Tuesday, 27 August 2013

26/08/13: the end of a busy bank holiday weekend

I went back to the reed bed site yesterday evening (25/08/13) with my son Jack and Bryn, the dog. The conditions were ideal with no wind to speak of and we soon had the nets up.  We were joined by John G and George P a little while later. I played a warbler/Long-tailed Tit mix on the MP3 lure at first and we soon caught a few Reed Warblers and Blackcaps along with a Chiffchaff. As soon as the first Swallows arrived we switched tracks on the MP3 players to Swallow and closed one of the nets.

The motley crew waiting for the Swallows 25/08/13
The number of Swallows built up as usual and by sunset there were at least 800 over the reed bed. The Hobby wasn't seen and the birds started to settle about half an hour sooner than they had the previous night. We controlled the catch by careful use of the MP3 lures and it wasn't long before we had caught 92 Swallows including a retrap from last year and another control.

I had set up an actinic moth trap in the reed bed which meant I had to go back this morning to check it. I was undecided as to whether I would go early and put some nets up but as it happened I did and it was well worth it. I had 4 nets up from just before sunrise and it soon became apparent that there were plenty of warblers about; the moth trap quickly becoming a secondary consideration. Most of the birds were caught in one of the nets with aid of the MP3 lures with warblers accounting for 51 of the 64 birds caught. A total of 21 Blackcaps were ringed which is an exceptional number for this site.

Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)
Buoyed up by the success of this morning I went back this evening to make the most of the fine weather and to try for a few more Swallows at the roost. This session produced another 79 new Swallows and 1 control. This brought the number of Swallows ringed this month and for the year to 1,061 and another 6 Swallows ringed elsewhere have been controlled.

Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis).
These often get caught in mist-nets when ringing in reed beds at this time of year.

Ringing totals for 26/08/13

Morning session
Blackcap 21
Blue Tit 7
Bullfinch 1
Chiffchaff 5
Reed Bunting 1 (1)
Reed Warbler 12 (1)
Sedge Warbler 6
Swallow 3
Whitethroat 5
Willow Warbler 1
Total 62 (+2)

Evening session
Swallow 79 (+1 control)
Total 79 (+1 control)

and here are a couple of moths from the day:

The Chevron (Eulithis testate)

Blood-vein  (Timandra comae)

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