This is a post by Jonny Cooper.
2021 marks the second year of my ringing at the Langford Lakes reedbed. The ringing kicked of this year in late April and will carry on until September. This session however was special as it marked the start of my new retrap adult survival (RAS) project for Reed Warbler. RAS projects essentially aim to ring all the breeding adults of a given species at a site each year and also to re-trap as many returning adults from previous years. The effort across years is constant and this provides data in the survival of adults for a given species. The reedbed at Langford was an obvious candidate for such a scheme and this adds an extra layer of value and analysis to the data being collected.
The session itself kicked off early with the nest open by 4am and the first birds caught at 4:30. It was no surprise that Reed Warbler dominated the catch with a large number of retrap birds ringed in previous years (just what I wanted for the RAS), this included a returning Spanish ringed bird originally recaptured on site in 2020.
The session ran as expected, with an initial pulse of birds then settling down to regular 5 or so birds per round. The full catch was: Water Rail 1; Great Tit 1; Long-tailed Tit 6; Wren (2); Grey Wagtail 2; Robin 1(1); Blackbird 1; Sedge Warbler 1(6); Reed Warbler 12(36); Blackcap 1; Whitethroat 2(2); Chiffchaff (1). A total of 28 birds ringed from 10 species and 48 birds retrapped from 6 species, giving a total of 76 birds form 12 species.
The absolute highlights where are the two Grey Wagtails and the Water Rail. Grey Wagtails are one of my favourite birds and it is always a pleasure to ring them and see them up close.
The Water Rail was a female in breeding condition. It is only the second record of Water Rail ringed at Langford Lakes and I can’t find any other record of Water Rail at Langford in the breeding season and within Wiltshire they are a very rare breeder (and usually in the water park) so it is a great record.
Overall a fantastic session and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the season has in store.