Sunday, 11 May 2014

Early May catch-up

Frequent heavy and blustery showers over much of the last week have really put a dampener on ringing activities. We had been spoiled by the weather for much of April so this unsettled period has drastically reduced the amount of time spent in the field and just when nesting activity was really taking off. It probably isn't doing nesting birds any good either as some of the downpours have been really heavy and wind gusts have approached near gale force at times; not good if you are a ground nesting Willow Warbler or a Reed Warbler trying to build a suspended nest in swaying reeds.

We had started to ring a few broods from some of the earlier nesting passerines before the weather changed. Robins topped the nestling ringing totals with 27 ringed from 6 nests followed by 2 broods each of Blackbird and Song Thrush. Quite a few other nests were in the pipeline largely thanks to Wayne's nest finding ability but it will be a case of finding a suitable weather window to follow-up on these until the weather picks up again.

Brood of Robins that have just been ringed and are about to be returned to the nest.

Song Thrush nestlings in the distinctive mud lined nest.

This Blackbird nest was on the root-ball of a small fallen tree.

Only 2 Blackbird chicks in this nest but they all count.

This weather has also affected catches in the moth trap. Catches were fairly low at the end of April but have fallen further with low single figure counts being the norm so far this month. However a few firsts for the year are turning up just now and again to keep a bit of interest going and a White-pinion Spotted on the morning of the 7th being a good example. This morning the catch was particularly dire with only a rather worn Clouded Drab, similarly worn Common Quaker, a Shuttle Shaped Dart and a slug in the trap. It goes to show how wet it has been when slugs are seeking shelter.

This White-pinion Spotted didn't quite find its way into the trap and was found resting on
the wall nearby. This is a species that has become a bit more common in recent years
but it is still a fairly scarce visitor to the garden.
Male Muslin Moths have put in an appearance on 3 days so far this month.

Leopard Slug in the moth trap this morning.
These can grow really quite big so this is a relative youngster.
The weather is looking better from mid-week so hopefully we can catch up with some nest recording and ringing from then.

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