Monday, 10 July 2017

Stanwell Moor GP - 6th July 2017

The first evening visit here this year as it may now be possible to induce hirundines to roost as long as the Heathrow runways were in operation from the direction so as not to completely drown out the calls.

On arrival, with LON, we put the 18m on the spoil heaps track, put up four nets in the reed bed and tried one other net by a large puddle where Stock Dove had been as we arrived. The first net was already catching on the first check after the last net was up, bringing three Whitethroat to our total. A Hobby went through at around 20:00 but there was nothing much about to keep it on site.
We had a few Reed Warbler from the reed bed with a smattering of other species, including a first Greenfinch for LON. It was looking as though she'd picked a much better evening (not hard when total evening birds amounted to 0 yesterday with WA).

3JM Greenfinch

We followed our usual routine, gradually taking down until just the lake side reed bed nets were left. The net by the puddle caught precisely nothing and all I (Denise) got for my trouble, a bee sting on the thumb, my own fault really as it stung me through the bird bag that I was using to try to extract it unharmed, since the bees seem to be having such a hard time of it now.

 So, just three nets remained for our attempt at Sand Martins and Swallows. It's always a debate as to when to play the recordings, start too early and you need to hold their attention for quite a while, the benefit being that the flock can attract other birds - good if they're hirundines but not so good if a Hobby throws itself into the mix, but flocks sometimes drift off elsewhere before dusk anyway. Start too late and a lot of birds may have passed by with nothing much left to draw in. We opted for 20:30hrs and there was soon a loose bunch of twelve or so birds making circuits of the lake.

The flock was drawn to the lure and finally went into the reeds around the nets at around 21:30hrs. We caught three of them - we're always grateful no matter how few as airport operations so often conspire against us. Starlings were also seen coming into the nearby willows - if this is to be their chosen roost area this year, we'll be able to use the usual nets to try for them too.

So LON got Greenfinch and Swallow as new species this evening, although the real purpose had been to get back into extractions after few extracting opportunities while Chris and I were out of the country. The time had been well spent though with a weekend supporting MR's Pied Flycatcher work and a couple of days on PW's Barn Owl project. Thank you gentlemen for giving our trainees a chance to see ringing applied using a very different approach to that used by us.

Totals:  21 (1)

Swallow - 3
Dunnock - 1
Robin - 1
Whitethroat - 4
Reed Warbler - 5
Blackcap - 1
Chiffchaff - 2
Long-tailed Tit - 2
Great Tit - 1 (1)
Greenfinch - 1