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2023 Lymington - Keyhaven Marsh Bird Ringing Report

New Forest Ringing Group

Marcus Ward, Andrew Colenutt, Tommy Saunders,Saul Alonso, Willow Bloomfield, Rob Farnworth, Emily-Louise Griffin,Katiana Saleiko, Tara & Amy Squire

Nightingale, Keyhaven Marsh, 10 August 2023


This was eighth year of ringing at Lymington-Keyhaven Marshes and our third year of the BTO CES (Constant Effort Survey) at Keyhaven. Poor weather had an impact on our work with some extended spells of wet and windy weather in the summer months limiting effort for the CES. As with previous years the main focus was on mist netting at Keyhaven Marsh and Normandy Farm. In addition the Tern colour-ringing project continued.

Overall 815 birds of 49 species were processed in addition to 75 re-traps/controls.

Observations and key species

As with previous years, a diverse mix of species was recorded. Numbers through the summer period were lower than previous years. We don’t use tape lures on the CES which reduces the overall catch but improves year on year consistency. 8 of the 12 CES sessions were completed using seven 18m nets, catching 203 birds of 26 species (cf 224 birds of 25 species in 2022, see table 1 for CES totals).

Table 1: totals from the 2023 constant effort survey (totals include re-traps)

Notable records included a good total of six juvenile Nightjar (again confirming breeding on site) along with good totals for Tree Pipit and Stonechat with 20 and 25 caught respectively. New birds not previously ringed on site included Nightingale, Siskin, Yellow Wagtail and Mediterranean Gull.

Notable recoveries included well-travelled Long-tailed Tit (a control from East Yorks) and Blackbird (a control from Wolverhampton). A Reed Warbler from Llangorse Lake, Powys was the second we have controlled from that location, along with a Redpoll further adding to a notable run of records of controlled passerines from Wales. A 16 year old Sandwich Tern was found recently deceased in the Tern colony, first ringed at Lady Island Lake, Wexford. Our most notable Tern recovery was a Sandwich Tern ringed at the colony in June and noted off the coast at The Gambia having travelled 4400km (see table 2 for all 2023 recoveries). A male Peregrine, first ringed at Stoney Point in 2020 was observed throughout 2023 courting an immature female Peregrine on territory at Gull Island, Beaulieu River. The pair did not successfully breed in 2023, most likely due to the age of the female.

The Solent-wide Tern project continued with 19 Little Tern, 19 Common Tern and 33 Sandwich Tern pulli ringed. Overall, breeding success was good with many fledged young subsequently observed. Although avian flu was recorded elsewhere in the Solent and in Poole Harbour there was no evidence of H5N1 impacting the colonies in the western Solent.

Sandwich Tern (409) and Peregrine (THF) with colour rings observed on Beaulieu River in 2023

2023 Ringing recoveries

Table 2: Controls and selected re-traps recorded in 2023 (see appendix 1 for full list of recoveries)

Immature Nightjar, Keyhaven Marsh and immature Peregrine

Future plans

In addition to continuation of the general ringing at both Keyhaven and Normandy, we plan to continue the CES at Keyhaven and Tern colour-ringing project based around Normandy Marsh and Cockleshell Saltmarsh.


Thanks to Pete Durnell for arranging access and providing the relevant permissions and to Julian Sheppard and his team for maintaining the rides. Also thanks to the ringing team: Andrew Colenutt (A), Tommy Saunders (C), Saul Alonso (T), Willow Bloomfield (T), Georgie Digby (T), Rob Farnworth (T), Emily-Louise Griffin (T), Katiana Saleiko (T), Amy Squire (T), Jamie Ward (T), and Tara Squire along with the many ringers and trainees that joined us on site throughout the year.

Marcus Ward, January 2024




Redstart, Normandy, 29 August 2023                                            Grasshopper Warbler, Keyhaven, 21 August 2023

Yellow Wagtail, Normandy, 29 August 2023                                 Tree Pipit, Keyhaven, 21 August 2023

Siskin, Keyhaven, 16 September 2023                               Kingfisher, Keyhaven, 20 August 2023

Appendix 1.

2023 ringing totals from Lymington-Keyhaven Marshes

Appendix 2.

All ringing recoveries (controls & notable re-traps)


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