Happy Returns at Lower Moor Farm: Saturday, 15th June 2019

Jonny Cooper and I carried out CES 5 at Lower Moor Farm this morning.  Weather-wise it was very hit and miss, although the forecast was for it to be dry until lunchtime, with rain spreading in during the afternoon. Unfortunately, we spent a morning with intermittent light showers: never hard or persistent enough to warrant shutting the nets, enough that we were monitoring the nets every few minutes as the showers passed through, to ensure that no birds were exposed to potential wetting.  Despite the weather, it was an excellent session.

Continuing the trend for the CES this year, we had more than double last year’s catch at the equivalent session.  Last year we caught 40 birds, 20 of which were fledglings; this year it was 95 birds of which 72 were fledglings.  This seems to be the key difference: breeding seems to be more successful in this early part of the season.

Our list for the day was; Kingfisher [1]; Treecreeper [2]; Blue Tit 1[12]; Great Tit [1]; Long-tailed Tit [2](1); Wren [4]; Dunnock (2); Robin [6](1); Song Thrush 1[1](1); Cetti’s Warbler [1]; Blackcap 2[13](6); Garden Warbler [2](2); Whitethroat 1(1); Chiffchaff [19](4); Willow Warbler 1(2); Goldcrest [1]; Bullfinch [3](1).  Totals: 6 adults ringed from 5 species; 68 juveniles ringed from 14 species and 21 birds recaptured from 10 species. Overall we processed 95 birds from 17 species. (Note: 4 of the recaptured birds were juveniles ringed at the previous session, 68 + 4 = 72.)

There were so many highlights today: our first juvenile Goldcrest, Bullfinches, Kingfisher and Cetti’s Warbler of the year.  In fact, the Kingfisher is the first we have caught, of any age, at the site for two years. As for the Cetti’s, although we have caught the odd adult over the years, this is the first juvenile Cetti’s Warbler we have caught for 3 years. We were seriously wondering whether they were still breeding successfully at Lower Moor Farm. I think we have our answer!  Unfortunately, the photograph I took of the juvenile Cetti’s is rubbish, but I did get an excellent shot of a juvenile Bullfinch.  they look quite different from the adults:


We had several very positive interactions with members of the public this morning.  From a dad with his young son getting their first close encounters with a wild bird or two, to several photographers who were themselves interested in seeing close up what they only see at the end of their lens (even if some of those lenses are incredibly long) and who welcomed the opportunity to get some bird-in-hand photographs to some of our regulars who walk Lower Moor Farm more often than we do.

About 8:00 this morning we were joined by a couple who expressed a lot of interest in bird ringing and what it was all about. We explained about the process and chatted about wildlife in general and they said how much they would love to see the Otters on site before wandering off to have a look at other parts of the reserve. No sooner had they left when Jonny noticed some activity on Mallard Lake. We both grabbed our binoculars and there was the dog Otter swimming around and, seemingly, having a great time. Jonny, being so much younger and fitter than me, ran of to find the couple who weren’t actually far away: so they got their wish. The Otter stayed around for at lest 10 minutes and we had seriously excellent views.

Later in the morning Jonny’s attention was again drawn to Mallard Lake. This time it was to an odd looking goose on its own between a gaggle of Greylag to its left and of Canada Geese to its right. When we got the binoculars on it, it was a Bar-headed Goose.  Undoubtedly an escape from a collection somewhere but a good looking bird and the second I have seen feral in the UK.

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