Thursday 29 July 2021

Fifty Acre Piece - 29th July 2021

Another visit made circa a week after the last visit, just shows how much a difference a week can make. The last visit over sixty Black Darters were seen, today less than ten, Emerald Damselflies were over 125, today less than half that number were present, only two Scarce Bluetail Damselflies were found, and generally all other species were present in much lower numbers, apart from an increase in the number of Graylings present.

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Emerald Damselfly

Black Darter

Scarce Blue-tail Damselflies


Broadwater GP - 28th July 2021

It's been a while, but today we met up with M&M to ring at Broadwater. Restrictions for Covid19 were relaxed on July 19th, and we have all had two doses of the vaccine but it still seems prudent to distance as we have done previously during this pandemic. We had seven nets up and managed a joint total of 65 birds. There was a general feeling of quiet and we were not surprised that we did not repeat the '29 birds in one net on the first round' that we experienced on July 23rd.

We were mindful of a forecast of rain for the afternoon, so worked with one eye on the darkening clouds and were packed up and off site by 11:10am. The rain that started while we were driving home was quite heavy in short bursts and followed by some substantial downpours later in the afternoon. Caution was well warranted today.

Totals: 56 (9)

Wren - 1
Robin - 7 (1)
Dunnock - 2 (3)
Blackbird - 7 (1)
Song Thrush - 1
Garden Warbler - 3 (1)
Blackcap - 19 (1)
Chiffchaff - 14 (1)
Blue Tit - 1 (1)
Great Tit - 2 

Tuesday 27 July 2021

Wraysbury GP - 26th July 2021

 A cooler day combining migration ringing and some much needed strimming of the rides. Six singles were set up and a catch of 85 birds taken.

Leading species remains Blackcap with Whitethroat advancing to second place as Garden Warbler numbers have dropped right off. A four year old Garden Warbler, initially ringed in 2017 was probably the most interesting capture. On this site that seldom turns up species outside of the usual mix, two Reed Warbler and two Greenfinch added a little diversity.

We have a number of rides at this site, allowing us to cover more of the site for the Whitethroat RAS. Some tracks between rides are now completely overgrown with vegetation at shoulder height. Since many of the adult Whitethroats are no longer in the breeding areas, those rides will not be used for the rest of the year.

Adult Reed Warbler
Totals: 73 (12)

Robin - 1 (2)
Dunnock - 4 (1)
Blackbird - 5
Reed Warbler - 2
Whitethroat - 18 (5)
Garden Warbler - 2 (1)
Blackcap - 31 (1)
Chiffchaff - 4
Blue Tit - 2 (1)
Great Tit - 3 (1)

Sunday 25 July 2021

Hedgerley SP (Wapseys Wood infill site) - 23rd July 2021

 Another visit to see if any Southern Emeralds had emerged, again proved fruitless and numbers were generally low. Again Willow Emerald were emerging in small numbers and this time was also found on the incinerator pond, which also still had Small Red Damselflies emerging, with 70+ seen. A second brood Holly blue was seen.

Emperor Dragonfly

Common Darter

Ruddy Darter

Willow Emeralds

Black-tailed Skimmer

Small Red Damselfly

Holly Blue

Broadwater GP - 23th July 2021

This wasn't the best of starts as we arrived to find a padlocked gate before the bagging plant. So much for our early start. This gate had never been across in all the years that we've worked the site. It was too early to call the number on the gate so off we went for a drink from the cafe and on return the gate was being opened so only 30 minutes lost. That's another padlock number we need to find out and remember.

We put up four nets as there was a little tidying necessary in some rides and the weigh bridge net took a hit of just short of 30 birds before the fourth net had even been put up.  We knew that nets could potentially catch large numbers as birds were now in large feeding flocks. We caught steadily for the first four rounds, then as the temperature increased bird numbers dropped somewhat. The weigh bridge net came down just before 10am as the metal heats up more than soil in warm conditions. We were packed up and gone by 11:30am.

Juvenile Garden Warbler

Reed Warbler

3JP Blue Tit

Totals: 99 (2)

Wren - 1
Robin - 4
Dunnock - 3
Blackbird - 0 (1)
Cetti's Warbler - 1
Reed Warbler - 1
Whitethroat - 1
Garden Warbler - 7
Blackcap - 39
Chiffchaff - 22 (1)
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 14
Great Tit - 3
Jay - 1
Chaffinch - 1

Black Park and Stoke Common - 22nd July 2021

Following on from being told the Golden Ringed Dragonfly records from earlier this year and the one in 2018 were the first for Buckinghamshire we decided to check again and see if we could find them again and check suitable inbreed habitat. After checking the usual ponds we went to the main flowing water source through the park which feeds the main lake, and as soon as we walked a few few along found two Golden Ringed, male and female, and on a number of occasions the female was seen ovipositing in the stream. We later came across a third by a long wet ditch in the heath area. There was still a good emergence of Darters ongoing. 

