Sunday, 15 September 2013

Hirundines galore!

After seeing the weather forecast for Saturday, Mick and I decided that we would be better ringing on Sunday. I awoke at 07:30 on Saturday to a mizzley morning that soon cleared. It looked like we had missed an opportunity as Sundays forecast had changed to windy at 10:00 and rain at 13:00.
I arrived at 05:30 this morning to meet Mick, Dave and Dawn. We were greeted by an 8-10 mph SW breeze which was fine as the boundary hedge gave us some protection for most of the morning.
Early rounds produced the usual Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps but after a clear sky lastnight it looked like most migrants had passed through with very few warblers.
At 09:00 the wind picked up and those nets affected were taken down. At 10:00 it started the rain and so the remaining nets were taken down. However, Mick had noticed that whilst taking his nets down a large movement of 200+ Hirundines were being forced to feed close to the ground.
After the rain had quickly passed a few sheltered spots from the increasing wind were located on the NE side of a boundary hedge and three 30' nets were set up. After 2 hours we had accumulated 15 House Martins and 9 Swallows which gave us a total of 49 new birds for the day.
Whilst taking the last nets down Dawn stumbled across this Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar looking for somewhere to spend the winter.
Elephant Hawkmoth caterpillar

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