29 August 2013

Last 'CES' of 2013

Meet D129878, the final bird of our 2013 CES (Constant Effort Site) season at Gunwalloe. The fluffy flanks give it away as a pretty fresh juvenile Reed Warbler, the commonest species caught at the site, and totting up, the catch of 52 adult and 63 juvenile Reed Warblers compares OK to last year (60 and 48), but still not up the totals from our first year in 2011 (88 and 96).

The next most frequent species caught, Sedge Warbler, fared somewhat better though. The poor breeding season in 2012 was reflected in the number of returning adults (just 13, compared to 33 in 2012 and 30 in 2011), but the number of juveniles was surprisingly good (64, compared to 36 in 2012 and 85 in 2011). One species notable by its 'near-absence' though was Cetti's Warbler: the total of three adults and 12 juveniles in 2011 dropped to three adults in 2012 and just a single juvenile this year.

Species diversity was also down, with 12 species caught this year down on the 15 in 2012 and 17 in 2011. The only real highlight were the five juvenile Stonechats ringed, but even these weren't quite the Aquatic Warbler of 2012 or the three Grasshopper Warblers of 2011. But looking on the bright side, the year was in general a slight improvement on 2012, but not yet recovered to the levels of 2011. The chart below shows the catch totals per CES visit each year: note how typically windy spring weather means we always miss the first visit, but at least it's Constant!

So hopefully the disastrous breeding season of 2012 and the wet start to 2013 won't be repeated next year and we can look forward to another bumper year.

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