Wednesday 9 May 2018

Reed and Sedge Warblers moving in

Working today on the Seaton Wetlands, both ringing birds and conducting surveys revealed there were good numbers of Reed and Sedge Warblers. This was particularly so with Sedge Warblers. Although we only caught five many could be heard singing. Top of the poll today were Reed Warblers with 12 birds out of a total of 30 of ten species. Not too many birds, but a steady flow throughout the morning.

Sedge Warbler

Male Reed Bunting

(Photos Mike Tyler)

Saturday 28 April 2018

More migrants arriving.

Despite the cold weather in March followed by warm weather this month migrants are now catching up with their movements. Today the Group had a reasonable catch of 33 birds of 11 species. Of these more than half were migrants including, eight Sedge Warblers, six Reed Warblers one Chiffchaff and three Blackcaps. Seeing and hearing them suggesting that summer is not far away.

Tuesday 3 April 2018

Student visit

Today with the wet start was hardly an inducement to conduct a ringing session. It was agreed to start an hour later and we were lucky to enjoy the best weather for several days. This session was important to the Group as we were hosting students from the University Centre Reaseheath, Cheshire. The Ringing Group had been approached to enable them to have an "hands on" experience as part of their ecology and environmental modules.

We were really pleased they found the session informative and enjoyable. They had practicable experience in identification, ringing, and taking biometrics of 28 birds of ten species. The care that is needed to identify the sex of Reed Buntings during the winter and early spring was drawn to their attention. So a very pleasing moment for the Group which has now hosted two groups within nine days.

A happy student group

A pair of Reed Buntings caught together (male on the right)
Photographs Mike Tyler 

Thursday 29 March 2018

New Year start

Whenever the Group wished to get 2018 ringing sessions underway it was prevented due to dreadful weather. Anyway two sessions did get underway resulting in 44 birds being caught. The last session on Monday 26th March saw a retrap male Sparrowhawk which was originally ringed on 7th November 2016 as an adult. (See photographs)

That day was also special for the Group which acted as host to a group of members of the North Somerset Birding Group.

Photographs by Mike Tyler

Thursday 8 March 2018

Session cancellation

Please note due to rain in the morning the session for 9th March is cancelled. Sorry about that.

Saturday 6 January 2018

2018 ringing sessions

Please note that mist netting sessions will commence in February and our 2018 programme will listed soon.