Sunday, 27 June 2010

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve 26/06/10

Yesterday was very hot and I suffered in the heat, but it was worth it:

10 new Common Whitethroats (including 3 juveniles), 2 new Sedge Warblers and 1 retrap. Plus two new and sucessful net rides.

In all, I have caught 18 new whitethroats in my last 3 visits here. The site is full of them!

Above: One of the juvenile Whitethroats.

Above: The tail of an adult whitethroat.

Above: Net ride 1.

Above: Net ride 2.

Above: A catch (Whitethroat - what else!)

Providing interest during the day were a number of VERY noisy Green Woodpeckers constantly to-ing and fro-ing over the nets (youngsters must be about). I'm quite confident of catching one here with a bit of luck.

A flash of colour seen out of the very corner of my eye proved to be a Kingfisher flying along the river and an alarm call from a kestrel (presumably nesting) alerted me to a Red Kite.

Just after midday, I met up with Liz Millbank (Greensand Trust Ranger) and co. at the end of their guided walk around the site (orchids and flutterbies were seen). They were also fortunate enough to see the Red Kite. Before Liz left (and after she had been sniffing otter spraint!) I pointed out a Kingfisher carrying food (a site tick for the year) and lucky few hung around long enough to see me process a retrap Sedge Warbler.

All the data has now been entered on the computer ready to be sent for checking by my trainer and then sent to BTO. Perhaps one day I will get some info back from the BTO telling me where one (or more) of these birds have been recaught? I'm hoping so!

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Sedge Warblers and Whitethroats

Whilst England were mustering a fairly inept performance in the World Cup, Errol and I went to Sandy Smith Nature Reserve for an evening attempt to catch Grasshopper Warblers and perhaps prove breeding.

No Grasshopper Warblers despite 360ft of nets. Whether I was just lucky in catching one last week, or that we don't know the site well enough yet is something only time and further visits will tell.

We did catch 5 Whitethroats - 2 retraps from last Sunday and 3 new (2 males, 3 females of which two were in egg). Also, 4 new Sedge Warblers (all adults - 3 male, one female) - I caught and released one unringed last sunday because it had scaly legs.

Above: A Sedge Warbler.

With it being a very nice evening and with us not being that busy, we were able to enjoy some of the supporting cast ...

Above: A ringing demonstration was given to this herd.

Errol watched 2 hares boinking. A cuckoo was heard and seen, a Jay flew past and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was going to and fro constantly. At dusk, a Little Owl was to be seen surveying territory from the telegraph wires. And just as we were leaving we saw a hunting Barn Owl.

Above: This photograph of a Barn Owl was taken elsewhere in Bedfordshire back in May whilst I was helping Amanda check Barn Owl boxes.

And in the morning whilst ringing at Priory Country Park, we had a flyover Red Kite.

A pretty good day - despite the footy result.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Tickity tick, tick ... tick BOOM

In the past I have had to rely on my learned friends (i.e. other ringers), for all my ringing ticks (thanks guys!) - 76 to date in total.

Today brought a tick entirely of my own and I cannot be more pleased (having imagined or more accurately day dreamed about this yesterday).

Without more ado, I present to you a Grasshopper Warbler:

Above: I have high hopes of catching more of these at this site.

Above & Below: V670807 is now a well photographed bird!

Below: Not a flattering angle to photograph a bird ... but it shows some of the plumage details nonetheless.

Below: Spotty throat.

Below: The ringing bible says this is one way to make sure this is actually a Grasshopper Warbler. The measurement of the notch to the tip of the 2nd primary should be between 8 and 11.5mm.

As you can see, this 2nd primary comes in at just over 10mm.

I think I shall be trying to ring more of these ... and sooner rather than later!

Sandy Smith Nature Reserve

I have adopted Sandy Smith Nature Reserve (nr Clophill, Bedfordshire) as my ringing site. The site is owned and managed by the Greensand Trust - it was donated to the trust by Peter Smith and named after his wife.

The site is quite diverse - dry & wet grassland, reed beds, alder dominated wet woodland and it is bordered by broadleaf woodland and paddocks. The River Flit runs through the site. As you might imagine, there is quite a variety of birds in the locality.

Today I had a 60ft net up by 7am and finished at 12.15pm. Very modest numbers were made up for by the catch.

Above & Below: 1 of 5 Whitethroats caught (all new).

The other birds caught: 1 dunnock and 1 great whopper of a ringing tick (see more recent post!).