Saturday, 6 July 2013

Reed bed session produces few birds

I managed to drag myself out of bed at 04:30 this morning which was an hour later than planned. I hate early morning starts, always have and probably always will and I take my hat off to anyone that doesn't find it a problem. I joined John G at Scotman's Flash at around 05:30 where he had already erected 6 nets. We quickly erected another 4 nets in the glorious early morning light in high hopes of a reasonable catch.

First impressions were not great as it was much quieter than expected in both the audible and visual sense. At this time of year adults should be busy feeding fledged young or young in the nest and some juveniles should have reached independence. This should result in a lot of activity and calls of young begging for food but this was far less evident than expected.

Adult Reed Warbler

Juvenile Reed Warbler

Adult sedge Warbler

Juvenile Sedge Warbler, this bird is likely to leave the country by the beginning of August.

Catching was slow, very, very slow given the conditions and amount of netting deployed. Although the weather has been reasonable recently we still seem to be suffering the effects of the late cold spring. There were far fewer insects around than expected which may not seem a bad thing in terms of the biting variety but this is clearly having an effect on our breeding birds.

Not sure what this is but if they don't bite you many reed bed insects look like they could.
The final ringing total was rather disappointing and seems to reflect a dearth of birds and a generally poor breeding season to date. The number of juveniles caught was well below what might be expected for both migrant and resident species. Hopefully what is left of the breeding season will see some improvement but only time will tell.
Ringing totals 06/07/13 with retraps in brackets
Reed Warbler 7 (8)
Sedge Warbler 2 (6)
Blue Tit 5 (1)
Chiffchaff 2
Willow Warbler 2
Reed Bunting 1 (1)
Whitethroat 1
Treecreeper 1
Blackbird 1
Total 22 new birds and 16 retraps

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