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CES 2013

Sunday, September 1st 2013

It is always known when CES takes place as the blog begins with a sunrise photograph!  Ringers arrive at dawn and the nets are put up as the sun rises.

Sunrise over the Scrapes

CES begins in May each year and finishes in August.  We see spring turn into summer and then into late summer.  Summer migrants begin to make their appearance in the ringing room.  Bugle was providing food for the bees during May.


Midsummer saw the Dog Roses in bloom.

Dog Rose

Juvenile birds are welcomed and we also see birds that have been ringed in the nest boxes.  Robins hatched this year are now sporting patchy red coloured breasts, unlike this one, taken earlier in the year, which is speckled brown. They will soon look like Robins on our Christmas cards!

Juvenile Robin

And now the Mountain Ash (Rowan) are heavily covered with bright red berries and Blackbirds are feasting on them!

Mountain Ash (Rowan)

In the ringing room the birds are processed, much discussion takes place as questions are asked and trainee bird ringers are supported.

Discussion about the birds

 Visitors are always welcome to see what we are doing and the ringers explain what is happening and how and why we process the birds.  Many are amazed at the age of some of the birds and distances they have travelled.  Under supervsion children and adults are allowed to release the birds and it is an experience they will never forget.

Telling people about bird ringing

CES is over for another year and with the help of our computer programme the data collected will soon be sent to the BTO for analysis.  Starting times may be a little later now but there is still plenty of bird ringing to do as we record the last of the summer migrants and await the arrival of the winter species. The young birds will complete their post-juvenile moult and adult birds who have spent some time hiding during their own moult will, in many cases, head for warmer climes where they will spend our winter.

Rather than write a comment today, as not everyone understands where to read them, I would like to add a short PS to the CES blog and hope the non ringers will bear with me.  To have fulfilled 252 sessions of ten and a half hours over 21 years without missing a single visit, as described yesterday, really is a remarkable achievement.  During that period 40,074 birds have been processed over 2646 hours!  Often I read of other CES sites ringing between 5 and 20 birds during a CES day.  Our site produces an average over every single visit of at least 159 birds or put another way a guaranteed 15 birds per hour come rain, hail, shine or unwelcome wind, start to finish.  Our best year was 2011 when 2584 birds were processed during the CES season; our worst was in 1994 with only 1279 - and remember the net rides, nets, dates and hours worked have all been constant throughout.  This year, with a total of 2109 birds, was the 8th best out of 21. 

I am hugely indebted to all ringers who have contributed, often during incredibly unsocial hours and sometimes in really unpleasant weather, while the CES programme has been running at Foxglove.  Together, and with all levels of experience, they have done a superb job.  But equally I am indebted to Elizabeth, our permanent scribe who inputs much of the data, to Sophie and Adam who as Reserve Managers have ensured all the net rides have been programmed in for consistent attention over the season, to our outstanding volunteer squad who week after week prune and mow our rides almost clinically, which is a wonderful bonus for any CES site (and here I include in particular Ken and Eddy, Mike and Tony and many others too who have kept the site immaculate), and the wonderful team of ladies who support our efforts endlessly with sticky buns, home made cakes, hundreds of cups of tea and invaluable assistance of all sorts in the ringing room.  CES at Foxglove is a team working.

Finally, on a personal note, can I mention a lady none of you will know called Mary Catling, who has never set foot in Foxglove but who avidly reads your blog every day from her home in Suffolk.  She is not terribly well, and endless times she has told me just how much the blog cheers her up and how valuable she finds the photos, the banter, and the incredibly varied activities of our volunteers.  Long may you continue to enjoy it Mary, hang in there, and I know the entire team will be happy to know you are keeping an over-watch from a distance! 

A whole 8 months till CES begins again!  My thanks to you all for an outstanding achievement.

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