Saturday, 14 April 2012

Quality not quantity

I managed to get up at 05:30 this morning and was putting up two nets at Longshaw just before sunrise which is early for me. The area was lifting with Willow Warblers compared to a week ago when only one was present. More than a dozen were singing in the surrounding scrub with five singing quite close to the two nets. Three Willow Warblers were caught; one new bird and two retraps. Both retraps had been ringed at the same site on 24th April 2010.
Willow Warbler (Phylloscopus trochilus)
Virtually nothing seemed to be passing overhead despite the clear blue sky and calm conditions but I still played Redpoll lure on the off chance that one or two would be on the move. I hadn't heard any Redpolls drop in but four Lessers Redpolls were soon sat by one of the nets of which two were caught. To my surprise and delight another five were in the nets a little while later. One of these birds was a retrap which had been ringed on 25th October last year on its way south.

Lesser Redpoll (Carduelis caberet)
The breeze started to pick up and no birds were caught for a while but then two male Blackcaps were caught together in one net. These were probably still on passage and will move on to breed elsewhere. One of them had conspicuous amounts of pollen around its bill from feeding in flowers as can be seen in the photograph. 
Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
The breeze continued to pick up, which isn't a good mix with strong sunshine, so I was home for 11:30. I was more than happy with the mornings ringing despite only twelve birds of three species being caught. I just may give it a go again tomorrow.
On getting home I checked the moth trap and at last a new species for the spring in the form of an Early Thorn. This was a pleasant change from the small numbers of Clouded Drabs, Hebrew Characters, Common Quakers, Small Quakers, Twin-spotted Quakers and Early Greys that have been the typical fare for some time now.

Early Thorn (Selenia dentaria)

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