CES 2: Lower Moor Farm, Tuesday, 18th May 2021

This session was originally scheduled for last Friday. The weather forecast had said that rain would stop by 4:30, when we would be on site to set up the nets. True to the inability to forecast even a few hours in advance, Lucy and I arrived on site at just before 4:30 and sat and waited for the rain to stop. When it showed no sign of abating by gone 5:00 we decided to reschedule and go home. The rain eventually stopped ay 7:30 – but that would have been 3.5 hours late starting our 7 hour session and, anyway, I was asleep again by then. The latest date for doing CES 2 was today, the 18th May. From tomorrow, for the next 10 days it would be session 3, so today was our last chance. The forecast was a bit iffy: rain was scheduled on and off throughout the morning. Fortunately the forecasters were as accurate as they had been last Friday and, apart from one brief shower mid-session, and a slightly heavier one as we started to take down, it didn’t set in for any length of time until after we had left site at midday.

The weather has been frightful, with thunder and torrential rain late Tuesday afternoon and into the evening as a final worrying flourish, and I did wonder what impact it might have had on the birds. Lucy and I met up at 4:20 and had the nets open by 5:00.

The catch was never very busy but by the time we closed the nets we had captured a reasonable haul of 37 birds. Significantly, however, of those 37, 26 were recaptured birds.

Our first bird out of the nets this morning was our first juvenile Robin of the year:

Juvenile Robin

This was the first of three that we caught this morning. We were joined by a very friendly chap called Martin. He has developed an interest in wildlife photography as an antidote to lockdown, and spent most of the morning with us, taking advantage of our activity to get some close-up ID skills and photographs. It gave Lucy a break from being the focus of my wittering on, and was good company, helping the quieter parts of the morning pass more quickly.

Our list for the day was: Blue Tit (1); Great Tit (4); Long-tailed Tit (4); Wren 1(2); Dunnock 1(1); Robin 3(1); Song Thrush (1); Blackbird (2); Blackcap 3(4); Garden Warbler 1(2); Whitethroat 2; Chiffchaff (4). Totals: 11 birds ringed from 6 species and 26 birds recaptured from 11 species, making 37 birds processed from 12 species.

Lucy’s highlight was ringing her first ever Garden Warbler, my highlight comes at the end of this piece. It was a quite remarkable catch, but something that I am getting used to: a lot more recaptured birds than ringed. It does make life cheaper!

To my highlight. We packed away the nets in the wildlife refuge, packed away the ringing station and then went and packed away the nets in the Heronry Ride. I was about to drive off site when I realised that I hadn’t refitted the padlock to the wildlife refuge so I turned around, parked up and got out of the car to lock it up. As I stepped out of the car I noticed this little beauty sitting on the vegetation:

The wonderfully named Hairy Dragonfly: a relatively recently arrived species in Wiltshire. My first dragon of the year and a lovely finale from a good morning’s ringing.

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