Monday, 4 August 2014

Back To Beer

My first ringing session of the autumn up Beer Head was supposed to happen at the end of last week, but due to a poorly pup it got postponed to today....

I didn't have long, so only put up a single 60 foot net for a couple of hours.  Really wish I had more time as I reckon a couple more nets and a couple more hours would have given me 50+ birds.  It was one of those mornings that the bushes often looked quiet, but then all of sudden a little group of birds would flit through and quickly head off, with another group moving through say ten minutes later, and so on and so on. I probably saw about 30 Willow Warblers and five Whitethroats, but if I had walked around more I'm sure I would have seen much more. 

I'm pleased to say I did catch some migrants, with the first migrant netted being a new one for the list of species ringed on Beer Head. It's a very predictable one though, and I was amazed I didn't ring one in the spring...

Common Whitethroat

And in keeping with my thoughts of birds moving through in tight groups, the five Willow Warblers I caught were all in the net at the same time! 

Will never get bored of ringing Willow Warblers - I just hope I get some recoveries out of them.

The two Blackcaps I caught clearly weren't passing migrants, as one of them was a juv still in full juvenile plumage (a '3JJ' in ringers talk).

There were lots of Swallows flying low overhead, along with a few Sand Martins, but I soon realised I wasn't going to catch any of them...

It's a pleasure to provide you with a resting spot Mr Swallow.

They aren't daft - especially with clear blue sky behind the net and sun shining on the net.

Later on in the day after a text from Dad, I nipped to Black Hole Marsh to see a stunning adult Curlew Sandpiper, you won't see many redder than this one - it's a cracker!  There were fewer Dunlin and Ringed Plover on the marsh today, but still singles of Wood Sand, Greenshank and adult Med Gull. Looking south from the marsh I was delighted to pick up a juv Yellow-legged Gull circling low over the fields - my long awaited first juv of the year!  It flew north towards Black Hole before turning west overhead and landing in a nearby field. I went to where it appeared to land afterwards and soon picked it up amongst 300+ Herring Gulls feeding behind a plough. It was always too distant for pics but great to see never-the-less, mostly because I was beginning to worry why I hadn't found any yet this summer. It hasn't been a great year for them so far (probably due to the lack of stormy weather?) but I had started to double and triple check gull flocks that in previous years I'd only need to look through once, just in case I was going a bit gull-blind!

Wood Sandpiper

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