A small landmark achieved this month: we passed the 10,000 bird processed mark for the year for the first time since the group came into its current structure at the beginning of 2013. Interestingly, it is already more than double in any year between 2013 and 2016 inclusive. The majority of the catch, 60%, is down to Jonny’s activities. His sites seem remarkably consistent in their catch totals in the 50+ bird bracket. Particularly Langford Lakes and his Sutton Benger, Melksham and East Tytherton sites. I will do a full analysis at the end of the year.
So to November itself: fewer birds and species than 2021 but, apart from that, more than in any other previous November.
The key differences are in the lower numbers of Redwing (203 vs 320) and, to a lesser extent, Chiffchaff (4 vs 22). There were increases in Long-tailed Tit (62 vs 49) and Goldfinch (60 vs 13). The Goldfinch were largely down to Jonny’s East Tytherton site and my carrying out a couple of sessions in my garden.
The undoubted highlight has to be Jonny’s Merlin at the Sutton Benger complex I suppose it is now. What an absolute stonker, the first ever ringed by the group, the only other two caught by members of the group being retrapped birds (Beckhampton 2003, Imber Ranges 2019).
Hard on the heels of that, though, has to be Jonny’s retrapped Redwing, again at his Sutton Benger site. Ringed in Finland: it is the group’s only foreign recovery of this species since 1996! In all there have only been five recovery records: as well as these two, two were ringed and then retrapped a week or so later in the same site, so that doesn’t really count. Another was ringed in Ravensroost in December 2016 and retrapped there, in the same net, in January 2018. Our only other recovery was a Redwing ringed at Lower Moor Farm in October 2015 and shot by some psycho in France in December 2017.
Another good catch was Ian’s three Fieldfare in an old orchard local to him. Andy also caught one at his site on the Imber Ranges SPTA. Andy’s site there has caught most of them: with 16 of the 23 caught. Two were caught at Jonny’s Sutton Benger site and I have had two: one in a Meadow Pipit triangle at Blakehill and another way back in 2014 at the Wood Lane site. We don’t catch many, that’s for sure. The only thrush that we catch fewer of, of those we catch (no Ring Ouzel records at all for the group at any time in our history in DemOn – I don’t know if there were any records on paper that haven’t been digitised yet), is Mistle Thrush – and I am only bringing that up because of the four we have ringed, I have done the lot!
It will be interesting to see how December shapes up: hopefully the fog will lift sometime soon!