I had planned to start my CES on Saturday but, unfortunately, I had to postpone it. For the last couple of months I have been afflicted by severe pains, muscle cramps and spasms in my legs, which has restricted my mobility and, on some mornings, I just cannot move, leading to cancellation of several sessions. So, at 5:50 on Saturday morning, I had to call the team and tell them that I wasn’t going to be able cancel. Doubly unfortunately, Annie was going to join me for the session, the first time for several months and I really hated having to put her off..
I managed to rearrange for Bank Holiday Monday. Fortunately, this time the painkillers actually kicked in quickly and I was able to move a bit. I was also joined by my original two trainees: both Jonny (now an independent A-permit holder) and Ellie (a C-permit holder) gave up their Monday morning to help out their old trainer. We set up the CES nets in their usual places:
The weather was cold, and it wasn’t the largest catch. There was a lot of bird song from all over the site but they just weren’t really moving. We heard plenty of Cetti’s Warbler, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff plus our first chance of the year to get to grips with the difference between Blackcap and Garden Warbler.
The first couple of rounds produced our first Garden Warblers of the year:
At just after 10:00 the noise level went up considerably when we were, unexpectedly, joined by the Mansfield clan: Steph , Stuart, Isobel and Bea. The only one missing was Lillie, away on a sleepover with friends. Steph got to ring a few birds and Bea got to practice her handling and releasing skills which, for a three-year-old, are extremely good. The weather did turn quite a lot colder, seeing off the family, and prompted us to take down the nets. The catch wasn’t as good as I was hoping for: the birds were there, they just weren’t moving around.
The list for the day was: Long-tailed Tit (3); Wren (1); Dunnock 1(2); Robin 1(1); Blackbird (1); Blackcap 5(3); Garden Warbler 3; Chiffchaff 1(2). Totals: 11 birds ringed from 5 species and 13 birds retrapped from 7 species, making 24 birds processed from 8 species.
We were away from site just after midday.