Monday, 5 May 2014
I met Dave and Simon at the railtrack gate at 05:00 and once again the weather conditions were perfect. We decided yesterday that we would set our nets up from the feeding station to the point on the east side of the reservoir. A Grasshopper Warbler has been singing in this area for a few weeks now and it was reported again yesterday but unfortunately it managed to evade our nets. The first round of the nets produced 29 birds including 8 Whitethroats, 4 Willow Warblers, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Sedge Warbler and 1 Garden Warbler. Dawn arrived at 07:00 to assist with the ringing which gave me an opportunity to inspect some of the tit boxes and larger boxes later on. The next two rounds included 4 Sedge Warblers, 6 Tree Sparrows and a couple more Garden Warblers. Half of the Tree Sparrows were females and showed good brood patches so we were hopeful of finding some of our nestboxes with pulli ready to be ringed. As it turned out there was only one box occupied by Tree Sparrows which had 5 young too small to be ringed. There seemed to be more occupation from Wood Mice, Hornets and bees than birds so where are the Tree Sparrows nesting? I checked the larger boxes with slightly more success. A Tawny Owl flew from the first box and on inspection one chick with feathers just emerging sat looking up at me. Dawn was the lucky ringer who received an excercise in applying larger rings which she carried out very well. One of our pole boxes succombed to the winter winds by being blown from its mount but the other pole box was found to contain 3 warm Stock Dove eggs. Our ringing total of 26 new and 45 retraps was a good effort by all involved and it was 2:30pm when Dave and I drove down the railtrack. I checked a couple more large boxes at the inflow end. One contained a cold Tawny Owl egg and the other held two cold Stock Dove eggs. I hadn't previously checked these so there's no telling how long they have been there but both unfortunately look like they have been deserted. I'll give them another couple of weeks to see if there are any developments with these two nests. So the first pulli of the year has been ringed and hopefully there are plenty more to come in the next few weeks.
Posted by AGH at 21:35