Monday, 10 July 2017

Bilinge 9th July 2017 - more Swallows

I had planned an early morning ringing session in the top willows but I just couldn't motivate myself when the alarm went off, despite the weather conditions being near perfect. I decided some extra sleep was the order of the day; a decision that was made much easier because I knew I had the option of going up in the evening instead. I suppose I could, and perhaps should, have done both but I will save that kind of effort for later in the season.

I went to site at 7pm and quickly set 2 nets in the willows. I could hear a few warblers calling in the bushes as I was setting up but one thing that was absent was any sizeable tit flocks, not that I am complaining, although I did hear some Long-tailed Tits in the distance later on. There were quite few Swallows hawking insects overhead so I was hopeful that some would come into roost again and thankfully they did.

Part of the Swallow catch. I don't know why this site usually gets an early Swallow roost but it does, although numbers and duration of occupancy of the roost have varied from year to year. However, its future may be limited by the growth of the trees as the birds seem to prefer to roost in willows that average about 1.5 to 2 metres tall and some are more than twice that height now.

Juvenile Swallow

Adult male Swallow showing a fine pair of tail streamers.
The total of 41 new birds and 1 retrap was a good result with the majority of the catch being made up of Swallows and warblers. The individual totals (retraps in brackets) were: Blue Tit 1; Willow Tit 1; Swallow 23; Chiffchaff 4; Willow Warbler 3 (1); Blackcap 5; Blackbird 1; Goldfinch 2, Reed Bunting 1.

Observations of note were a Noctule Bat, surprisingly the first I have seen over the site, and as I was leaving I could hear a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from the territory in NE corner.

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