Sunday, 28 September 2014


So I think it's been about a month since I blogged about ringing - nevertheless I've been out every weekend, so this blog is a bit of a catch up if you like on the migration and catch rates of the sessions.

We have been catching a steady number of birds, but weeks have been very different, from really good numbers one week to not so many the next. Of course they are all on the move but you would think you would get similar numbers week to week. One bird we haven't really caught much this year is the Whitethroat. We had good numbers last year, but this year's numbers were way down. I think we only just got in to double figures this year


Blackcaps and Robins however seem to have been caught in good numbers and this is evident across the country (see BTO demog blog).  In one session recently we managed to ring 36 robins and we are still catching into the mid teens currently. It must have been a good breeding season with multiple broods no doubt.

Along with this current migration pattern we had a couple of unusual catches, including a couple of weeks back a stunning Fire Crest; a first for one of our sites. This site this year has had some great birds including Cettis, Kingfisher, Spotted Fly, Firecrest, Siberian Chiffchaff - all this right on the edge of one of the most deprived areas in Merseyside.


Tied in with migration a couple of the birds migrating through have had a couple of distinguishing features, including this female Blackcap which had an eye deformity. On inspection, at first it looked a bit like a tick it but on closer inspection it appeared to have a  deformity on its nictitating membrane,

 A head on photo looked more insect than bird.


The following session after this one we also caught a female Bullfinch with a similar growth but ten times as bad, however this bird seemed to have a huge growth sticking at least a centimeter away from the beak and almost covering the gullet to swallow food. Not a nice sight, but in every other way this bird seemed healthy and had obviously been feeding okay.

I would be interested to hear if anybody else has been having any deformities of the eye region.

And so it wont be long now before our Scandinavian visitors arrive to our sites Fieldfare and Redwing shortly and after catching really good numbers last time will we have any retraps and controls? An interesting time ahead.


  1. the firecrest is a beauty. sorry about the abnormal growths.

  2. Lovely looking Firecrest. I have to say in terms of going out with my camera there seems to be more Whitethroats then normal around my way, perhaps it's regional. When you get a bird with a deformity do you have to report it or treat it?

  3. Your photos are lovely. Sad about the eye deformities.

  4. Strange looking birds - I wonder what causes these problems.

    I sometimes get to see waders with strange looking beaks when I band - but they always seem healthy otherwise.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne.

    PS:hope to see you back at WBW soon.

  5. These are some interesting birds that youve caught! this is the first time i saw a firecrest. its a pretty bird! hope someone finds a way to treat these birds! thanks for sharing!