Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Warblers or Wheatears ?

My plan was to go to Stanford and ring more warblers on Monday morning.
Seems fairly straight forward. That was until I received an e-mail late on Sunday saying that there were at least four Wheatears on a patch of waste ground not far from my house. Past experience has taught me that catching Wheatears can be quite rewarding as they are easy to catch with spring traps baited with mealworms.
However, I'm not familiar with the terrain where they are and I find that a pre-trap reccie is best to see the area and note the favourite perches. Compare that to the easy task of erecting mist nets and guaranteed warblers as an end result.
So, Stanford it was!
I arrived at the reservoir to be greeted by another mild morning, that's two morning in succession........
I could get used to this sort of weather! 14 nets from the feeding station to the point were erected before first light. The first net round proved best with this years first Sedge Warbler and seven Willow Warblers, although the latter were all retraps. A few more retrap Willow Warblers and a new Chiffchaff were the only migrants in the next two rounds. By 09:00 a breeze started to pick up and I was mindfull of the windspeed forecast to reach 12-14mph by 10:00. This years first Lesser Whitethroat in the feeder nets was a nice surprise and as if right on cue, the wind increased and stopped the days session.
I think I made the right choice!
However, I may be visiting that small patch of waste ground to see if I can tempt a few Wheatears with a  juicy mealworm.

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