Our last chance of the year to try for Water Pipits, the morning was much colder than expected with quite a lot of the moor covered in ice. Four nets, three panels deep, were put up and at first we feared a zero return for our efforts. There were no less than seven Water Pipits about the moor, but as usual they seemed very aware of our presence, paid no mind to the audio-lures and deftly avoided our nets. The record sheet had data on only two birds, both of interest in their own way, both wintering birds, a Dartford Warbler - the second that we've caught there this month despite the less than favourable look of the site and a Chiffchaff. This is the third Dartford Warbler caught there and the second this year, proving that sightings are not merely of an odd wintering bird.
On leaving the moor we spoke to a lady who regularly walks the moor (keeping an eye on the cattle herd when they are out to pasture) and found that a new pair of swans has taken up residence on the river. We had noted this pair ourselves and the male had mantled his wings and advanced towards us as we stood on the bank. This explained the dead swan that is caught in the trees trailing into the river by the bridge. We had thought this to be one of the cygnets that we'd ringed earlier in the year. Unfortunately it was impossible to see the darvic or fully read the metal ring. The cob had been seen to attack and drown the cygnet, while a second is apparently at the north end of the river nursing minor injuries. The original pen with one other cygnet has retreated to the stream that borders the east boundary of the moor.
Dartford Warbler - 1
Chiffchaff - 1