Having pushed back Wednesday’s planned CES session to Saturday, to go gallivanting off to Salisbury Plain, I decided to carry out the CES on Thursday. Luckily both Jonny and David were available to help. It was only the second session of the year, after CES 9, where we had a better catch than on the corresponding session last year. Hopefully this presages a better end to the year than the first few sessions suggested.
The catch of Garden Warblers continued to match that of Blackcaps: with 6 each ringed and 2 each retrapped. Our best year for Garden Warbler at Lower Moor Farm was 2015, with 47 ringed and 11 retrapped. So far this year it stands at 34 ringed and 6 retrapped. With two sessions to go it is entirely possible that we will match or pass it. We have already ringed more than in any other year, apart from 2015.
The list for the morning was: Treecreeper (1); Blue Tit 2(1); Great Tit 5(2); Long-tailed Tit 1(1); Wren 4(2); Dunnock (2); Robin 2(1); Song Thrush (1); Blackbird 2; Reed Warbler 1; Sedge Warbler 1; Blackcap 6(2); Garden Warbler 6(2); Lesser Whitethroat 2; Chiffchaff 4(2); Willow Warbler 3; Greenfinch 1; Bullfinch 1(1). Totals: 41 birds ringed from 15 species; 18 birds retrapped from 12 species, making 59 birds processed from 18 species, of which 50 (85%) were juveniles. As mentioned, this is an improvement on the same session last year (10th August 2017), which returned a total of 45 birds from 15 species, 36 (80%) of which were juveniles. So, after a worrying start with catches well down, it looks as though the breeding season has been successful.
The highlight of the catch had to be our first Sedge Warbler of the year:
We never catch many at our sites: the habitat seems right but perhaps it is something to do with the site being on the leftmost edge of the Cotswold Water Park, with other more central sites offering slightly better habitat. Fortuitously, we caught the bird just before Amy from the Wildlife Trust arrived with a large group of children and their parents on a scavenger hunt / nature walk. They were fascinated by seeing such a smart bird up close. I am always impressed by the attitude of young children and the questions they ask about what we are doing. Obviously they want to know that we are not harming the bird and why we do it. They then get fascinated by the process – and amused when we weigh the bird by putting it head first into a pot. I no longer try to count how many impromptu ringing demonstrations we do, but it is about spreading the message of the value of the ringing scheme and we rarely get a bad reaction.
We caught our second Reed Warbler of the year for the site. There are no reed beds at Lower Moor Farm, so we only catch them on passage, as we do at Ravensroost Meadow pond, and in similar low numbers.
The sun came out strongly about 11:30 just as we started to pack away at the end of a very satisfying session.