A very happy new year: Langford Lakes Reedbed, 1st January 2021

This is a blog post by Jonny Cooper:

Last summer I began regular ringing sessions at the reedbed at Langford Lakes WWT Reserve to monitor the birds using the habitat during the breeding season. Over the last few months I have been curious as to the birds using the reedbed during the winter.

Reedbeds are used as a winter roost by a variety of species, including Reed Bunting, Pied Wagtail and Starling. A session on 9th December last year yielded 19, 1 and 5 of these species, respectively. I was keen to get out again to the site and figured an afternoon session was as good a way to kick of 2021 as any.

I arrived on site just after 1pm and set up the nets playing lures for Pied Wagtail and Reed Bunting. The first round produced 5 birds including a stunning Kingfisher that wowed several passing families (from an appropriate distance of course). After that, each round produced a couple of birds.

All afternoon I could hear Water Rails squealing in the reedbed and elsewhere on site and I thought to myself ‘that would be a nice bird to see up close’. A little while later this showed up in the net:

The first Water Rail I have processed and the first ringed at the site as well as the first ringed by anyone within the ringing group at the ringing group sites since 2009. (Editor’s note: but I did ring my first one on Skokholm in 2019.)

The total catch was as follows: Water Rail 1, Kingfisher (1), Blue Tit 2, Great Tit 1, Cetti’s Warbler (1), Chiffchaff 2, Wren 2, Starling 1, Blackbird 1, Redwing 1, Dunnock 1 and Reed Bunting 1. 15 new birds from 11 species and 2 re-traps form 2 species giving a total of 17 birds from 13 species.

Aside from the Water Rail the two Chiffchaff were nice to catch. This migrant is wintering in the U.K in increasing numbers. And of course, Kingfishers are always a joy to see up close.

Overall a session defined by its quality rather than the quantity. What a fantastic start to the year.

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