Sunday, 22 April 2012

Salvaged weekend; just

I was up before first light on Saturday only to find it raining hard and scuppering my plans to go out. When it did finally stop I walked to Longshaw and put up the usual dog leg. I couldn't go anywhere else as the car is out of action having blown its turbo. It soon became obvious that no new warblers had arrived and Whitethroats, in particular, were conspicuous by their absence. There was no sign of any passage either apart from the odd Meadow Pipit. Dead just about sums it up and the only bird caught was a retrap Willow Warbler. I should have gone back to bed rather than go out.

Almost the same script on Sunday, up before first light to find it raining again. This cold showery weather is starting to get boring and there is no let up in sight. Went back to bed this time and had another few hours sleep. When I dragged myself out of bed again it was still raining but it soon stopped and the breeze dropped right off. This tempted me to try a net in the garden. All the garden regulars seem to recognise the net poles and either stay clear or work their way around the net but this new adult male Blackbird was caught. This is the 16th Blackbird caught in the garden this year so hopefully a few of the earlier ones were winter visitors that are now back in Scandinavia.

Blackbird (Turdus merula)
This was followed by a Collared Dove but then a breeze picked up and the sun came out making any further captures unlikely. Unfortunately my garden just doesn't have enough cover or shelter for netting in anything other than flat calm and overcast conditions.

Collared Dove (Sterptopelia decaocto)
The sun produced just enough warmth to fool a Speckled Wood into flying. It flew sluggishly into the garden where it soon settled. It allowed me to coax it on to my finger for a photograph before I put back in the hedge to wait for conditions to improve. I think it will have a long wait looking at the forecast.
Speckled Wood (Parage aegeria)

Speckled Wood (Parage aegeria)
I was still keen to try and get a few more birds and the dog needed a walk so off we went with a couple of poles and my gear to an area of willow scrub close to home. This was my first visit to this site this spring, the willows providing enough shelter and shade to make netting in the afternoon worth a try. A 20ft net and and brief burst of song played from an mp3 player soon resulted in a Blackcap being caught and then a change of song produced a Chiffchaff. I then moved the net to a boggy part of the scrub where it was nice to see plenty of Dog Violets coming into flower. Here another Chiffchaff was soon tempted into the net.

Dog Violet (Viola riviniana)

Chiffchaff (Phylloscopus trillobita)
This was repeated around the site and resulted in further two Blackcaps three Chiffchaffs and a Willow Warbler. The final tally for the day being: Blackbird 1
Collared Dove 1
Willow Warbler 1
Blackcap 3
Chiffchaff 5
Total 11

The dog loves coming with me and is really patient and will sit for ages. He didn't like part of this site and seems to have an allergy to nettles.

Hopefully the weather will improve eventually and let a few more birds in otherwise it is going to be a slow spring.

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