Saturday, 26 July 2014

Wraysbury GP - 26 July 2014

With neither of the regular trainers available for Wraysbury this weekend, we agreed to do a supplementary session on C6 (since we have insufficient kit to put nets up in all the usual places on C4, the usual CES site). Happily it was not a CES Saturday as there were only two takers, ESA & RMA (who were up for a second early start in a row). The site had recovered considerably since the ponies were confined behind a new fence and in addition to lots of brambles for warblers, there are also a lot of teasels and weedy plants that look good for finches later in the year.

A total of nine nets were erected, four doubles and a single, and we began to catch immediately. The birds kept us very busy up until 9am, then the catching rate reduced to a more sedate pace. Leading species was Whitethroat, 30 new and one retrapped bird with Blackcap a close second with 29 new and one retrap. Of particular interest were three Sedge Warblers, all adult birds. The low number of Chiffchaff was purely down to the chosen location of nets.

Adult Whitethroat in main moult.

5(to 2) 4(to 1) 3(to1) 1 (to1) 0 (to 5)

A Mink was seen on two separate ocassions by two different members of the team but posed no problems today. In excess of 100 birds were processed by 11am before we packed up, in advance of the hottest part of the day, and were off site by 11.40am.

Total: 104 (4) 

Robin -6 (1)
Dunnock -3
Blackbird - 3 (1)
Sedge Warbler - (3) 
Whitethroat - 30 (1)
Blackcap -29 (1)
Garden Warbler - 11
Chiffchaff - 5
Willow Warbler - 2
Blue Tit - 8
Great Tit - 1

Broadwater GP - 25 July 2014

We arrived for a 5.30am start with MRB, ESA, RMA and Margaret. The sky was overcast at first with cooler temperatures than we have been experiencing of late. We put up a triple, a double and four singles then waited to see what turned up. We were aware that we were not seeing many birds flitting between the buddleias but recent reports point to birds already on the move so who knows what might be about.

The first round only yielded seven birds, but catching picked up between 7am and 10am with reasonable numbers of Chiffchaff (including control HCV896) and Blackcap. Two Reed Warblers were rather less expected as was the first Grey Wagtail for the site.

3J Grey Wagtail



The first Willow Warbler of the year was one of the 10am birds.

Willow Warbler Age 3

Bird activity quietened down as the temperature rose and so we began to take down at 11am.
Other observations included nesting Little Egret, and Clouded Yellow and Painted Lady butterflies.

Total: 48 (8)

Grey Wagtail - 1
Wren -3
Robin -2
Dunnock -1
Blackbird - 0 (2)
Reed Warbler - 2
Blackcap -11 (1)
Garden Warbler - 1 
Chiffchaff - 10 (1)
Willow Warbler - 1
Chaffinch -3
Blue Tit - 8 (2)
Great Tit - 3 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (1)
Treecreeper -1

Stanwell Moor - 24 July 2014

This evening session was a bit breezy, especially the net across the lake, but we continued in hopes that the wind would decrease after the sun dropped below the horizon (as it sometimes does). As it turned out, apart from a couple of lulls, the wind kept blowing but that didn't stop us from getting eight Reed Warblers in the more sheltered reedy area, one of which was a control. We look forward to finding out where D533179 was originally ringed in due course.

There were also a few juvenile Swallows and a single Sand Martin, caught before a Hobby arrived and put off the flock from their pre-roost circuits.

 3JP Swallow

We caught our third young Cetti's Warbler of the season but the real surprise of the session was a juvenile Yellow Wagtail that came in to roost. Unfortunately the bird was not at all cooperative when it came to getting a photo in the failing light. A slightly blurred record shot is shown below.

 Juvenile Yellow Wagtail

Totals: 15 (1)

Sand Martin - 1
Swallow - 4
Yellow Wagtail - 1
Wren - 1
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 7 (1)

Homefield Wood - 24 July 2014

Another visit to see if any White-letter Hairstreaks were down, and I manged to find one that hang around for quite a while, taking short flights from area to area. Quite a few Silver-washed Fritillaries were still around and a number of newly emerged 2nd generation Common Blues were present.

White-letter Hairstreak




Common Blue

Small Tortoiseshell

Silver-washed Fritillary


Lavell's Lake - 24 July 2014

Today I went over to Lavell's Lake, Dinton Pastures CP to give TA a hand whilst D was at work. There was only three of us, and as the ringing session was being run as a CES and there were no tapes being played for migrant species. Despite this, we had a surprisingly high catch of 99 birds, the majority being Warblers, 74 in total, with obvious passage birds being 17 Sedge Warblers, 11 Garden Warblers, 4 Whitethroats, and undoubtedly some of the 13 Chiff-chaffs, also being migrants. A juvenile Kingfisher and two Bullfinches rounded the mornign off nicely.

Moult on adult Blackcap, with one odd old feather that had 
failed to fully grow at P8

Bullfinch - 3 juv

Kingfisher - 3

Total: 98 (1)


Kingfisher - 1
Wren - 1
Song Thrush - 2
Sedge Warbler - 17
Reed Warbler - 29
Whitethroat - 4
Garden Warbler - 11
Blackcap - 5
Chiffchaff  - 13
Great Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 1(1)
Long Tailed Tit - 7
Greenfinch - 4
Bullfinch - 2

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Chobham Common - 22 July 2014

Another glorious day with a forecast for low wind in the evening. We were joined by PW and set out to collect more data on of the Nightjars of Chobham Common.

It was a little breezier than we had hoped but we were still fortunate enough to catch a youngster, not long fledged, and the smallest bird that we've seen so far this year. Nightjars have a reflective layer within the eye to aid night vision, but we noted milkier appearance of the eyes of this individual as seen in photograph below.

 Nightjar 3F

 Pin showing very clearly on emergent flight feathers.

 Upper wing ( no larger buff patches on outermost primaries so indicative of female)

 Tail feathers- also consistent with female pattern.

Total: 1
Nightjar - 1

Alners Gorse and Hod Hill - 22 July 2014

I decided to make a repeat visit to Alners Gorse, mainly for Hairstreaks. Unfortunately no White-letters were seen, but then I do not look up in the canopy as they are not photographable that high up, unless trying to use a scope. Purple Hairstreak were coming down fairly frequently, and there was one very obliging Brown Hairstreak, plus another that spent time mid height in an Oak. Quite a few Silver-washed Fritillaries were still active, other than that only the usual common butterflies were seen, apart from two Holly Blues.


 Holly Blue

Purple Hairstreak



Brown Hairstreak

Hod Hill was visited on the way back and was quite disappointing with only a brief view of one Chalkhill Blue, with no Adonis Blue, Grayling or Wall seen.

 Marbled White

 Brown Argus

 Meadow Brown

 Red Admiral