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The Last CES of 2014

Sunday, August 31st 2014

About 1645 the ringing room was busy, but not with bird ringing.  Everyone was sitting or standing comfortably with plate and glass in hands, all ready to listen.

The ringing room

Tony had been busy with the calculator working out some statistics.

Reading the statistics

Today was CES 12, the last CES of 2014.  The end of the 22nd year of CES at Foxglove.  We now have the best data set for CES in the country, allowing comparisons and trends to be examined.   I did not write down Tony's numbers and my expertise at figures does cause questions at times, but here goes.  For each CES season 126 hours are spent in the ringing room.  Twenty two years of CES mean a grand total of 2772 hours.  More hours when you add in the last net round birds to be processed, and the tidying up carried out. 

Not one day has been missed and Tony has been present at most of them.  The team of ringers work very hard during CES, starting at dawn.  The numbers of birds handled at each session can vary between 100 and 300. Net rounds are carried out every 20 minutes.  The miles walked is beyond my ability to calculate but I think 'many' would cover it!

Well done and congratulations to the ringing team for completing another year of CES. 

The back up team are very important.  Volunteers look after the net rides, strimming them in summer and pollarding them during the winter.  Net poles are oiled.  Friends provide sausage rolls and sticky buns.  Bird bags are checked.  A huge thank you to everyone who supports the ringers at Foxglove.

From the end of the day to the beginning.  No beautiful sunrise but dawn breaking over the reed bed.

Dawn over the reed bed

Early in the morning a juvenile Nuthatch was processed.

Juvenile Nuthatch

Birds were ringed and checked throughout the day.

The bird ringers

Sarah ringing a bird

The data, of species, age, wing size, weight and moult are recorded and then entered into the IPMR data base.  Later this will all be sent to the BTO.

During the last few days of CES the number of new Bullfinches ringed has steadily grown.  Today another 54 were ringed.  During 2014 CES, 489 Bullfinches have been processed of which 238 are new birds.  This Amber listed bird is in decline in many areas, but not at Foxglove.

Other birds passing through the ringing room today, included Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and a newly ringed Willow Tit.

(2) Comments:

Tim Randall responded on 31st Aug 2014 with...

A great achievement - congratulations to all involved in CES, ringing as well as maintaining and supporting Foxglove Covert.

tc responded on 1st Sep 2014 with...

There is not a lot I can add and I have spoken to and thanked personally the team who were there at the end yesterday.  The difficulties associated with CES are well known and they tie people down at weekends all through the summer.  Getting up at ungodly hours and working through at least an 11 hour session would test the stamina of most.  We have completed another year, and the data we will submit to the BTO is comprehensive, long term, substantial in volume - and it is highly valuable.  I am no analyst, but even the most basic number crunching shows what a dire situation many of our song birds are in.  They can recover, but the totals show a continued downward spiral in many species, and it is particularly worrying where the migrants are concerned.  A single example, the once ubiquitous Willow Warbler.  Five years ago we ringed up to 400 a year on the reserve, this year we didn’t even ring 50.  Something is very wrong and more importantly something needs done about it before they are no more.

I would like to thank EVERYONE who has helped our CES this year including all the volunteers who have so kindly delivered fantastic net rides, and all the other individuals who have washed and mended bird bags, baked, cooked, scribed, tidied up, and carried out a whole plethora of other helpful activities.  I know I speak on behalf of all the ringers when I say sincerely we couldn’t do it without you.  Our results are entirely attributable to your wide ranging contributions. Thank you.

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