Sunday, 23 August 2020

Half Year Round up

 Although it has been a rather truncated ringing year, we are now about half way through, with migration starting in earnest. So far (mid August) we have ringed 3,481 new birds, with 19 controls and 1,204 re-traps. We have now ringed 50 species, which means we are possibly on course to beat last year's total of 61 species, or even the record of 63 from 2018. 

Migration has now started and we are ringing some really nice birds. These include singleton  pied and spotted flycatcher, and tree pipit:

Pied Flycatcher 

A really pretty Tree Pipit (photos Chris Hubbard).

This has already been the best year for Lapwing (4), Lesser Spotted Wooodpecker (admittedly only one, but excellent bird), Garden Warbler (155 and still counting), Willow Warbler (397, ditto) and, strangely enough Magpie (2!).

Our other warblers are looking good too- it has been the second best year for Grasshopper Warbler (23) Sedge Warbler (411), Cetti's (18)- and of course these are still passing through the reservoir area. Other warblers included good numbers of Reed (318), Blackcap (302) and Chiffchaff (139). 

We still have September and October to look forward to, and they tend to be even better, so watch this space! Lots of early mornings ahead for the troops. 

Monday, 3 August 2020

Moth Night Mk 2

After the successful mothing evening the weekend before, Adam, Theo and I decided to camp out again the following Friday evening on the Northamptonshire side of the reservoir. It was a beautiful warm July evening but slightly windy, so we erected the nets but furled them ready for the morning. I set up the mammal traps along one of the rides and in the wood whilst Theo and Adam placed the moth traps in the field opposite the gate and close to the woodland as it seemed to be an ideal sheltered site that would attract woodland moth species.
Theo’s moth trap is a homemade Robinson trap which uses a garden trug with 2 pieces of perspex made to fit as the transparent lid and a 12in beer funnel for the moths to enter the trap. This then has a stand which rests in the funnel made from some spare perspex as the vanes and some thin copper to hold the vanes and bulb fitting together. It uses a 160w Self-Ballasted MV bulb so no need for an additional choke, these bulbs are very sensitive to water so must not get wet and a size 8 Cafetiere cup fits over it perfectly!

A night time walk with moth nets and a bat detector started our recording. Common Pipestrelle, Noctule / Leislers and Myotis spp were identified with the bat detector. The following morning a noctule bat was seen by the rest of the ringing team on arrival at the reservoir at 4.30am.
With 8 ringers on site we had enough people to form three teams. The mothing group stayed near the rail track, Peter, David and Stuart were stationed at the bench and Dawn and Mick at the Point.
For the next 6 hours Adam, Theo and I had a hectic time extracting and ringing birds, identifying moths and checking the small mammals traps; all of which were productive.
463 moths of 101 species were recorded.

 The combined bird ringing for the three teams totalled at 108 new and 85 retraps. Of note were a magpie which was a ringing tick for me and a cute 1J Sedge Warbler for Dawn.

The mammal traps caught 4 Bank voles, 3 Wood mice and a Common shrew that, unknown to me, found its way up the sleeve of my fleece and reappeared as I was trying to extract a blackbird from the nets. Wildlife recording is full of surprises.
Kate M