2012 will be remembered for a number of reasons:
- Record Swift catch
- Poor breeding season
- Yellowhammers and a year at Kings Moss
- Winter Waxwings
- Did I mention rain?
First SWLRG wing-tagged Buzzard
Through the months of May and June, the cool and wet weather meant that we were unable to complete a lot of our scheduled weekend sessions on Rimrose Valley. This however, provided numerous opportunities to get out and capture Swifts, House Martins and Swallows - this meant that 2012, the fifteenth year of our Swift study, was our biggest in terms of the number of birds ringed. Me and Moxey are currently in the process of analysing that data set in the hope of looking deeper into the decline of Swifts in the UK.
Swift (Apus apus)
We completed our first full calendar year of ringing at Kings Moss, ringing in excess of 1300 birds including large numbers of finches as well as regionally-less common birds such as Yellowhammer and Willow Tit. We had a number of bumper sessions in the autumn with some big catches of Goldfinch and, in particular, Greenfinch as well as catching an exceptionally late Tree Pipit.
Yellowhammer (Emberiza citrinella)
Tree Pipit (Anthus trivialis)
Goldcrests featured high in our totals this year, the majority of which were caught on passage during the autumn and caught across all of our sites but Hightown and Crosby Hall in particular. Hightown was the site of our first foreign control in a long time, a Sedge Warbler with a French ring, the ringing details of which have just come in.
Sedge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobaenus)
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The tail-end of 2012 saw a little bit of class arrive in SW Lancs with upto 200 Waxwings turning up in varying flock sizes from Formby to Everton Brow. We didn't have many opportunities to catch these erruptive winter visitors, but on two occasions we were able to attempt to catch in Formby and on both occasions we were successful, catching one individual (of four) and then four individuals (of eight). This brought the total ringed by SWLRG in our existence to seven.
Waxwing (Bombycilla garrulus)
There were many highlights this year, some of which are listed above, some in the UK, others in Portugal which I will discuss on another day, hence the 'UK' in the title. So to finish off, here's the top ten ringed (you can find the full ringing totals in the panel on the right hand side of the page:
1. Swift - 823
2. Blue Tit - 574
3. House Martin - 434
4. Greenfinch - 402
5. Chaffinch - 388
6. Swallow - 298
7. Goldfinch - 272
8. Blackcap - 252
9. Great Tit - 244
10. Goldcrest - 214