Brent Geese migrating NW this spring
Report from spring 2017
Lista Bird Observatory completed in 2017 its 28th consecutive year of spring ringing campaign. The 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 lower than normal years with 932 birds ringed (average for spring is 1028) of 41 different species. Lapwing and Common Snipe have had a strong decline over the last three years in the area.
Young Wheatears with colour ring
The average temperature has been higher than normal throughout the year, with 1.3 ° C higher than normal from March to May. There has been little precipitation in April and more than normal in May, which may have affected the breeding success. There has been many days with strong winds, dominating winds from NW and some from the East. We have therefore not been able to open the nets during quite many days (a total of 24 days without ringing this season compared to 14 days in 2016).
Although many species have turned up in low numbers, the number of Wagtails and some Warblers (Phylloscopus) have been high. Last year, Willow Warblers had the lowest catch ever, and it was the first time that this species showed a lower number than its relative, the Chiffchaff. This year, both species have been the only Warbler species ringed in normal numbers. Sedge Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler and Blackcap have been ringed in low numbers.
Many Blackbirds came to Lista the first week of the season (37 individuals were ringed that week). Redstart and Blackbird are the only thrushes that showed numbers above normal. Robin, Northern Wheatear, Fieldfare and Songthrush have been ringed and seen in low numbers.
The finches (Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Siskin and Linnet) were also low in the ringing campaign this year.
The exception was the Lesser Redpoll, which was ringed in normal numbers.
The "top 5 species" in the nets have been Willow Warbler (211), Robin (115), Blackbird (95), Chiffchaff (83) and Lesser Redpoll (62).
This year we have again monitored the Wheatear breeding in the station area, ringing both adult and young birds with colour-coded rings. The effort has been good, being more people in the field this year. It's difficult to determine how the breeding season has been since the project started in 2015 and we therefore have limited data. However, it has not been a bad year, resulting in 10 nests found in the lighthouse area (Gunnarhaug, Vågsvollvåien), all parents and 18 chicks were colour ringed.
From January to June, 193 species have been recorded in the station area (12 fewer than last year). There have been a number of species that have been registered in very high numbers, such as Barnacle Goose, Gannet, Sanderling and Shoveler. On the other hand, there have been relatively low numbers of seabirds on the move. Although some waders like Ringed Plover, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Red Knot, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Whimbrel, Curlew, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper and Turnstone were recorded with lower numbers than normal. Especially Lapwing and Common Snipe have had a strong decline over the last three years in the area.
There was 4 different pairs of Lapwing in the area last year (against 8 in 2015), and some of them laid eggs.
On the contrary, there was no couples in the area this year. Unfortunately, this is the third year in a row, that Lapwings have 100% unsuccessful breeding around the lighthouse area.
There have been a number of remarkable or rare species in the area during the spring. We have registered 1 Great Egret, 1 Spoonbill, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Short-toed Lark, 1 Red-rumped Swallow, 1 Tawny Pipit, 1 Subalpine Warbler, 2 Golden Oriole and 1 Corn Bunting.
The Bird Observatory has continued to guide schools and private visitors in the spring. In total, around 36 visitors have been guided in cooperation with the Lista Wetland Center. Paulien Vanhauwere (Belgium) and Torben Langer (Germany) have been volunteers at the station for several weeks and helped Rubén Piculo (the main ringer this spring) and Aïda López who have been responsible for field work in spring 2017.
If you want to check the list of birds ringed during this spring, click HERE.