Silent Spring: Lower Moor Farm, Saturday, 2nd April 2022

It was one of those days: starting at minus 2oC when I left the house at 6:00, getting to 4oC by the time we had our nets open and positively balmy by 11:00. I was joined by Tanya for the morning and Claire and her children joined us at 7:30 until 11:00, so the children could continue to familiarise themselves with the birds prior to, perhaps, starting ringing.

We set our usual three net rides and had them open just after 7:15. All around we could hear birds singing, particularly Blackcap and Chiffchaff. I put on lures for both species and we sat back and waited – and waited, and waited. Eventually the Chiffchaff started to respond to the lures with a couple hitting the net at 8:50. The first Blackcap, and our first of the Spring, arrived at 9:20:

Female Blackcap: our first of this Spring

Unfortunately it just never got busy. However, it did enable me to work with Tanya as she started on extracting birds for the first time. As with her ringing and processing, she took to it like a duck to water (appropriate metaphor time).

We didn’t catch much: Wren (2); Dunnock 1(2); Blackbird (1); Blackcap 2; Chiffchaff 5. Totals: 8 birds ringed from 3 species and 5 birds retrapped from 3 species, making 13 birds processed from 5 species.

Given how much bird song there was, it was a disappointing result. There seemed to be birds singing from every corner of the site. Along with the Blackcap and Chiffchaff, there were Wren, Blackbird, Cetti’s Warbler and Green Woodpecker calling / singing. Somewhat surprisingly, as we were packing away the nets in the wildlife refuge, I could swear that I heard a Whitethroat singing away in the bushes alongside the stream. That would be astonishing: the earliest that we have caught a Whitethroat was back on the 19th April last year at Langford Lakes.

Tanya and I closed the nets at 11:30, took down and left site by 12:15.

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