Wintering Chiffchaffs in the Cotswold Water Park – 2004

The BTO is looking for reports of all wintering warblers such as Chiffchaff and Blackcap during winter 2004/05, contributing to both BTO co-ordinated survey work as well as a PhD study undertaken by Greg Conway at the BTO.

Wintering Chiffchaffs around the country are being colour ringed by several ringers to help assess their movements between breeding and wintering grounds. A short article in the BTO Ringers Bulletin (Autumn 2004) states that since 1999 over 300 wintering Chiffchaff have been colour ringed, with each bird bearing a metal ring and 3 colour rings. Their re-sighting rate has been surprisingly high.

In order to assist with this work, the Cotswold Water Park Ringing Group, and notably Matt Prior, has caught several Chiffchaffs in recent weeks, and already this work is yielding some interesting results.

Several Chiffchaffs had been heard calling at Keynes Country Park on Lake 31. Matt Prior, Jo Wilson and myself undertook some early morning ringing here and caught 9 Chiffchaffs including a Belgian-ringed bird! There were also three other Chiffchaffs calling nearby (23rd Nov) that were not caught. All birds were colour ringed so please keep a look out for these……. Interestingly this location is where the Yellow Browed Warbler was seen in January 2004. Obviously good feeding here!

Furthermore, that evening, we also caught another 12 Chiffchaffs in the reed bed at Lake 68d including one originally ringed at the site in November 2003, again all of which were colour ringed. A rather stunning looking male Bearded Tit was also ringed which has been seen several times since, last seen 6th December. 7 Chiffchaffs were also ringed on 4th-5th December at Lake 68d.

But can the Chiffchaffs be easily re-sighted I hear you cry???? The answer to this is simply “yes”. Several of the colour ringed Chiffchaffs have been re-sighted already by birders, including one that I saw this morning, that was colour ringed yesterday in Lake 68d. (5/12). The absence of leaves from the hedgerows certainly helps!

All of the birds bear a metal ring with 3 colour rings. Please keep a look out for these birds, noting the locations and date of sighting and the positions and colours of all rings, quoting left leg first. All sightings can be sent direct to me and I will endeavour to respond as soon as possible.

I look forward to hearing from you all!

Gareth Harris,
Biodiversity Officer, Cotswold Water Park Society (CWPSoc)
Ringing Co-ordinator, Cotswold Water Park Ringing Group (CWRG)

Tel: 01285 861459

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