Lower Moor Farm, CES 11: Thursday, 18th August 2022

With rain forecast for Wednesday I decided to move this session to Thursday. It proved to be the right decision: when I got up at about 8:00 on Wednesday morning the bucket I had left outside the house had an inch of water in it and it had only just finished raining. Rosie joined me this morning at 6:00 and we had the nets open quite quickly. I had decided that, as I would be working and packing away solo, I would leave the least productive (and furthest away) of my CES rides in the car.

The first bird out of the nets was a juvenile Cetti’s Warbler. It was great that Rosie could stay until about 8:45, and that she started her morning’s ringing with ringing her first Cetti’s Warbler (she had previously processed a retrap in June, but not ringed it). We had a reasonable catch up to the time Rosie left. Unfortunately, after she left the catch numbers went down quite a lot, and what looked like being a 40 to 50 bird catch ended up a 29 bird catch. That is not to say that it wasn’t an enjoyable session, but there is still no sign of Whitethroat or Lesser Whitethroat on the site.

The entire catch, bar one retrapped adult Blue Tit, comprised juvenile birds and was: Treecreeper [1]; Blue Tit [4](3); Great Tit [1]; Wren (1); Dunnock [1](1); Robin [2](2); Blackbird [1]; Cetti’s Warbler [1]; Blackcap [5](2); Chiffchaff [1](1); Willow Warbler [1]; Bullfinch [1]. Totals: 19 juveniles ringed from 11 species and 10 birds retrapped from 6 species, making 29 birds processed from 12 species.

As with the last session, a lot of the youngsters of sexually dimorphic species are beginning to show what sex they will be. Last week it was Blackcap, which continued this week. Also this week we had this young chap:

Juvenile Bullfinch: Pyrrhula pyrrhula

He looks pretty tatty because, unlike juveniles of sexually monomorphic species, he is moulting a high proportion of his original body feathers. Within the white circle you can see two pink feathers, as the belly and chest feathers all start to be replaced, indicating clearly that it is a male.

One of the more surprising bird catches at Lower Moor Farm is the Treecreeper. Apart from one, now defunct, 12m net in a bit of woodland, the nets are generally set either stream-side or lake-side, with a thin lining of trees, mainly different varieties of willow, Since I started ringing there in 2014, I have carried out 139 ringing sessions. In those sessions we have caught Treecreeper on 64 occasions. Essentially, an average of 1.31 Treecreeper per session when caught and 0.6 Treecreepers as a proportion of all ringing sessions.

You would expect that the Braydon Forest woodlands would produce a much better return. In the same timeframe that I have been regularly ringing at Lower Moor Farm, in my five woodland sites I have carried out 399 ringing sessions. The number of Treecreeper ringed is 141 in exactly 100 sessions. So, that’s 1.41 in woodland compared with the 1.31 on the edges of the old gravel pits that make up Lower Moor Farm. So far, so unsurprising. What is surprising though is that the average number ringed in the woodlands, as a proportion of all sessions, is only 0.35. Anyway, hopefully that is of interest to someone out there!

I was away from site just after 12:30. The last CES session of the year will be Saturday, 27th August.

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