Its been a rather difficult season for our study. Late season ringing has been impossible because of high water levels which flooded all the access paths at Leighton Moss RSPB reserve making out boardwalks dangerous to use. However the high water levels meant that the Bearded Tits had to get their grit,(which they need at this time of year as they move from insects to a rmainly reed seed diet) from our specially prepared grit trays. So far we have had 113 sightings of colour ringed birds mainly on the trays and almost all of them were adults from previous years.
In total we have identified 24 adult males and 13 adult females. This compares with 23 males and 14 females in 2018. We invariably get more males than females,partly because males are easier to mist net and also males have a somewhat better survival rate than females.
Of the 37 adults, the oldest was five years, one was four years, three were three years old, 12 two years and 20, one year after ringing as juveniles. This gives a crude survival rate of 46%. But we may yet identify one or two more . We have a motion activated video of one set of trays yet to check through.
Since the water levels have dropped, exposing the visitor paths the reserve staff have topped up some of the paths with fine limestone and some birds have been gritting here . This means that colour rings are more difficult to record.