Sunday, 18 August 2013

Wednesday 14th August - Draycote Water

Ed spent a morning at Draycote Water on Wednesday...his story.

Today I managed to squeeze in a trip to Draycote water just to the south of Rugby.

Birding usually presents it’s own challenges but today I had the added extra of the schools being closed for the summer holidays. Lots of young ones now being exercised by their parents.

After setting out from the café, heading in a counter clockwise direction and trying to maintain a healthdistance from the family behind me I did manage to see Great Crested Grebe, both adult and juvenile, Pied Wagtail, Crow, Swallow, Coot, Black Headed Gull, Cormorant, Wood Pigeon, Tufted Duck and was over flown by about 25 Greylag Geese.

After the first ½ mile the families started to turn back making the road a little quieter. After leaving the dam wall is wasn’t too long before I found the bird hide and spent quite some time sat in there watching the world go by.

Just after taking my seat in the hide I was quite pleased to see a Kingfisher go by, one of the few that I have seen so far this year. In front of the hide there were mainly Tufted Ducks, GC Grebe, Coot and the occasional Moorhen passing by. The feeders there were pretty much dormant, only the occasional Blue or Great Tit visiting. However a juvenile Chaffinch did make a brief appearance and it could clearly be seen to be moulting though the pink male chest. Other than a Dunnock in the undergrowth nothing else was to visit the feeders. Just prior to leaving the hide a small group of Teal came along,  feeding by the reed bed.

Continuing my journey, I spotted Common Sandpiper along the northern shore line but saw several others dotted around as I walked on. Another surprise for me was the appearance of a Red Admiral butterfly, probably the first I have seen this year.

Crossing the dam wall on the western side a bird flew up showing a clear white rump, “Wheatear” sprang to mind but was quickly dismissed. A few more yards down the dam wall another one flew up, this time definitely Wheatear. A quick scan of the rocks through my bins revealed a well spread group of three. I managed to get a quick photo, not very good,but I think you can see what it is. The Wheatears were the highlight of the walk.

On the southern shoreline there were mainly Tufties and Coot with young. Getting back closer the café I came more into contact with families again and not much else could seen.

Finally getting back to the starting point I put my feet up in the café for half and hour whilst tucking into a pork and brie baguette.


Female Tufted Duck and ducklings

Juvenile Great Crested Grebe

Great Crested Grebe with young

Pied Wagtail
Adult Black-headed Gull

Common Tern

Friday, 16 August 2013

Leicestershire 68 v Northants 84

Over the last few years we have set up our moth traps along the old rail track or within the reservoir perimeters to see what species are around. These areas have the usual flora expected such as Ash, Oak, Hawthorn and Blackthorn but no phragmites. So with this in mind I decided that I would try the moth trap on the Leicestershire side of the reservoir where there is a large reedbed.
On Friday 9th August I arrived and donned my waders then made my way to the reedbed to set up some nets to attempt to catch some Swallows coming in to roost. I set five nets in the reedbed and on returning to the car Mick arrived to join me. With two more nets erected we got to the task of setting the moth trap and an additional light and white sheet. The main trap was set as near as possible to the reedbed to see if we could attract some reedbed species. The sheet was set near the base to give us something to do between visits to the trap.

Base camp
On checking the mist-nets before dusk we found that we had managed to catch a single juvenile Swallow along with six Reed Warblers, 1 Sedge Warbler and 4 Reed Buntings....... not exactly the roost were we hoping for! These were all bagged up and kept overnight in a safe place for ringing in the morning as by now the light had faded.
The sheet was already starting to attract large numbers of small insects but not many moths but the trap was now bringing in good numbers of Lesser Broad-bordered and Lesser Yellow Underwings.
30 species of micro and macro were recorded including 3 species of Footman, double figures of Flame Shoulder and Double Square-spot. Pebble Prominent, Dusky Thorn, Scalloped Oak and Ruby Tiger were nice examples. One reedbed specialist trapped was micro Chilo phragmitella, although a common species it was nice to see something other than the usual woodland species.
Dave arrived just after 04:00 to replace Mick who was travelling around to the Northants side to ring with Ed, Dawn and Simon where they set their nets on the opposite bank. I think they enjoyed themselves over there as we heard chuckles of laughter from across the water all morning!
Altogether, there were 152 birds processed with 84 on the Northants side and 68 on the Leicestershire side, an excellent day for both teams.


Woodpigeon 1/0
Swallow 1/0
Wren 2/0
Dunnock 1/0
Robin 0/1
Sedge Warbler 12/3
Reed Warbler 30/17
Lesser Whitethroat 2/0
Whitethroat 12/1
Garden Warbler 4/1
Blackcap 7/2
Chiffchaff 1/1
Willow Warbler 15/3
Long-tailed Tit 3/2
Blue Tit 6/3
Treecreeper 4/0
Goldfinch 2/0
Linnet 3/0
Reed Bunting 9/3

Bird days and moth nights

The first two weeks of August have seen warm and calm days which have been great for ringing. The number of warblers are steadily increasing as Whitethroat's in particular look like they have had a decent breeding season with 250 ringed up to date. Mick and Dave got the ball rolling on the first day of the month with their nets covering a corner of the bay including the feeding station. Surprisingly, 32 birds from a total of 41 were warblers in an area that would expect good numbers of tits and Trees Sparrows.
The following night was a planned moth trapping session so Ed, Dave and I met on the Friday night and set up camp on the rail track. All nets were erected and furled ready for the early morning start. The moth night was another success with 51 species of micro and macro recorded.
We were up bright and early at 04:00 to open the nets which then gave us a few minutes to check the moth trap and pot-up any worth photographing. A selection of these are shown below.

