The groups ringing totals for the year have just passed the 3000 mark including retraps and controls. Blue Tits usually head the list at this time of year as much of our ringing is in gardens. So it was a pleasant surprise to find that we had handled just 318 blue tits but 504 Siskin and 438 Lesser Redpolls. I have detailed our Siskin ringing in a previous posting. So I looked at Lesser Redpoll in some detail. Most were ringed in three gardens, Mark and Dave's around the Bowland fringe and Andrew lower down in Over Kellet and also on the coast on passage at Heysham .
To put these numbers into context taking the previous 10 years we have averaged just 97 per year. The increase reflects the recent move to garden feeders. What is outstanding this year though is the lateness of the feeding activity and the passage at Heysham. In the first 10 days of May 2012 we ringed just 8 Lesser Redpolls, the tail end of the passage at Heysham, This year we handled 210 - a reflection of the lateness of the season in this very cool spring.
What has been so pleasing is that to date this year we have caught 20 controls-(birds nor ringed by us), We await details from the Ringing Office. Previous spring recoveries have been of birds ringed while wintering in the south of Engalnd and then moving through to breed in Scotland but with one recovery in Norway.