Sunday, 1 May 2016

Saturday 30th April

Another ringing session at Stanford Reservoir on Saturday to get into the swing of things before the CES season is upon us. David & Angus, Dawn, Peter, Pete and myself met at a not too unreasonable time of 06:00 and erected 13 nets to the sound of at least three reeling Grasshopper Warblers. This species hasn't bred at Stanford for three years and along with Cetti's Warbler, their reintroduction has been the main focus of our winter habitat management program since. It's too early to say but perhaps all our hard work has finally paid off. The first net round produced just thirteen birds including a retrap Grasshopper Warbler and a male Cetti's with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat also in attendance. The second net round included a retrap female Cetti's and a Lesser Whitethroat followed by another retrap Grasshopper Warbler. Before the day was finished we managed yet another Grasshopper Warbler, this time a new one and the fourth this spring! As luck would have it, Jo turned up just in time to ring this one, she had never seen this species in the two years she has been with us so it shows how uncommon they really have become in recent years. A total of 17 new and 21 retraps was a fair result for late April and left us time to erect some Treecreeper nestboxes that Pete kindly made. We checked some large boxes too which resulted in an adult and a single pulli Stock Dove being ringed. Another box included an adult Stock Dove carcass under a squirrels drey. We have suspected that squirrels have been killing adult Stock Doves whilst on their nests for many years and this was proof of that. Consequently, we evict Grey Squirrels wherever and whenever we can. Two female Tawny Owls were still incubating and a Jackdaw had laid three eggs in another. We also checked a few tit boxes on our way around and found one Blue Tit sitting with many others still eggs covered. One Tree Sparrow nest checked last week had advanced from nest-lined to two eggs. Not a bad start but there's still a long way to go.
Robin with white primary and secondary feathers. Photo by D Sheffield