A round up of our bird ringing activities (all birds ringed under licence from the British Trust for Ornithology with schedule one authority where appropriate), birding trips and other wildlife sorties within the UK and whenever we get chance, elsewhere.
Another solo evening session and we were fortunate for the first time in a while that the Hirundine roost formed, which for a small reed bed/willow carr area was a decent catch, not up to the roosts that you can get in a decent sized reedbed, but good enough considering no one is doing one anywhere else within the area. Reasonable evening, with in just over 3+ hours 64 birds, including a controlled Chiff-chaff DTJ285 and a Whitethroat X763165 from the groups nearby site at Wraysbury rung on 2/8/2009.
One of our usual evening session, just D and myself. Sand martins turned up about 9 but none roosted. There are more Starlings present this year and we are beginning to wonder are they putting off the Sand Martins? Just over 3 hours produced 42 birds. Two Kingfishers that had been chasing each other around the lake were caught, with one whilst it was lying on the scales being weighed hearded a thrid one and flipped it's self over and flow off.
An out of CES ringing session at Wraysbury specifically targeting migrants saw five of us turn up. Nets were set on the south side of the site around various known hot spots for feeding flocks concentrating on clumps of bramble. Three pairs of 60 ft and two single 40ft nets were set up which caught well giving us a fairly active morning with 200 birds caught.
Another visit to try and collect a few more White-letter Hairstreak photos. Pleasant mornings walk with just one being seen along with a good variety of butterflies including 8 Silver-washed Fritillaries, two Holly Blues and five Brown Argus.
Today we joined Dave, Eleanor et al at one of our other group sites for their CES session and to check the island and tern rafts to do any outstanding chicks there may be. Most of the young had fledged and only two Common Tern chicks remained along with four Black-headed Gull chicks. Three Tufted nests were found on the Island but the adults slid off upon our arrival.
Hide with Tern nesting area on the roof
One of the CES rides
3 J Blackcap and tail fault bars
Black-headed Gull chicks
Common Tern chicks
Black-headed Gull - 4
Common Tern -2
Great Spotted Woodpecker - 0 (1)
Dunnock - 4
Robin - 4
Blackbird - 0 (1)
Reed Warbler - 16 (9)
Garden Warbler - 1
Blackcap - 4
Chiff-chaff - 6 (1)
Willow Warbler - 2
Long-tailed Tit 0 (3)
Blue Tit - 3 (3)
Great Tit -1
The 23rd was a CES session but we joined the group to do some areas on the south side of this site with a view to enhancing the days catch with some non CES birds. The south side is an open area with large bramble patches and some 20 foot scattered tree growth, some in small clumps/copses which look good for Redstarts or Flycatchers, but the West side of London is nto a hot spot for them in the migration period unfortunately. Watching birds in this area every autumn it is obvious there are large feeding flocks moving around consisting mainly of Sylvia Warblers and Chiffs. We set two double 60s around one area of shrubs/brambles and other in a small copse area, a total of only 240 ft of net. The CES consists of about 1000 feet of nets, plus another 160 non CES nets. The days total came to 151 of which 63 were in the CES area and the majority of the rest came from out 4 60s which gave a fairly decent ft/bird catch rate.
In the afternoon a short garden session was had with all the usual run of Blue and Great Tits, with a few re-traps and the odd single Chaffinch and Greenfinch, plus a bird needing some gardening gloves. Whilst some will say it is being a little woosy, I have no desire to have a strong bill digging into my hand and leaving a deep pain cut, so after hold it in the netting and send my son to get the gardening gloves the Ring-necked Parakeet was extracted. First one for some time.
A visit in the hope of catching up with some White-letter Hairstreaks, which at this time of year often come down to nectar on the many flowers that are alongside the rides. Nine Silver-washed Fritillaries were seen, a Holly Blue, a couple of Brown Argus and two White-letter Hairstreaks.
Tonight's visit with Eleanor was a bit of a gamble, would it rain all night? Thankfully not, but the site was very wet and though not overly busy, a run of Starlings at the end of the night made the evening interesting and worth while. We also managed two 3J Reed Warblers and two of the adults had fat of 3 suggesting either the birds on the move or fattening up to move on. Total birds in the catch was 22:
We did a quick visit on our own fairly late in the evening simply to see if anything roosted. The weather was rather overcast which we hoped might have caused some Hirundines to be low over the site - there were none. A few Sand Martins, about six came over and disappeared. The site was suffering from the effects of the heavy rain we had with the ride becoming muddy and many of the vegetation having become pushed down over the open ride area making some maintenance necessary for the next visit. We only caught seven birds but we were only on site for just over an hour and a half.
Another evening visit with us being joined by Gavin, Sam and Tim. The evening started slowly and it looked like it was be a quite night but from the Starling roost we managed to catch seven and 14 Sand Martins came into the roost. One, L606572 had been rung previously at the site on 6th June and has therefore been in the area for about five weeks. The totals for the night came to 35, but worryingly the number of young Reed Warblers is not showing any sign of improvement:
In between periods of overcast weather that seems to be the norm, as it was fairly bright and sunny a quick visit to a few local potential White-letter Hairstreak sites failed to materialised the sought after species. if the weather still like this, potentially as this is species that is not often stumbled across lower down, I might fail to get to photograph any this year, though the odd one has probably been seen higher up on the odd occasion, but with camera in hand it has not been possible to confirm the ID 100%.
A visit out primarily to try and get a few more Dark Green Fritillary photos, first of all calling at Aston Rowant (north side) where I managed to see at least four but none would settle and it became obvious it was a lost cause. Five male Chalkhill Blues were also seen.
Brimstone - male
Stopping off at Bradenham on the way back, again a couple were seen, but bumping into a couple of people doing the transect I found out that their strong hold was the next field adjacent to the wood and found it to contain at least 14, if not more Dark Green Fritillaries which were easy to photograph. Three newly emerged Small Blues were also seen.
Again this sites habit of seeming more windy than elsewhere made the idea of this evenings session seem perhaps unwise. The site situated between two large West London reservoirs often seems to have its own little micro climate and certainly any breeze is funnelled between the two reservoirs. In any event we persevered and had a small catch and were rewarded with the third 3J Cetti's Warbler of the autumn. As we pushed the net up two Little Ringed Plovers flew in under the net onto the small area of mud in the middle of the net ride. The net was lowered again, but after a wait they flew off again, so we started to put the net away. One flew into it! The good thing was that it was a juvenile with a ring - one of the three done on 21st June confirming successful fledging! Only 13 birds were caught:
Another visit for Purple Emperor was again unsuccessful but 10 Silver-washed Fritillaries were seen, along with four tatty White Admirals and a number of Purple Hairstreaks were coming down to bramble. A visit to Rushbed Woods afterwards were two Purple Emperors came down, a male and female but neither alighted. Eight Silver-washed Fritillaries were seen including one valesina. On route home a quick visit to Ivinghoe Beacon where six Dark Green Fritillaries were seen, along with three male Chalkhill Blues and a Brown Argus.