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Ring Ouzels in 2013

by Kendrick S. Hutchinson and Victor Fairbrother

[Ed: Ken Hutchinson has kindly allowed us to offer the 2013 report on Ring Ouzels in Rosedale and other parts of the North York Moors, written together with Victor Fairbrother. The report can be downloaded as a PDF of approx 1.3Mb.]

Top: first-year juvenile ring ouzel, Nab Scar south, Rosedale, 6th July 2013 (V. Fairbrother)
Bottom: ring ouzel hatchling just emerging from egg, Round Hill south, Rosedale, 1st July 2013 (K. Hutchinson)

To give you a taste of the report here are the summary and introduction,,,,

Summary of 2013 Ring Ouzel Report

  1. First-arrival recorded at Reeking Gill on 29th March
  2. Second highest record of breeding pairs with 20 territories recorded
  3. Cold start to breeding season delayed laying
  4. Nest productivity recovered well after previous year’s poor result
  5. 65% of eggs laid in 2013 produced chicks that successfully left the nest
  6. First time pair found nesting on moor plateau
  7. Pair foraging at East Mines seen taking food 1.5 km to nest in Northdale
  8. New graphs overlaying local climate data and first-egg laying dates


The 2013 survey was the 14th year in which a detailed study had been made of the ring ouzel Turdus torquatus torquatus (RZ) population in the North York Moors National Park. The findings of these studies were submitted to various bodies including the North York Moors National Park Authority, the RSPB Ring Ouzel Study Group, Natural England (York office) and the land-owner and head keeper of Spaunton Estate.

As in previous years the 2013 survey concentrated on the Rosedale area of the North York Moors; an area of around 25 sq/km. And as for the last few years, visits were made during late summer to locate ring ouzels prior to migration.

The 2013 season marked 12 years of unbroken study in the Rosedale area; only the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001 and the subsequent closure of the moors prevented continuous study since the start of the project in 1999.

As in previous years the north-west and east side of the dale was covered by Vic Fairbrother and the west side by Ken Hutchinson.

Finally, with increasing concern for the impact on wildlife from climate change this report includes more detailed data on local and regional weather. Both mean temperature and total rainfall are shown in chart form for the Spring period and the month of April; the key month for ring ouzel first nests and eggs. Local weather data has then been overlaid on charts showing the earliest first- egg date for each year since 2009 in respect of April mean temperature and total rainfall. By merging both sets of data in this way any correlation between climatic events and breeding activity may become apparent.

© Ken Hutchinson, Vic Fairbrother, Ryedale Natural History Society 2013

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