The bird total was not great with just 45 birds processed as our reward.

New / retraps
Wren 3/0
Dunnock 1/1
Robin 1/0
Blackbird 1/1
Sedge Warbler 3/2
Lesser Whitethroat 1/0
Whitethroat 6/4
Blackcap 2/0
Chiffchaff 1/0
Willow Warbler 4/1
Marsh Tit 0/1
Willow Tit 1/0
Blue Tit 1/3
Treecreeper 2/0
Chaffinch 2/0
Linnet 1/0
Reed Bunting 2/0

An inspection of the Swallows at nearby stables and farm resulted in a further 12 pulli being ringed with more still on eggs.

Ruby Tiger
Scalloped Oak

Purple Thorn

Pale Prominent

Sunday, 4 August 2013

July updated

We are now into August so apologies for the lack of posts on the blog recently. July has been our busiest month so far with fifteen ringing sessions including seven since the last update.
The groups first attempt at the CES project is going well with 417 captures since it started in May. The majority of these are made up of juveniles from what looks like a fairly good breeding season although numbers are still lower than previous years as many of our warbler species are recovering from failed attempts in 2012.
Nearly 500 more birds have been processed since our last blog on the 12th July so here's a summary of our latest outings.
15th July was CES session No'8 with Mick and I processing 84 birds of 20 species including 34 Whitethroats and 7 Garden Warblers.
Mick was ringing solo on the 18th from the dam to the orchard and managed 74 birds of 14 species. Whitethroats again made up the majority of these with Sedge Warbler, Willow Warbler, Reed Bunting and Linnet also in noteable numbers.
Once again my night shift got in the way of ringing on the 20th so I arrived four hours later to meet Mick, Ed, Dawn and Dave half way between the feeders and the point. On arrival, Ed and I wandered off into the wood to check the large nest boxes for Stock Doves. One new adult and chick were ringed and a re-trapped adult ringed in July 2011 is now our oldest individual of this species at 2 years and 4 days! The days total was 83 birds of 18 species with Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Long-tailed Tits being the most abundant.
Whilst the group took the nets down, Ed and I drove to a local farm to check the Swallow nests. None of the Swallows were at a ringing stage but we did find that the Collared Doves were a nice size and a new species for Ed too. A phone call from a local landowner to say that they have heard hissing from one of their many nest boxes saw us ring this years first Barn Owl chicks. Although we had a great day, by this time I had been awake for over 24 hours and I was looking forward to getting home!
Barn Owl chick
Mick and Dave were available on the 24th for a session in the reedbed on the Leicestershire side. Reed Warblers were the target of the day with 65 birds processed, 33 of those were Reed Warblers.
On the 26th we carried out our nineth CES session as well as playing host to 'The University of The Third Age' (U3A). Lots of warblers including Sedge and Reed Warbler, Lesser and Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler were the order of the day with juvenile Robins, Treecreeper, Tree Sparrow and Linnet making up a total of 73 birds processed. A great day was experienced by everyone with lots of photo opportunities and a chance to see birds up at close quarters.
We would also like to take this opportunity to thank the U3A for their generous donation to the group funds and trust that they went away having learned something about ringing and migration.
Blower's Lodge Bay by Ed Tyler
The following day Mick brought along Jed Andrews (ex Holme NOA warden) where they met Ed, Dawn, Dave, Simon and I at the rail track gate to be greeted by perfect conditions. A Grasshopper Warbler reeled as the first nets were erected and subsequently caught in the first net round. Dave and Simon joined me as I check the Pole nest boxes. One Stock Dove fledged as I leaned the ladder against the pole but two chicks were ringed in the second box. 100 birds were processed including 14 Sedge Warblers, 20 Reed Warblers, 18 Whitethroats, 5 Garden Warblers, 10 Willow Warblers, 7 Reed Buntings and singles of Marsh and Willow Tits. After everything was packed away I decided to pay a visit to the dam to check the nest boxes for Stock Doves but there were none to be ringed. Whilst driving past the house I noticed a juvenile corvid sitting on a wooden railed fence. When I stopped the car it promptly hopped into a paddock of tall grass...... I quickly followed and before long I had a 1J Carrion Crow for the year list!
Juvenile Carrion Crow
It has been a productive month with just over 1200 birds processed.
July's new and retrap totals combined.....
Mallard 1, Stock Dove 5, Collared Dove 2, Barn Owl 2, Kingfisher 1, Great Spotted Woodpecker 3, Swallow 2, Wren 23, Dunnock 26, Robin 24, Blackbird 13, Song Thrush 1, Grasshopper Warbler 1, Sedge Warbler 112, Reed Warbler 133, Lesser Whitethroat 10, Whitethroat 233, Garden Warbler 53, Blackcap 37, Chiffchaff 40, Willow Warbler 98, Goldcrest 1, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Long-tailed Tit 13, Marsh Tit 1, Willow Tit 3, Coal Tit 1, Blue Tit 106, Great Tit 121, Treecreeper 12, Carrion Crow 1,
House Sparrow 2, Tree Sparrow 39, Chaffinch 13, Goldfinch 7, Linnet 9, Bullfinch 6, Yellowhammer 1, Reed Bunting 44.