Sunday, 29 April 2018

29-04-18 Sunday - Whinchat

Temp 6 to 8℃. It's not winter but feels like it. Fortunately not windy

Long-tailed Duck
Bar-tailed GodwitSpotted Redshank
Arctic Tern
Wood Warbler

29-4-18 female Redstart on patio, Fishpool Hill, Brentry, (Mark Dads)

1 male in Henleaze, 1 female in Brentry


28-4-18 Green Woodpecker (lynne@rekaterac)
8 Shelduck, 30 Oystercatcher, 3 Whimbrel, 1 Curlew, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine, 2 Skylark, 5 Swallow, 3 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 2 Meadow Pipit, 5 Linnet, 2 Reed Bunting

29-4-18 Bar-tailed Godwit, Chitterning Warth (Bri Thompson)
1 Sparrowhawk, 10 Whimbrel, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit (both Severn Beach), 10 Dunlin, 4 Lesser Whitethroat, 4 Whitethroat, 1 Kestrel, 1 Peregrine


Portbury, Prior's Wood:
1 singing Wood Warbler

80 Shelduck, 1 m Garganey, 2 m Wigeon, 13 Mallard ducklings, 2 Tufted Duck, 3 Cormorant, 2 Little Egret, 24 Oystercatcher, 6 Lapwing, 22 Ringed Plover, 54 Whimbrel, 3 Curlew, 4 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone, 48 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 1 Spotted Redshank, 4 Redshank, 2 LBB Gull, 15 Herring Gull, 2 Raven, 20 Swallow, 1 Cetti's Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler, 4 Reed Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 1 Wheatear

Worlebury Hill Road/Golf course, W-s-M:
1 Peregrine, 2 House Martin, 2 singing Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 1 Goldcrest

Uphill and STW:
2 Little Egret, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Cuckoo, 80+ Sand Martin, 250+ Swallow, 3 Whitethroat, 3 Willow Warbler, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 1 Whinchat


Willsbridge Mill:
2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Jay, 1 Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap, 2 Nuthatch, 1 Dipper, 1 Grey Wagtail
29-4-18 Peregrine at St Johns (BUPP)
Bath, St John's Church:
2 Peregrine and 4 pulli

Newton St Loe:
4 Grey Heron (2 nests), 2 Stock Dove, 1 Green Woodpecker, 5 Chiffchaff, 7 Blackcap, 2 Goldcrest, 4 Nuthatch, 1 Treecreeper, 20 Goldfinch

River Chew:
1 Dipper


Barrow Tanks:
Long-tailed Duck, 14 Common Sandpiper, 100's hirundines, 1 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail

29-4-18 Common Sandpiper on the Dam, CVL (Bob Brewer)
Chew Valley Lake
1 Black Swan, 5 Common Sandpiper, 1 Arctic Tern, Swift, 2 Hobby, Sand Martin, 1000's Swallow, House Martin
29-4-18 Swallow at CVL (NSL Birding)
Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat

29-4-18 Swallow at CVL (Lee Gardiner)
Out Of Avon:
Little Gull at Cheddar
Golden Orioles at Portland
Green Heron in Pembrokeshire

Out of UK:
Bob Brewer in Cape Town

Reports: Alan Ashman, Bob Brewer, Dru Brooke Taylor, Karle Burford, Mark Dadds, Sean Davies, Michael Davis, Lee Gardiner, Robert Hargreaves, Adrian Hockey, lynne@rekaterac, Lois Pryce, George Rabin, Harvey Rose, Gill Sapsed, Bri Thompson, Paul Williams, Martyn Wood, 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)