Meeting at 0500hrs on Saturday, Masai Mick, Adam, Ed, new recruit Debbie and myself were joined by Northamptonshire Bird Recorder, Mike Alibone, making his second visit to a ringing session with us, we were disappointed to find that the morning’s forecast of no rain until the afternoon was wrong again. However, the light drizzle quickly cleared and we soon had our nets erected in the area known as “Berries to Orchard” plus a 30 footer near our base on the Railtrack.
A reasonable morning followed with 76 new birds ringed and 28 retraps processed with Whitethroats (23) and Blackcaps (25) dominating the catch. After our record year in 2010 for some warbler species it seemed unlikely that we would top any of them this year but we have – new Whitethroats are now at 453 well ahead of last year’s record breaking 330 and Blackcaps have just reached a new high at 266 having nudged past the 263 figure from 2010. Reed Warblers are also at a new high of 268 by beating the 2006 figure of 209 and additionally Linnets, which came from nowhere in 2010 with 71, have had a good breeding season at and adjacent to, the Reservoir and are currently at 120 new birds so that the last two year’s combined totals for this species have doubled the numbers ringed at the site since we started way back in 1976.
Debbie, showing great promise, marked her debut ringing tick with her first Whitethroat and went on to ably process five other birds once the initial rush was over and time allowed for her training initiation.
The excitement of the day was, without question, the totally unexpected trapping of a juvenile male Wheatear – only the second that we have ringed at Stanford – the first being nearly thirty years ago on 5th September 1982!
Mike’s account of his morning with us can be found here
I make no apologies for uploading several photos of the bird!