The 2014 ringing total of 13,605 was the best since the formation of the group in 1963. It was made up of 96 species (97 in 2013) with 9,690 full grown and 3,915 pulli. Included were 1,197 at Hauxley (our best return since 2011), which was the result of combined activity at the ringing station (355), the reserve (430) and East Chevington (412). The overall total since we started in 1963 stands at 354,923 including 79,908 at Hauxley.
The Hauxley total of 1,197 was below the annual average of 1,282 taken over the previous 10 years. Included were 70 Blackbirds, 257 Sedge Warblers, 183 Reed Warblers, 63 Chiffchaffs and 49 Willow Warblers.
Highlights of 2014
We ringed 222 raptors (161 in 2013) including 8 pulli Ospreys, 5 pulli Marsh Harriers, 27 pulli Goshawks, 25 pulli Red Kites and 110 pulli Merlins. It was a remarkable owl year with 316 pulli Tawny Owls (best since 2010) and 175 pulli Barn Owls (best since 2008) with at least 10 pairs of the latter rearing double broods.
Of 39 pulli waders (45 in 2013), Lapwings (25) were a feature. Seabird effort involved 106 pulli Roseate Terns from Coquet Island and 93 (59 pulli) Kittiwakes from Cullernose. Prolonged searching for Ring Ouzel nests brought a record total of 39 pulli and the 266 Meadow Pipits were mainly on autumn passage. It was a better year at East Chevington reed beds with 208 Sedge and 137 Reed Warblers being ringed there in the late summer/early autumn and it was an incredible year for Chiffchaffs with a record 751 ringed (489 in 2013) whilst Willow Warbler numbers (194) were the lowest since 2007.
Over 2,000 Swallows were ringed at the roost at Lamesley where a record of over 3400 birds were caught in 2012 and 1,172 full grown Blue Tits and 765 full grown Great Tits were record catches for both species.
Constant Effort Sites
The four CES sites at Whittle Wood, Hauxley Reserve, Birtley Sewage Works and Lockhaugh were all manned with mixed success.
Ring rebate and donations
Michael Holmes communicated electronically with the BTO to ensure that all data was submitted by the end of February. This brought us a rebate of £439 for ‘sensitive’ species ringed in 2013 (we have ‘earned’ £6,633 since 1999). Once again we were grateful for a significant donation from Northumbrian Water.
Recoveries (details in Recovery News) included Osprey to Senegal, an 18 year old Peregrine, Avocet to France, Mediterranean Gulls from Poland and Holland, Black headed Gulls from Denmark, Norway and Germany, Kittiwakes to France, a 21 year old Arctic Tern, Blackbird from Norway and Chiffchaffs to Holland and from Belgium.