Saturday, 12 May 2018

Wraysbury GP - 12 May 2018

We paid a visit to Wraysbury GP which we are monitoring different areas over the summer as part of a Whitethroat RAS, this being the fourth year.

We did manage two of the target species, both ringed, but only this year's re-traps. As expected at the start of breeding season it was fairly quiet and we managed thirteen birds, but surprisingly six were Garden Warblers, one a re-trap from September 2017.

Total : 9 (4)

Dunnock - 1
Robin - 0 (1)
Song Thrush - 1
Whitethroat - 0 (2)
Garden Warbler - 5 (1)
Blue Tit - 2

Italy 1 - 8 May 2018

We were in Rome on 1st and 2nd May, and found the City relatively green, especially in some of the historical areas. Yellow-legged Gulls used the Roman ruins as inland cliffs, Italian Sparrows were common place, even in City cafes, Monk and Ring-necked Parakeets were fairly common. Blackcaps, Short-toed Treecreepers and Serins frequented the City pines, and the roman ruins on the 2nd May also produced Sardinian Warbler and Tree Sparrow

Italian Sparrow 

Immature Yellow-legged Gull 

 Hooded Crow

Monk Parakeet

From the 3rd onwards we stayed 40 km NW of the City at Cerveteri near to Santa Severa where the UK medieval combat team where competition in the 2018 Battle of the Nations, which had 33 teams competing from all over the world, where individual fighters won Gold, Silver and Bronze, with the UK 21 team winning Bronze. If anyone fancies watching the UK team fights and some of the individual fights they can be found at:

Birdwatching was a bit limited during the four days of the competition, but on the morning of the 8th we paid a visit to one reserve at Palude di Torre Flavia. We did find out why there may not be too many birdwatchers in Italy as three other local reserves we visited were all closed, except on Sundays, so if your are keen, and have time there are not a lot of midweek access for birders.

Great Crested Grebe 


Knapweed Fritillary 

 Mazarine Blue

Curlew Sandpiper 

Little Egret 

Wood Sandpiper 

Black-winged Stilt

Black Park - 24 & 26 April 2018

This was primarily a walk, which on both occasions produced a Raven, which are present again this year in a suitable breeding area. Mandarin Ducks were also present, with four males and female on 24th and seven males and female on 26th, plus a Grey Wagtail on 26th. On both days a pair of Egyptian Geese were present, the male was ringed, and was found to have been originally ringed at Walton on 27/6/2011, 7 years previous, and these two days turned out to be the first re-sighting of the bird since 2011.

 Egyptian Goose - 1420735
Mandarin Duck - male

Monday, 23 April 2018

Wraysbury - 21st April 2018

A second big Wraysbury session covering both of the usual ringing areas. Our team of four put 11 nets up around the edge of the area blitzed to keep the vetch in check. We are beginning to see the return of docks in some places but the most resilliant plant seems to be the vetch.

Clearance work continued across the stream in preparation for the CES. There a Nightingale was glimpsed and Grasshopper Warbler heard, but catching was poor as was the result of our own efforts. Just 18 new and ten retrapped birds of 13 species. We got our first Garden Warbler and Lesser Whitethroat of 2018.

Garden Warbler

Lesser Whitethroat

Total: 18 (10)

Blackbird - 0 (1)
Songthrush - 2
Wren - 0 (1)
Dunnock -0 (3)
Lesser Whitethroat - 1
Whitethroat - 1 (1)
Garden Warbler - 2
Blackcap - 5 (1)
Willow Warbler - 1
Goldcrest - 1 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 2
Blue Tit - 2 (2)
Great Tit - 1

Sunday, 22 April 2018

Wraysbury - 19th April 2018

The day started with the alarm failing to ring, so we were 30 minutes behind before we'd even got up. The morning was also very bright, and warm. The warmest day of the year, so far, in fact. We new the target area to be particularly open, with no real options for setting nets in consistent shade so we didn't put many up. There was plenty of bird song. However, we didn't see very much flying around at all and we finished early with only five captures.

A pair of Treecreepers provided an interesting comparison between primary coverts of adult and second year birds.

Patterning of primary covert tips
on Treecreeper adult.

Teardrop markings on primary
coverts of Treecreeper aged 5

Totals: 3 (2)

Sedge Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 0 (1)
Chiffchaff - 0 (1)
Treecreeper - 2

Saturday, 21 April 2018

Stanwell Moor GP - 15th April 2018

Today we visited Stanwell Moor to check on the water level and put a few nets up. The water was so high that the usually dry run in the reedbed was also wet, leading to us being unable to deploy the net directly next to the lake. We got three other nets up but caught just two Chiffchaffs, from there for our efforts.

By the river it was rather blowier than we would have liked and only five other birds were caught. Sedge Warbler was probably our best bird with a Blackcap, two Long-tailed Tits one being a retrap and a Dunnock.

At least four Cetti's Warblers were singing, and a Yellow Wagtail flew over.

The Elder plants seem to be taking well, with only a few nibbled by Roe Deer.

Total: 5 (2)

Dunnock - 0 (1)
Sedge Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 1 (1)

Friday, 20 April 2018

Wraysbury GP & Staines Moor - 14th April 2018

Extensive coverage of Wraysbury today with two teams out covering both areas. C6 is still extremely barren after the wholesale application of weedkiller to reduce the vetch. The bramble is also affected and little is bouncing back, with the exception of the dreaded vetch in some areas.

We took C6 as it's the chief area for our Whitethroat RAS, although I suspect the radical land management will be a significant factor in our numbers. We put up 9 nets, hoping that birds could be caught moving around the bramble fringes.

We did better than we expected, 33 birds overall, with a decent number of re-trapped migrant warblers. D859624, a female Blackcap had not been recaptured since it was ringed as a 3J in 01/08/2014.

We also caught a single Whitethroat.

A single Little Egret was seen along with an Oystercatcher back on their usual small island on the sailing lake.

Whitethroat 5 female

Totals: 23 (10)

Dunnock - 4 (3)
Wren - 1 (1)
Blackbird - 1
Song Thrush - 1
Whitethroat - 1
Blackcap - 6 (5)
Chiffchaff - 1
Willow Warbler - 4
Bullfinch - 1
Blue Tit - 1 (1)
Great Tit - 2

After ringing we headed over for a walk on Staines Moor. There were quite a few birders around as a couple of Ring Ouzel had been seen, which was in itself not an issue, except some of them, a few had no patience and despite others being around wishing to see as well, went and stood on the 'butts' in the very area they had been seen and went around the back to flush them out of the bushes they were in so they could see them as the flew! Others who had stood in a sensible spot got to see them on the ground and even get some decent photos. We had a male fly over when flushed. The first Lesser Whitethroat of the summer in the UK was heard and four Wheatears, probably 'Greenland' were present also.