Tuesday, July 14th 2020
CES is a term many of you will have heard mentioned over the years; it is the BTO's primary bird ringing project which at Foxglove we have operated for almost 28 years. For us there are 12 mandated visits of 10.5 hours duration and we have never missed a session which is miraculous.
The ringers are totally dependant on our erratic weather and very often have to cancel or adjust personal arrangements or even take annual leave to meet the vagaries of the prevailing British conditions.
Start time varies according to sunrise but the 300m of mandatory net is always out there supplemented by 300+ metres of additional net which fortunately the computer program can remove from some of the key calculations at the end of each CES day.
Our results over the years have contributed to this principal national survey and the associated analyses of breeding songbirds; the Foxglove component is by far the biggest in the country by a long way. We have completed 7 visits this year already totalling 75 hours and over the 28 years have clocked up 3,477 hours of CES ringing, or put another way, 145 days ringing around the clock non-stop! The mathematicians amongst you will soon deduce that is roughly 4.5 months of ringing every day and night back to back without a break! It really is quite an achievement. Once you break it or miss a visit that is the balloon burst and very much the reason why we try, despite the odds, to keep the scheme alive at Foxglove.
Despite the very erratic weather of recent summers and the difficulties lockdown has created this year we appear to be on track for a very productive season and are likely to produce certainly the best results of the past 3 years.
With over 1000 new birds caught in Foxglove already this year, not to mention the numerous retraps, Chaffinches (9,127) remain our most common bird followed by Blue Tits (6,298)! Willow Warblers are our most common migrant at 5,242 but their numbers are slowly dwindling as are many warbler species across the spectrum. The one exception is Chiffchaff; we have this year ringed exactly 100 new Chiffchaffs so far with Willow Warblers falling behind at 82.
There is a mountain of information available from our CES activities and we are trying now to make this more accessible to all on the newly designed DeMon website. It is happening, but it's very slow, and it is hoped that in the near future simpler access will make interrogating the data more interesting and much more fun!
Our CES activities rely greatly on our staff and volunteers so they deserve a mention in any CES related text. The support they give us is amazing and we know it, thank you.
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