I have just finished preparing a ringing report for SML for 2017, partly because Natural England have sent me a copy of their rules relating to bird ringing on SSSI’s, which says a report should be submitted to them annually, but principally because I think that data is of no value unless it is in the public domain. Copies have been sent to Natural England and to Devon Birds for the Harrier.
Chris Townend’s assessment of the bird reserves owned or managed by Devon Birds in 2015 recommended that: “All reserves should have realistic, species specific targets for birds breeding, wintering or on passage. Measuring the success of such targets can only be carried out through regular and accurate monitoring.” The current SML management plan also highlights areas where contemporary data on the flora and fauna of the reserve are inadequate or lacking and the need to address this shortcoming before future changes and the impact of habitat improvements can be assessed. With this lack of data in mind, ringing continued throughout the breeding season in 2017.
Historically the principal focus at SML has been on ringing migrant birds during spring and autumn passage but, as the migratory routes of most of the species there are already well understood, the focus has now shifted to more demographic based studies. For the first time, in recent years, ringing took place in every month and continued throughout the summer. This will enable changes in population, survival and productivity rates between years to be monitored in the future at SML.
Overall it was a productive year with significant improvements to the ringing infrastructure leading to a total of 2,137 birds processed, including nearly 1,200 warblers, and the data collected will form the baseline for future comparisons. You can read the full report here: Annual Ringing Reports