Thursday, 26 April 2018

26-04-18 Thursday - Merlin

Temp 8 to 13℃. Windy today, dry and Sunny with a bit of a blow

Long-tailed Duck
Red Kite
Merlin, Hobby
Yellow Wagtail, White Wagtail
26-4-18 White Wagtail with odd face, NP (Brian Lancastle)


Brabazon Business Park:
3 Swallow

Stockwood Open Space:
1 Sparrowhawk, seen off by 2 feisty Long-tailed Tit and 2 Starling, 1 m Reed Bunting


Rockhampton to Hill (Northeast of OPS):
3 Mallard, 5 Buzzard, 3 Green Woodpecker, 1 Merlin, 7 Swallow, 20 House Martin, 1 LT Tit, 17 Chiffchaff, 4 Sedge Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 2 Whitethroat, 5 Chaffinch, 1 Greenfinch, 2 Linnet, 2 Yellowhammer

25-4-18 Starlings at New Passage (Stephen Jones)
New Passage/Northwick, 25th:
100 hirundines, 2 Wheatear, 1 f Yellow Wagtail, 10 White Wagtail, 20 Pied Wagtail

26-4-18 ringed Kestrel at Chipping Sodbury Common (Peter Coslett)
Chipping Sodbury Common:
1 ringed Kestrel

Winterbourne, Bradley Brook LNR:
1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard, 2 Stock Dove, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Raven, 1 Skylark, 1 Swallow, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 2 Whitethroat, 1 Goldcrest, 1 Bullfinch, 2 Yellowhammer


Portbury Wharf:
2 orange-legged Gadwall (Chris C), 1 Little Ringed Plover, lots Chiffchaffs Reed Warblers & Blackcaps
Weston Hospital:
1 Peregrine


26-4-18 Four Peregrine chicks at St Johns (BUPP)
Bath, St John's Church:
2 Peregrine and 4 pulli

26-4-18 Long-tailed Duck, Barrow Tanks (Chris Stone)
Barrow Tanks:
1 Long-tailed Duck, 8 Common Sandpiper, 1 White Wagtail
Blagdon Lake, 25th:
2 Whimbrels, 1 Common Sandpiper, hundreds of hirundines

26-4-18 Black Swan, Herriotts (Ian Stapp)
Chew Valley Lake
1 Barnacle Goose, 1 Black Swan (Herriotts), 11 Shelduck, 1 dead Mallard ring GV40424, 4 Teal,  4 Gadwall, 1 f Scaup, 10 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Red Kite, 3 Buzzard, 10 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green Sandpiper, 3 GBB Gull

26-4-18 Song Thrush, Woodford (Ian Stapp)
200 Swift, 1 Great Spotted  Woodpecker, 2 Hobby, 1 Raven, 4 Jay,  20 Sand Martin, 30 Swallow, 20 House Martin, 1 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Reed Warbler, 2 Blackcap, 1 Garden Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Whitethroat, 2 Song Thrush, 3 Mistle Thrush,  2 Reed Bunting

26-4-18 Little Gull with BH Gull at Cheddar (Terri Borash)
Out Of Avon:
Little Gull at Cheddar Reservoir
Bittern at RSPB Greylake

Out of UK:
Bob Brewer in Cape Town

Reports: Derek Angell, Teresa Chard, Peter Coslett, Chris Craig, Paul Francis, Bill Hewitt, Mike Jackson, Chris Jones, Stephen Jones, Brian Lancastle, Lisegirl, Nigel Milbourne, Lois Pryce, Adam Rawson, Nigel Sluman, Ian Stapp, Chris Stone, Talkingtobears, blagdonlakebirds, CVRS, nslbirding, opsbirding, severnsidebirds, TBOSG

Request for help in studying Bristol-born Starlings

Starlings are one of the fastest-declining species in southern Britain but we still have little idea what is driving this decline. We are fairly sure that the problem takes place away from the breeding areas. Unfortunately, Starlings are highly dispersive and current tracking technology cannot tell us where they encounter the threats that are causing excess mortality.

We would like to test a different approach to this research question. Instead of waiting years for new radiotag technologies to come along, we plan to deploy lots of receivers to increase our chances of relocating ordinary radiotags. At this stage we only have a modest number of receivers and hope to test whether they work, with a view to scaling up to a larger study.

This is where we need your help. We plan to catch a bunch of young Starlings soon after the first broods fledge (mid-May), fit them with radio tags and then follow them with small, portable receivers, deployed by volunteers. We are looking for somewhere in urban/suburban Bristol to catch the birds - ideally, a small cluster of gardens where we can bait catching sites (from mid-April). We then need to find places at two km and four km from the tagging site where some of the receivers can be stationed. The rest of the receivers will be offered to volunteers willing to carry them around Bristol and surrounding areas, to sample a wider range of sites. Anyone can help with this if they are travelling around the city for work or simply because they are interested in Starlings.

All the birds will be colour-ringed too, so we would like to encourage everyone to look out for blue rings on Starlings' left legs, marked with white letter codes (digital camera images are proving ideal for reading these rings). Radiotracking is usually more productive than colour-ring re-sighting, but with so many active birders in Bristol, colour-ringing may prove more effective.

If anyone can offer potential ringing and receiver sites in Bristol or help with carrying the receivers around the city and its outskirts, please contact me ( or Vivien Hartwell ( Vivien will be comparing the effectiveness of traditional radiotracking, the new receivers and colour-rings while using all three approaches to measure habitat use.

The targets to beat (set by radiotracking in Cambridgeshire) are to follow the birds for longer than a month or further than ten km from the tagging site. We completely failed to find 40% of our tagged birds in Cambridgeshire - we would like to know more about what these rapid-dispersers are doing as they may be the birds that ultimately survive to adulthood. Many thanks in advance. 

Dave Buckingham (RSPB Centre for Conservation Science)