Tuesday 22 June 2010

An Exciting Day On Patch!

Yesterday was a good day - unless you were the female Goldfinch in our front garden... (see earlier post).

We spent the morning ringing on Colyford Common, and it was nice to catch plenty of young birds - including our first juvenile Kingfisher of the year! We also caught an adult...

We trap so few adults Kingfishers compared with first year birds, so this really is notable

In total we caught 63 birds of 16 species - this included ANOTHER 14 adult Reed Warblers! They are thriving here!!! Just why are we trapping so many in a relatively small reed bed!?? Do birds roam about the entire river valley from reedbed to reedbed? It is quite astonishing!

It was also great to hear about some really fascinating re-traps and controls, which really makes all our hard work worthwhile... I'll list the best few, with the first one being the most interesting I think...

Cetti's Warbler:
A first-year (juvenile) female was trapped and ringed on 13th Septemeber 2009 at Farlington Marshes, Hampshire. The Axe Estuary Ringing Group caught it in a mist net at Colyford Common on 19th April 2010. That's a distance of 144km, and it will be interesting to see if we capture it again.

Sedge Warbler:
The Axe Estuary Ringing Group trapped and ringed a juvenile on Colyford Marsh on 27th August 2009. On 1st May 2010 it was re-captured in Derbyshire at Poolsbook. Nice to know it got to Africa and back in one piece! I presume it was born in Derbyshire, and we caught it during its southward migration.

Reed Bunting:
One of several The Axe Estuary Ringing Group trapped and ringed on 30th October 2009 in the crop field on Colyford Common was controlled on 14th Marsh 2010 at Westonzoyland, Somerset. We can presume that this bird breeds on the Somerset Levels and came to our patch for at least some of the winter, I wonder if it will return here again?

Brilliant...just bloody brilliant! This is why I love bird ringing so much, and I am simply over the moon! FANTASTIC!

Birds we didn't catch but saw included four Black-tailed Godwits and a Bar-tailed Godwit on The Estuary. It was also great to see our home grown Oystercatcher, it is now fully-fledged and looks almost identical to its Mum and Dad! The darker bill being the main give away.

After our busy morning, I hunted down a butterfly tick for me...on patch too! Thanks to Karen for the gen, mid afternoon I was looking on the lower slopes of the undercliff just east of the harbour mouth for Small Blues. I found two, both males, one much more worn than the other. Here's a few pics of the fresher individual...

A very delicate butterfly, nice to see on patch :-)

Moth time now I'm afraid! Have had one trap out over the past two nights, but have no new species for the garden to show for it!!! Numbers weren't too bad though...

Sunday night; 89 moths of 24 species; 45 Heart and Dart, 5 Minor sp., 4 Heart and Club, 3 Pale Tussock, 3 Bright-line Brown-eye, 2 Riband Wave, 2 Common Marbled Carpet, 2 Elephant Hawkmoth, 2 Flame Shoulder, 2 Uncertain, 2 Vine's Rustic, 2 Ingrailed Clay, 2 Small Square-spot, and singles of: Garden Carpet, Rivulet, Pug sp., Willow Beauty, Orange Footman, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Treble Lines, Shark, Knot Grass, Spectacle and Snout.

Last night; 102 moths of 26 species; 36 Heart and Dart, 6 Heart and Club, 6 Minor sp., 5 Pug sp., 5 Bright-line Brown-eye, 5 Ingrailed Clay, 4 Elephant Hawkmoth, 4 Uncertain, 3 Riband Wave, 3 Willow Beauty, 3 Sycamore, 3 Flame, 2 Buff Ermine, 2 Lychnis, 2 Dark Arches, 2 Grey Dagger, 2 Spectacle and singles of: Common Marbled Carpet, Foxglove Pug, Green Pug, Peppered Moth, Flame Shoulder, Large Yellow Underwing, Vine's Rustic, Mottled Rustic and Shears.

I won't be trapping tonight, as I need to get plenty of sleep! If all goes to plan, tomorrow night should be a busy, tiring, but very exciting night for me! Watch this space.....


  1. "I need to get plenty of sleep!"
    It takes it out of you doesn`t it Steve, all these late nights mothing.

  2. It does indeed Dean!!! I find it so hard to go to bed when I know there is a moth trap or two out there with moths flying around everywhere!