CES 1: Lower Moor Farm, Wednesday, 5th May 2021

Last year’s CES, like so many other activities, was unsustainable due to restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, so it is great to be able to get out and start this year’s study on time.

I was joined for the session by Alice but, as she had to come down from her university digs in Oxford, I suggested that she meet me at 6:00. For my sins, I was on site for 4:30 to set up the nets. The volume of birdsong was astonishing and I was confident that I could hear Garden Warbler in the mix. The nets were open by 5:30 and I took my first bird of the morning out of the nets as I was opening up. Sometimes birds do blunder into closed nets, usually Robins or Wrens, but this time I was delighted to extract and process my first Garden Warbler of the year:

They might look unspectacular but they are one of my favourite birds.

The weather forecast for the morning was for it to start to get wet about 10:30 but, apart from a few spots at that time we had no rain until we got hit by a short shower after we had closed the nets and were taking down. That said, it was very cold for a May morning, with 3 degrees Celsius at the outset and, despite (or, perhaps, because of) a clear sky and the sun, it did not warm up properly until 10:00. Every time the sun went behind one of the very few clouds around the temperature dropped quickly.

Alice arrived just as I finished opening the top nets and the next couple of rounds were quite busy. We were enjoying the variety of what was turning up in our nets. There was quite a lot flying around that we didn’t catch: a couple of Common Tern flying over our ringing station was an unexpected pleasure.

One of our nets is set within a small area of woodland so, naturally, that is where Alice extracted a Kingfisher! This was a male that we ringed in July of last year once we were able to get back to site. The last time I posted a photo of how we weigh Kingfishers some troublemaker in the wider ringing community complained to the BTO that the bird looked dead – despite being wide-eyed and clearly alive and, they being scared of public opinion, I was asked to take it down. So sorry folks, no can show. They are astonishing: they just lie on their backs and look at you turning their heads from side to side. Perhaps next time I will video it and post that instead.

The list for the session was: Kingfisher (1); Great Spotted Woodpecker 1; Treecreeper 1(1); Blue Tit 2(3); Wren 1(3); Dunnock (4); Robin 1(3); Song Thrush 3(1); Blackbird 1(2); Blackcap 4(3); Garden Warbler 4(3); Whitethroat 1; Chiffchaff 4(4); Willow Warbler 1(1); Bullfinch 1. Total: 25 birds ringed from 13 species and 29 birds retrapped from 12 species, making 54 birds processed from 15 species.

It was a super morning. We did a couple of short ringing demonstrations, one to a family of Mum, Dad and 2 children plus a dog (on a lead: top marks to them), which delighted them and hopefully informed them. We left site just gone midday.

PS After the incident at Red Lodge blogged about recently, the police have taken a very positive interest in helping to prevent future occurrences. One of the members of the local wildlife crimes team is going to join me for a session and they are going to put up a notice on their community web-site about bird ringing, why it is carried out and why people must not interfere. That is really positive and helpful of them.

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