Saturday, 25 June 2011

A Busy Week In June

We have four main ringing areas at Stanford and, during the breeding season especially, we alternate our visits as much as possible.  This week we created a record as we managed to cover all four areas in five days. 

On Tuesday (21st) with me suffering with a bad back Masai Mick was the only one available and went to Stanford on his own. Unfortunately the weather was not great, with the wind being the main problem.  However he managed to process 87 birds before the wind just got too bad, 50 new ringed with 37 retraps.  The juvenile Sedge Warbler with the deformed bill that was ringed last week was retrapped with no change in its weight of 10.4 grams so it seems to be surviving alright. Mick also caught the first young Lesser Whitethroat of the year - hopefully it will be the first of many!

Thursday (23rd) Mick & Mike ventured into the larger of the two reed beds that we have at Stanford and had ringed 44 new birds with 48 retraps before the heavens opened and they got absolutely drenched - lucky I missed that!  They had managed to ring 8 new Reed Warblers plus 23 pulli and processed our third control Reed Warbler (BTO ring number L528926) of the year.

Friday saw me back on my feet as I joined Mick & Mike along with Adam as we gave a demonstration on the wonders of bird ringing to a U3A (University of the Third Age) group from the Lutterworth Branch – thanks to Brian for organizing that.   

some of the U3A visitors
The better weather resulted in the best catch of the week with 63 new birds with 40 retraps.  The new birds ringed included three juvenile Treecreepers with new additions to our ever increasing warbler totals of 11 Sedge Warbler, 14 Whitethroat, 7 Blackcaps and a Garden Warbler.  One of the Sedge Warblers was yet another with a deformed bill.

Our second Sedge Warbler with a deformed bill

An adult shows what it should look like

Saturday (25th) and we were back at our base on the Old Railtrack. Having handled and ringed, for the first time, a few of the adult Swallows at her father’s farm with us last Monday, Lisa Adams seems to have caught the ringing bug and so met up with the rest of the Group at our normal meeting time of 0430 hrs.  The overnight wind and rain cleared and we tentatively put up just a couple of nets around the feeders and then erected a few nets in adjacent rides as the morning progressed.  

 At about 0800 hrs 9 year old Louis arrived, with his mother and younger brother Alex, and correctly identified his first Treecreeper in the hand (our fourth this week) – this boy has potential!   

Louis identifies Treecreeper
Alex and Louis with a Great Tit

The poor conditions resulted in just 65 birds being netted of which 31 were new.  At the close, a trip to the other side of the Reservoir to ring five Kestrel pulli brought our tally of new birds at Stanford this week to 193 ringed with 158 retraps – well worth the effort and thanks to all those involved.

All in all, a very busy week and one in which Lisa "A" progressed rapidly:

On Monday with her first bird in the hand - a Swallow
On Saturday discussing the finer points of emargination

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