Having spent all week with pulled muscles in my shoulder, and a very stiff and painful neck, I didn’t expect to get out before the weekend. As it all eased a little yesterday, and I could move my head a bit, I thought I would try to get out this morning. So, despite a really strong urge to switch the alarm off and go back to sleep, 5:00 found me at Ravensroost Meadow Pond for a session. The Belted Galloways had either been moved or have taken themselves off to one of the adjoining fields, so I set up without an audience today. I set the usual nets: 5 x 18m; 2 x 9m and 2 x 12m:
All nets, apart from the isolated 9m net on the spit, caught something. It was a pretty typical session for this site for this time of year. In a month or so it will be busier with juvenile warblers. Currently the juveniles of some of the earlier breeding resident species are turning up in the catch, particularly Robins, with another 5 ringed today. At 9:45 I caught my first juvenile Blue Tit of the year:
Like the Great Tit juvenile caught at Lower Moor Farm on the 5th, catching just one on its own is unusual this soon after fledging and is probably indicative of how badly these birds have fared after the awful weather in May. To underline just how bad it is, at 10:40 I caught a small flock of 6 Blue Tits: 5 adults and 1 additional juvenile. Those proportions are terrible: in a good year they would be reversed.
It was a decent catch: Blue Tit 5; Great Tit 2; Wren (1); Dunnock 1; Robin 2(1); Blackbird 1(1); Blackcap 2; Whitethroat 1; Lesser Whitethroat 1(2); Chiffchaff 1(1); Willow Warbler 2; Bullfinch 1. Totals: 19 adult birds ringed from 11 species and 8 juvenile birds ringed from 3 species plus 6 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 33 birds processed from 12 species.
It was a pleasant morning with Skylarks singing from the field to the north of the pond. The Belted Galloways did put in an appearance, in the field to the south of the pond. Hopefully they can be kept in that field they are currently in to give the Skylarks a chance to breed without risk of their nests being trampled.
Late morning there was a reasonable throughflow of Swallows. Unfortunately they avoided the causeway net, but it was a better showing than we had at any time last year. Hopefully the young will be fledging soon as they are far more likely to end up in the nets when hawking for insects or coming in for a drink.
Some good news: with people having gone back to work and children back to school, the footfall in Ravensroost Wood has reduced a bit. I have agreed a protocol with the Wildlife Trust for working back there. It is essentially where I worked in the winter, plus another couple of areas that are not used much by the public. I have been given permission to close them with “No Entry” signs, plus additional explanatory signage and poles to restrict access to the ride entrances when I am working there. For my part, the sessions will not be at weekends, to avoid the busiest times.