A trip out to Oxforsdshire for Brown Hairstreak was met with mixed fortunes as none were found at Piddington Wood or Bernwood Meadow, but fortunately five were seen at White Cross Green Wood including one on my return visit in the afternoon that was flushed from the path that allowed a number of photographs to be taken. Also a late Large Skipper and Silver-washed Fritllary were seen at the same wood. Most butterflies were looking warn apart from one or two fresh looking Common Blues.
We arrrived late on Thursday night for three days at Icklesham, which were fortunately three decent weather days for ringing. Birds numbers were pretty good, averaging with the roost catches, around a thousand birds a day. Main speices were Sedge and Reed Warblers, Whitethroat and Blackcap, with 49 (Friday) and 43 (Sunday) Grasshopper Warblers. During the three days period other species caught included Tree Pipit (24), Nightingale (1), Whinchat (6), Wheatear (1), Redstart (9) and Spotted Flycathcer (2). The Hirundine roost failed to form on Friday night and as we left early afternoon on Sunday so did not get chance to do that evenings roost.
Whincat - 3
Redstart - 4 male
Reed Warbler - 3 luecistic
Wheatear - 3
Tree Pipit - 3
Sparrowhawk - 3 female
Spotted Flycatcher - 3
Pied Wagtail - 3
Yellow Wagtail -3 male
Catch totals for us during the three days were as follows:
Another evening roost visit was met by the start of rain which was moderately heavy and therefore we started with uncertain whether to carry on our not plus being the habitat it is everyone got soaked through just going through the vegetation. In nay event the rain cleared, a few more birds around than Tuesday plus again a few Hirundines at dusk gave us a slightly higher catch of 24 new birds and 3 retraps.
Another visit by the group to monitor the passage of Sylvia warblers through the site. With recent catches at Stanwell I did not expect much to be present, but this site even on a poor day always seems to have plenty of new Sylvia Warblers present, and produces relative few re-traps, clearly indicating a constant movement through the site. Despite the large number of Sylvia Warblers going through, being on the west side of London it is not a good for birds such as chats or flycatchers with few Whinchat, Redstart, Spotted or Pied Flycatchers seen with any regularity. The start was slow, picking up about 8 and dropping off rapidly around 10, with a single Whinchat being the surprise of the day, with a total of 116 new birds and 24 retraps.
Another evening visit primarily in hope of a Hirundine roost with the nights now noticeable drawing in. A slow evening with a moderate catch of 21 birds in total with 50% of these being Hirundines, making other species present quite low, but our third Kingfisher of the autumn was nice.
A call for some help at Bedfont CES saw us turning up on Sunday as well to give a hand. It was a slow day, with not much really being caught despite an obvious presence of as large Tit flock and Blackcaps and Chiff-chaffs. There was also still a presence of Reed warblers in th3e reeds but few turned up in the nets to track their route south.
A team session at Wraysbury (no CES) utilising the south side aiming for Sylvia migrants was relatively successful with nearly 200 new birds being caught. The threatened rain was their on route and by the time everyone was on site had stopped, but it did not look good, but despite this we set up and fortunately it actually cleared, and by mid day was getting quite warm. The start due to the dampness was slow with the best catches coming mid morning.
Another spur of the moment evening visits was a little disappointing, with only 11 birds caught, with nine Reed Warblers and two Starlings. No roost. Often it is impossible to get a roost formed when the winds are blowing from the SW direction and the south runway at Heathrow is being used for takes off as the planes fly low over the site and the noise probably caused too much distraction and also blocks out the sound system.
A quick run out to Aston Rowant NNR in an effort to catch up with a few Chalkhill Blues and Silver-spotted Skippers was successful in less than ideal conditions due to strong wind blowing onto the hill face and the fact that most Chalkhill Blues were looking a little tired and tatty.
In a momnet5 of over keenness, Denise and I went to our Stanwell site in the evening after the am session at Wraysbury. It turned out quite worth while with a reasonable Hirundine catch for this site consisting f a single Sand Martin and over ten Swallows. The Starling roost was extremely unsettled having one or two visits from a Sparrowhawk, with birds flying in and out of the roost frequently but fortunately only a few were caught. Total for the night was 28.
We had several takers for the midweek session so it was decided that we’d give Wraysbury a go, in the knowledge that we may have to pack in early should the wind prove problematic. As it turned out it was breezy but not too breezy and the nets deployed over the area next to the CES produced reasonable numbers of birds. Around 100 new birds were ringed (112 in total with 15 retraps), including mainly Blackcap and Whitethroat. We also caught a few Willow Warbler, Chiff-chaff and single Lesser Whitethroat, Linnet and Magpie, both nothing out of the ordinary was caught or seen.
Today was also start of the hunting season! All quiet on the hunting front - France has 63 species on the hunting list. Todays catch totalled 151 consisting of a single Aquatic Warbler, rung by the French ringer in charge, plus a Marsh Warbler which Denise did as she had removed it out of the bag and picked up the identification during processing. Other species were a single Blue-headed Wagtail, seventeen Bluethroats, three Cetti's Warblers, two Savi's Warblers, 90 Sedge Warblers, 24 Reed Warblers, seven Bearded Tits and five Reed Bunting. Plus another controlled UK Sedge Warbler L174244. The other site had three Aquatic Warblers.
Again another 5.15am start as the nets are being taken down and put up everyday was greeted by heavy rain, but Pascal being the ever optimist saw us heading off to the site which turned out despite a brief period under canvass to be a good call as after a short while the rain front moved through. Again a fairly quite day, which cnsidering the overnight weather was not surpising as it was not good for migration. The days ctach was 129 which again mainly consisted of Reed (34) and Sedge (75) Warblers, together with a single Blue-headed Wagtail, three Bluethroats, a single Cettis' Warbler, five Savi's Warblers, the first two Willow Warblers, six Bearded Tits and two Reed Bunting. We had another Uk controlled Sedge Warbler, Y166865. A Honey Buzzard flew over the site. The other team had 94 birds with nothing of note other than a UK controlled Reed Warbler L273778.
Savi's Warbler - juvenile
Bearded Tit - adult (below showing short P1, diagnostic
of an adult prior to full juvenile PJ and adult moults)
Had a 5.15am start as we are now erecting nets daily and wore chest waders after seeing the water valves being opened on the channel following at the end of yesterdays high tide, but only one ride on the estuary side was under water and the pool remained bone dry. The day was interrupted when the heavens opened up around 9.15 and we headed back to the gite. On our way back there was a Wild Boar roaming in and out of the reeds onto the path. The day's catch was down to 47, with two Blue-headed Wagtails, seven Bluethroats, single Grasshopper Warbler, fourteen Sedge and twelve Reed Warblers, five Bearded Tits and six Reed Buntings. We had one UK controlled Sedge Warbler Y002080. The other team managed 55 with their first juvenile Aquatic Warbler.
Bearded Tit - female juvenile (above shows the long P1 that is an
identifying feature of a 3J prior to PJ full moult.
Blue-headed Wagtail - adult (below showing wing in moult)