As of this morning, I have been ringing at Lower Moor Farm for 6 days over 9 years. I have run it as a Constant Effort Site since 2015. That means 12 sessions over the months May to August each year (except 2020, because of Covid), to cover the breeding season and early autumn passage, plus various additional sessions. What I am saying is that I have done a lot of sessions at this site. This area, closed off to the general public, has been a mainstay of all of my ringing activities throughout this time. That is over 75 visits, with approximately 10 visits to that area in each session. This morning, whilst checking three empty nets, I saw something that stopped me in my tracks:
I have no idea how common they are, or whether they have been found in this area before, but it is a first for me. This is the second time I have found a decent orchid on one of my sites. Eight years ago I found Greater Butterfly Orchid on Somerford Common:
Forestry England and the Wildlife Trust were both rather excited by it, as was I.
So, to the birding: I was joined by Rosie, doing her usual of helping me out, ringing a few birds before heading off to her work with the Trust, and Miranda, who was able to stay for the whole session. We didn’t have a massively busy session, with just 21 birds caught and processed. The list from the morning was: Treecreeper 1; Blue Tit ; Long-tailed Tit ; Wren (1); Dunnock ; Robin ; Blackbird 1(1); Cetti’s Warbler (1); Blackcap (2); Garden Warbler (1); Whitethroat 1; Chiffchaff . Totals: 3 adults ringed from 3 species, 12 juveniles ringed from 7 species and 6 birds retrapped from 5 species, making 21 birds processed from 12 species.
It was somewhat frustrating as the vegetation was full of birdsong. They just weren’t moving and, therefore, not getting caught in the nets. I suspect that a lot of them are working on second broods, defending their territory with song, and that is the reason that the bulk of what we caught were juveniles. Mind, despite the capture of two adult Blackcap, for the second session running, there were no juvenile Blackcap caught. There were at least half-a-dozen Whitethroat singing around the area and we caught one, but no sign of any juveniles. Ditto for Cetti’s Warbler.
Whilst we were there, the local fishing syndicate that leases Mallard Lake had a delivery of trout to restock the lake. The fish were much larger than I thought they would be: clearly they are not being delivered to grow in the lake but purely as stock ready for fishing. I am sure the Otters and Cormorants will appreciate them.
With the last two rounds being empty, we closed the nets at 11:45 and took down, getting away from site by just past 12:30.