Month: April 2014

Winter bird ringing phase ends

The Stanny ringing team have now finished their winter phase of work and are now focussing on the three RAS projects they undertake at the farm. These are for sedge warbler, reed warbler and bearded tit.

Retrap Adults for Survival (RAS) scheme is a national standardised ringing programme within the British Trust for Ornithology Ringing Scheme that has been running since 1999. Ringers aim to catch or re-sight at least 50 adult birds of a single species in a study area during the breeding season. The study area is well defined and the ringer is aiming to record the vast majority of the adults.

In 2012 there were 163 projects throughout Britain and Ireland on species as diverse as House Sparrow, Moorhen, Pied Flycatcher and Manx Shearwater. The most recent RAS News provides a full list of the species (

RAS is used to give adult survival rates and is particularly useful for those species not widely covered by CES.


The first sedge warbler were caught, processed and released in early April.


The Retrapping Adults for Survival Scheme is supported by a partnership between the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO ) and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) (on behalf of: Council for Nature Conservation and the Countryside, Natural Resources Wales, Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage). It is also part of the BTO Ringing Scheme which is funded by the BTO /JNCC Partnership, The National Parks and Wildlife Service (Ireland) and the ringers themselves.


UEA student based at Stanny

Nik Berthlodt is now several weeks into his particular study which takes in all the potential lapwing breeding sites on the Alde estuary.

A RSPB intern Jamie Curtis Hayward is helping Nik and has his hands full recording predator data from all the sites.

Nik recording information from a lapwing nest

Nik recording information from a lapwing nest


The influence of small copses and field/local scale landscapes on the distribution and hatching success of lapwings
This project will form part of the RSPB and the University of East Anglia long-term study of wader breeding success on wet grasslands. These studies have been ongoing for the last decade and identified habitat management techniques that are associated with differing levels of nest predation. Lapwing nests are less likely to suffer predation in the centre of wet fields, and in close proximity to tall vegetation. These factors could affect how predators forage in the landscape, with surface water potentially restricting predator movements within fields and taller vegetation potentially providing both small mammal prey and shelter.
The priority now is to quantify whether the same processes operate in the wider countryside, including land outside nature reserves, and thus to identify how current Environmental Stewardship options for wet grassland can be developed to try to reduce the impacts of predators on breeding waders.
To accomplish this, the project as a whole aims to (i) measure nest predation rates for waders in the wider countryside in relation to the factors known to affect predation rates on reserves (field wetness & availability of tall vegetation), (ii) assess the extent to which grassland HLS options support small mammal populations (the primary prey of most nest predators), and (iii) assess the importance of different nest predators for waders nesting in the wider countryside and within nature reserves. We hope that this project will provide Defra with habitat management recommendations that could be used to reduce predation rates in wider countryside wader populations and could be delivered using agri-environment options.
Does the local landscape affect choice of nest site? (copses, in-field and margin vegetation, access points, water features and other structures)
Does the local landscape affect nest success?
Does group/colonial nesting affect predation? (size of, and position in, colony)
Does the local landscape influence the nature of predation? (day or night time, birds or mammals)
In discussion with land owners and managers, taking into account grazing needs and other relevant issues, we’d like to do the following:
Using standard protocols across the whole of the project locate lapwing and redshank nests and monitor their success.

This involves weekly (or more frequent) surveys of sites to locate breeding pairs of lapwings and redshank. Sites are typically observed from a vehicle or on foot at distance using telescope.
The position of nest sites will be logged using GPS. At each located nest a temperature data logger will be inserted into the nest lining to quantify predation rates and timing of predation. The logger will be retrieved and data downloaded once nest is no longer in use (either after predation or successful hatching).
Nest cameras, where available, may be used on selected nests to corroborate data logger outputs and indicate reasons for nest failure and identify predator species.
Vegetation and wet features will be mapped and changes monitored throughout the season. This will be done in a combination of pre-season work and during other field work to minimise disturbance.
Results will be available to landowners and will include records of lapwing and redshank nesting populations and hatching success and the effects of the landscape (if any) on success and the level and nature of nest predation.
Additional Data Collection
As part of the wider project, and in agreement with land owners and managers, ink trap tunnels and trail cameras may be deployed to provide evidence of mammal activity.

This work would not be possible without the support from Stanny House Farm and the Stanny Environment Group volunteers.

Mothing sessions begin at Stanny

Matthew Deans and Clive Moore have now had several catching nights since early March, listed below are their catches. These first sessions are generally around the farm buildings and gardens. Later in the year the pair will explore other habitas within the farm including woodland, reedbed and watercourse edge.

8 March 2014 weather – cool

1 March Moth Alsophila aescularia
1 Oak Beauty Biston strataria
2 Dotted Border Agriopis marginaria
23 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi
5 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta
9 Hebrew Character Orthisia gothica
1 Early Grey Xylocampa areola
1 The Satellite Eupsilia transversa
4 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii
1 Agonopterix alstromeriana
1 Agonopterix heracliana

18 March 2014 weather cold and windy overnight

7 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda
111 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi
1 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta
3 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica
1 Early Grey Xylocampa areola
1 Tortricampa alternella

30 March 2014 weather mild, overcast night

2 March Moth Alsophila aescularia
1 Shoulder Stripe Anticlea badiata
1 Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata
3 Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviate
1 Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata
1 Broom-tip Chesias rufata (Notable)
4 Early Thorn Selenia dentaria
4 Oak Beauty Biston strataria
1 Dotted Border Agriopis marginaria
4 The Engrailed Ectropis bistortata
5 Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa
2 Pine Beauty Panolis flammea
117 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda
2 Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis
2 Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda
13 Clouuded Drab Orthosia incerta
33 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica
6 Early Grey Xylocampa areola
3 Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica
1 Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus
1 Dotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginea(Notable)
1 The Chestnut Conistra vaccinii

1 The Herald Scoliopteryx libatrix
1 Caloptilia betulicola
1 Diurnea flagella
1 Parsnip Moth Depressaria pastinacella
4 Agonopterix alstromeriana
3 Twenty-plume Moth Alucita hexadactyla
1 Emmelina monodactyla

12 April 2014 weather cool, clear, windy

5 Frosted Green Polyploca ridens
2 Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata
1 Chocolate-tip Clostera curtula
3 Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica
2 Pine Beauty Panolis flammea
1 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda
15 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi
7 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica
1 Early Grey Xylocampa areola
1 Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica

Breeding Lapwing

Working out of Stanny Field Centre, members of the Stanny Environment Group plus other volunteers are surveying all possible lapwing breeding sites on the Alde estuary. They are coordinating the their work using the same methodology and it is hope that by the end of this years breeding season an accurate breeding assessment of this under threat wader will be achieved.Image

OtleyEaston visit

Last week students on the Wildlife Managment and Conservation degree course at nearby OtleyEaston College, visited Stanny. They explored the farm and discussed the possibilities of basing some of their studies at the new Field Centre.Image

Richard Woolnough shows the students signs of otter activity.