Well… it has taken till now to finalise the tally for the number of birds ringed at Ngulia in the 2008 session. David has trogged through the 5 ringing books and reports 20,278 Palaearctic migrants ringed of which 59% were Marsh Warblers – an unprecedented number of them and by far the highest proportion we’ve ever caught of them. There were two days when we caught over 1,500 Marsh Warblers – the only other time in 39 years that more than 1,500 of a single species has been caught is once with Sprossers in 2005. It would therefore appear that Marsh Warblers are doing pretty well in Europe and Asia!
Below is a chart showing the daily totals together with the number of Marsh Warblers to show the high proportion of them. The two nights when we had no mist on the 2nd and 3rd Dec (c.f. the blog) show very clearly between the misty nights with high catches demonstrating just how variable the catching can be and dependant it is on the presence of good mist.
In contrast to the Marsh Warblers, we only caught one each of the following species: Eurasian Cuckoo, Eurasian Nightjar, House Martin, Rock Thrush, Great Reed Warbler, Blackcap, Yellow Wagtail. The cuckoo, Blackcap and wagtail are not surprising to have only caught the one bird as they’ve never been a common species at Ngulia being either relatively low in numbers anyway (the cuckoo) or simply not a Tsavo species. Even the House Martin is not surprising as before we started seriously tape-luring them we never caught any – only the past 6-8 years have we tried using a tape and discovered there are often many around (and ringed several 100 in a day even!). But it is very interesting to note the lack of particularly the Rock Thrush. Whilst again not ever having been exactly a ‘common’ species we would certainly have caught significantly more than this. Around Watamu I have also noticed over the past 10 years that this species has drastically reduced in numbers – at the end of the 90’s we would see one on every 4-5th telegraph pole sometimes whereas I have not seen that number in many years. Could this be something related to the global climate change we are experiencing? It’s certainly something worth looking into further.
The other exciting news was on the very last morning / night when there were only 5 ringers left (David P, Alain, Raymund, Rachel & Scopus), they only put the night nets up and caught a mere 400 birds (an awesome catch for most ringers anywhere in the world however!!) amongst the first of which was a Marsh Warbler with a dull ring on it! This time it was from Slovenia and had been ringed in August this year as a young bird. The details for it were:
LJUBLJANA KR 62473
A.palustris, 1y/3, 69 mm, 12,7 g
Place: Hauptmance, Ljubljansko barje, SLOVENIA
Ring. coord.: 45.59 N / 14.31 E
Resultat: 128 days / 5,921 km / 157° / SSE
Not bad!! I’ve plotted this and the French bird on Googleearth and this is a snapshot of where they came from (it’s not too easy to pick them out but if you know were Slovenia is just below Austria you can see that one – the French one’s label is just below England…):
On that note I’d better stop and say HAPPY CHRISTMAS to you all!! Roni and I are away for two weeks in Kwa-Zulu Natal and Lesotho visiting friends, hopefully Rosalie in Watamu will continue to post news from Mwamba over Christmas which sounds like it’s going to be hectic but fun and we’ll be back in touch in the New Year!
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