Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Beer Head

I was up nice and early for Beer Head this morning. What a fine morning it was too...

Low cloud and fog coming out of the Axe Valley, with Axe Cliff showing above it
 
This wasn't any old visit to Beer Head though, this was my first visit with mist nets and bird bags!  Yes, thanks to the generosity of the land owner, a small part of Beer Head is now my new ringing site! Such an exciting venture for me, as this is our Portland Bill. No it doesn't get the numbers Portland does, and will never have the amount of nets, but it is one of our best spots for migrant birds. I am very excited about what I might ring here, and what it will show us. Just how many birds use Beer Head? 

It will never be the busiest ringing site, but over time I'm very hopeful.  It's the kind of ringing site that could go from being super productive one day, to absolutely pants the next, but that's the nature of bird migration - I've just got to keep plugging away.

This morning I had a very encouraging start. I only put one net up, and I only ringed five birds, but three of them were Willow Warblers!  I know this doesn't sound encouraging at all, but walking around, the bushes, fence lines and fields were dead quiet, and except for a couple of singing Chiffchaffs and one or two Willow Warblers singing at dawn, there wasn't a migrant in sight. So to catch three Willow Warblers when I didn't even see one in the field, well, just how many will I catch when there are Willow Warblers everywhere?? Roll on the next four weeks of spring.....

My first Willow Warbler of 2014

Not only were the weather conditions wrong for grounding migrants, they were far from perfect for mist netting too, as an easterly breeze soon picked up and the unbroken sunshine glinted off the nets.

Stay tuned for more Beer Head bird ringing updates....

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