Several seabirds had high migration numbers in spring 2015. This is typical for years with dominant winds from west and north, which leads the birds closer to the coast. For the Mew Gulls the number of migrating birds recorded to the north were 13 200. This is the highest number of birds since 1997.
Bird Observatory spring report 2015
This spring the number of caught birds in the standarized ringing campaign ended below normal average. The weather was especially cold and wet from the last week in April until late June. For most of the insectivorous migratory birds (Warblers and Thrushes) the numbers were significantly below normal, while especially Lesser Redpoll and Siskins drew the numbers up. Seabird migration was in general quite good with help of winds from western sector. The local Lapwing population declined further and they did not suceed to raise any offspring.
Lista Bird Observatory completed its 26th consecutive year of spring ringing campaign in 2015. The bird station has been run for a total of 87 days from March 15 until June 10. 13 mist-nets have been currently used on the standardized (138 meters) and the results have been slightly lower than normal years with 926 birds ringed (average for spring is 1036 ringed birds) of 47 different species.
Both the Chiffchaff and the Blackcap had numbers above average in our spring campaign despite the cold spring with few insectivore birds.
The average temperature has been lower than normal in May and the precipitation during this month has almost reached double than average. Windy days have also been abundant during the spring season.
We deduce that due to the weatherconditions the spring migration has been delayed for many species, and the breeding success has probably been poor for several species this spring. Especially the number of thrushes and warblers (excepting Blackcap and Chiffchaff that keep on average numbers) have been rather low. On the contrary, finches and some marine species have been higher than average this spring.
On the nets, the 5 top species have been Lesser Redpoll (155), Eurasian Siskin (138), Willow Warbler (79), European Robin (76) and Common Blackbird (59), although the last three haven’t reached average numbers. The opposite has happened with Siskins and Redpolls which have been 2 and 3 times higher than average. As notable species captured on the nets, we have had 2 Sparrowhawks, 3 Tengmal’s Owls (both rare during spring ringing) and a Thrush Nightingale (the first one on the net since 1999).
Spring ringing numbers 2015 Lista Bird Observatory
We have started this year to track the Northern Wheatear nests and put, in addition to the metal ring, a color ring with a 3 letter code to both adults and chicks within a limited area. More than 60 adults have been trapped with spring traps and more than 40 chicks have been ringed on the nest. Over 40 nests have been found in the area. However, there have been an abundant number of inaccessible nests which have significantly decreased the number of ringed chicks.
A total of 196 species have been observed in the area from January to June 2015. Although some passerines have been lower in numbers and later than normal, there have been some species in eather high numbers, such as, Red-throated diver, Great Northern diver, Dotterel, Rock Pipit and the 4 species of Skuas. On the other hand, Black Headed Gull, Barnacle Goose, Black Throated diver and Wood Pigeon have been rather low.
Some of the waders that have been doing fine, such as Redshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Common Sandpiper and some are under average such as Oystercatcher, Green Sandpiper, Curlew and Lapwing. At least 8 different pairs of Lapwings have been in the area, at least 6 of them laying eggs on nest, but none have got chicks. A total of 4 nests have been destroyed in farming areas.
Although the ringing numbers haven’t been high, there have been a long list of remarkable/rare species observed in the area during the spring. There have been Black Kite, Pallid Harrier, Stone-Curlew, Pectoral Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Little Tern, Bee-eater, Great Egret, Woodchat Shrike, Serin, Buff-bellied Pipit and Laughing Gull (the last 2 species have been the first time seen at Lista Bird Observatory).
Mediandate (with the deviation in days in paranthes) for the observations of some selected species was: Brent Goose 28.May (+1), Greylag Goose 4.April (-2), Red-throated diver 8.May (-4), Woodsandpiper 11.May (+1), Whimbrel 11.May (+1) and Mew Gull 8.April (-4). The similar date for some species in the nets was: Robin 11.April (-2), Song Thrush 8.April (-4), Whitethroat 12.May (-6), Blackcap 9.May (+4), Chiffchaff 9.May (+11), Willow Warbler 5.May (-5), Linnet 2.May (-7), Lesser Redpoll 21.May (+6). Remarkably, both Whitethroat and Willow Warbler came earlier than the normal average despite the cold May weather, while Chiffchaff had a median date later than Willow Warbler.
The observatory did continue the guiding of schools and private visits to the observatory, beeing guided during this spring a total of 200children and 60 others. One volunteer from the UK, Emilie Shuttlewood, have assisted Simon Davies who was responsible for the ringing campaign with the operation of the observatory during 17 days (from May 06 to May 23).