Bird ringing at Martin Down nature reserve

Yesterday we made our last CES visit to Martin Down nature reserve! A CES is a Constant Effort Site where we go every 10 days or so and put up the nets for the same amount of time! They are really good for monitoring the birds species and populations in an area!

The key things that we need to monitor are numbers (abundance), the number of births (breeding success or productivity) and the number of deaths, usually recorded as the number that do not die (survival). Once we have this information, we can calculate expected changes in numbers and look for the stage of the life cycle which is most affected by environmental change. We can then find, or at least narrow down, the possible cause(s) of a decline.

We arrived at half five and put the 11 nets up. The habitat is scrub and we catch a variety of different and interesting species!

We caught 7 long tailed tits, 3 of which were juveniles which were just starting to moult into adult plumage. I absolutely love ringing lotties! They are extremely cute and their tails are so long for their tiny bodies!

We caught 4 juvenile bullfinches, all in 3J plumage which indicates they were from a late brood!

And also a stunning female linnet!

Willow warbler
Garden warbler
Adult white throat LEFT (bright eye) Juvenile whitethroat RIGHT (dark eye)”

We caught 7 species of warbler: blackcap, chiffchaff, willow warbler, garden warbler, sedge warbler, whitethroat, lesser whitethroat

It was a lovely day! We caught a big variety of species and had a total of 50 birds!

Long tailed tit 7

Linnet 1

Robin 4

Sedge warbler 1

Great tit 3

Whitethroat 11

Dunnock 1

Blackcap 4

Song thrush 1

Chiffchaff 3

Blackbird 2

Bullfinch 4

Garden warbler 1

Wren 3

Willow warbler 1

Blue tit 2


Martin Down is also amazing for wildflowers, butterflies and insects! Here are a few we spotted!


Broomrape is a very rare wildflower – it isn’t dead this is its normal colour and look!

Wild basil
Cinnabar moth caterpillar
Bittersweet nightshade
Tortoiseshell butterfly

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