Lower Moor Farm: Wednesday, 27th September 2017

Lower Moor Farm is our BTO Constant Effort Site.  Over the course of the breeding season, from May to September, we set the nets in the same places for twelve separate sessions, roughly ten days apart.  This enables us to monitor changes in the bird population knowing that it is independent of net position.  Once that is over I like to try nets in different parts of the site, to see what else we might find.  I was joined by Ellie Jones (the Reserve manager) and Jonny Cooper for the session.  We put up three different sets of nets, as indicated on the photograph below:

Lower Moor

The two new net sets were those in white and yellow, the brown set is one of our CES rides, which we set to ensure that we had some birds to process.  In the event, that was a wise decision.  Having put most of our effort into setting up the white set, it was a complete flop until five hours later, when we were doing the the last round, when it delivered a Goldfinch and a Blackcap.  Scant return for the effort.

The yellow net set was positioned through a large group of teasel plants and, as hoped for, it delivered a catch of seven Goldfinch and a Robin.  Our usual net ride helped make us feel as though we hadn’t completely wasted our morning with a catch of  Blue Tit 2(1); Great Tit 1(2); Wren 1(1); Robin (1); Blackcap 5; Chiffchaff 4; Bullfinch 1(1).  In total we caught and ringed 24 birds from eight species; retrapped six birds from five species, making 30 birds processed from eight species.

On the Tuesday afternoon I went for a walk around a part of the reserve not open to the public, to assess whether or not it would be suitable for setting some nets.  Unfortunately, it isn’t, primarily because the access is not great.  Whilst I was on my walk I came across two rather interesting sights.  The first was clear signs of Beaver activity:


The second was this enigmatic lump of orange bubbles:

trout roe

I was pretty certain I knew what it was, but confirmed it with one of the local anglers: it is the egg roe from a female trout.  Evidence that the local Otters are enjoying the stock in Mallard Lake.

Simon Tucker

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