As we approach the end of the warbler season its time to take stock of the ringing totals for this year in our study at Leighton Moss RSPB Reserve.
Reed Warblers are our most abundant breeding bird but productivity this year has been exceptionally poor. We have caught to date only 245 juveniles compared with 885 last year and a five year average of 695. Early in the season Sedge Warblers, which are mainly a migrant here appeared to be doing reasonably well but numbers have dropped and to date we have only ringed 95 juveniles compared to 252 in 2014 and a five year average of 255. Willow warblers have done better with 262 caught compared to a five year average of 324. Blackcaps have a five year average of 43 but this year has produced 25.
Of resident birds, Blue Tits are well down with only 106 juveniles compared to 376 in 2014 and a five year average of 269. Todays catch of 43 birds included only 1 Blue Tit this compares with an average catch of 15 birds in early September last year. Goldcrests though are doing better we caught 12 today to bring this year total to date to 42 compared with 52 for the whole year over the past five years.
Our main study is Bearded Tits which go very quiet as they moult in August . Today we caught 2 bringing our total young to date to 27 again well down on previous years.