Friday, 19 July 2013

Chobham Common - 17 July 2013

This site has been worked by Runnymede Ringing Group for some years but there is much of the common that hasn't been covered. CL and DKL proposed to try an alternative area while the main group returned to a well known location. While scouting for clear areas sufficient to site two or three double configuration nets, a Nightjar flushed from very close by, revealing a nest with two warm eggs. We also found a Tufted Duck nesting close to a drainage ditch - her nest contained eight eggs. Yet more evidence of late breeding this year.

A total of six nets were put up, with at least three Dartfords calling and singing from the surrounding area. A female was also seen just off the path. The male was caught very quickly, in the time it takes to return to out temporay base after setting a net and turn round. One beautifully marked male, head down in the second shelf.

4M Dartford Warbler

Some fifteen minutes later at five to nine, Chris checked another net and returned with an adult female. This was a different bird to the one seen earlier being caught some distance away.

4F Dartford Warbler with BP4

As the darkness drew in, the sound of distant churring started earlier than we expected. It wasn't long before a single bird flew in the direction of our nets, passing right over them. By this point we had begun to play the audio lure. The bird drifted off but we  continued to hear calls from up to three different directions with ocassional wing clapping as it became properly dark. A single bird drifted through a few times before it became too dark to see without head lamps. An adult female was captured and processed at 22.20hrs.

 View of the wing

 View of tail

 4F Nightjar with BP5

Once processing was completed we made a final net check, and finding no further captures began to pack up. Audio lures may not be played for lengthy periods and after the initial evidence around and just after dusk, birds could no longer be heard in the distance and there had be no indications of activity in the immediate vicinity. We were off site and on our way home by 23.30hrs.

The main team caught a Blackbird before it got dark but did not catch any Nightjar, despite keeping nets open a little longer than us.

Totals - 3

Nightjar - 1
Dartford Warbler - 2