Monday, 1 August 2016

Late July: a quick update.

I managed to get out to Billinge a few times during the period 24th to 31st July but some of the sessions were weather restricted. The generally unsettled conditions with bands of showers and spells of rain also had an impact on the number of birds moving through the site on some days so the combined total of 140 new birds and 16 retraps was quite good, all things considered. 

The main target species was Willow Warbler with a total of 45 ringed during the period. This brings the number of Willow Warblers ringed in July to 105 with 101 of those having been ringed in the last 2 weeks. This is a slightly better total than last year, when 84 were ringed in July, but the increase has been achieved through extra effort rather than there being more birds around. I am still of the opinion that Willow Warblers have had a relatively poor breeding season, locally at least.

Willow Warbler migration is getting into full swing.
 A late evening visit on the 25th, to check if any Swallows were roosting, revealed that only 30 or so were gathering to roost. These were harassed a few times by a young male Sparrowhawk and this caused them to settle in a different area of the willows but not before 18 had been caught and ringed.

Juvenile Swallow
Adult Swallow
Acros continued to put in an appearance now and again with another Sedge Warbler ringed on the 28th followed by single Reed Warblers on the 30th and 31st; all were young birds. 

Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Bullfinches are starting to take advantage of the Knapweed and other meadow plants that are going to seed and this resulted in 4 juveniles and 3 adult males being ringed.

Male Bullfinch
Tits continued to be very thin on the ground, to say the least, but Long-tailed Tits finally put in an appearance with a party of 3 seen on the 28th one of which, a juvenile, was caught and ringed.

Combined totals (retraps in brackets) for the period 24th to 31st July were: Swallow 18; Chiffchaff 19 (3); Willow Warbler 45 (4); Blackcap 13 (5); Whitethroat 5 (2); Reed Warbler 2; Sedge Warbler 1; Goldcrest 4 (1); Blackbird 1; Long-tailed Tit 1; Blue Tit 4; Great Tit 4; Coal Tit 1; Chaffinch 4; Goldfinch 8; Linnet 2; Bullfinch 7; Reed Bunting 1 (1).

I don't see many dragonflies at the site as the nearest pond is some distance away but this Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis) found its way into one of the mist-nets. 
Brown Hawker (Aeshna grandis)

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