Black-tailed Skimmer

Ruddy Darter

Emerald Damselfly

Common Darter

Broad-bodied Chaser

Golden Ringed Dragonfly

Butterflies mainly consisted of the usual common species, with only five Silver-washed Fritillaries seen and no White Admirals, and alas on Purple Emperors which are scarce here in any event. Purple Hairstreaks were seen on a few oaks in small numbers.

Specked Wood

Green-veined White

Purple Hairstreak

A check of Stoke Common again for any Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies proved negative and in the heat the flooded area of heath were virtually dried up and a lot of mosquitoes in the remaining damp areas. Willow Emeralds emergence had slowed with very few seen, and like Black Park, a few Darters were still emerging.

Willow Emerald

Ruddy Darters

Wraysbury GP - 21st July 2021

Ringing in this hot weather so reminds me of ringing when we've been abroad. Just like our times in Cyprus, Israel, Portugal and most recently Gambia to name but a few, an early start pays dividends since the birds all but dry up completely by 10:30ish. From our seven nets we captured some roaming flocks (obvious when all birds are on the same side of the net). Round times were stepped up more frequently than usual and to limit take down time in the heat, nets performing less well were taken down from 9:30am onwards. In weather such as this, that's the beauty of not doing a CES! Extra care was taken when handling the black, metal poles since these do get very hot. Equipment (pliers, weighing pots and rulers) were also kept covered to prevent them from becoming excessively hot. 

We do not have any natural shade on C6 and we have to use the very limited shadow thrown by the vehicle for the hottest days, but that does mean that we are acutely aware of how heat is affecting the site at all times. We have worked at sites where the heat and brightness comes as a bit of a shock when emerging from a cool, shady ringing base.

The numbers point towards migration starting to get underway, already the ratio of adult to young birds has dropped significantly.

Last birds ringed 10:50am. Off site 11:10am.

The war waged against the vetch has resulted in a host of thistles (at least three
and yellow flowers, including large quantities of Ragwort.Birds are now
able to feed across the open area yet still benefit from a lot of cover. The
vegetation is waist high in many areas of the site

Totals: 84 (12)

Robin - 2 (1)
Dunnock - 2 (1)
Blackbird - 1
Whitethroat - 16 (4)
Garden Warbler - 17
Blackcap - 31 (1)
Chiffchaff - 5
Long-tailed Tit - 1
Blue Tit - 8 (5)
Great Tit - 1

Wednesday 21 July 2021

Warren Heath, Fifty and Hundred Acre Piece and Paices Wood CP - 20th July 2021

Todays objective was Brilliant Emerald and to check an area in mid-Berkshire for Scarce Blue-tailed Damselfly.

First visit was to Warren Heath, with a single Brilliant Emerald seen, as usual very active, and a single Downy Emerald on the lower pond. A single Dark Green Fritillary was seen, which perhaps was unusual for the area.

Keeled Skimmer

Emerald Damselfly

Beautiful Demoiselle

Common Darter

Brilliant Emerald

Common Lizard

Dark Green Fritillary

A visit then to Fifty and Hundred Acre Piece. Hundred Acre Piece was a more mature coniferous woodland with two pools that were heavily surrounded by trees. A Golden Ringed Dragonfly was hunting along the path, the pools held a few common species, but Fifty Acre was a delight. An excavated area that had been landscaped with a series of three pools int he middle, interlinked with various channels across the site feeding into them. It is an open area at present but many trees have been planted which in years to come will make the open mature of the pools disappear. At least eleven Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies were seen. The number of Black Darters present was vey high in excess of 60, Emerald Damselfly easily exceeded 125, Keeled, Black-tailed Skimmers, Four-spotted Chasers, Blue-tailed,  Common Blue and Azure Damselflies, Common and Ruddy Darters and Emperor Dragonfly were seen, with the highlight of a Lesser Emperor, which was seen over one of the pools several times, then seemed to disappear, alas unphotographed. Graylings were present, and on the way back a Dark Green Fritillary was also seen.

Keeled Skimmer

Emerald Damselfly

Black Darters

Ruddy Darter

Common Darter

Scarce Blue-tailed Damselflies

Blue-tailed Damselfly

Golden Ringed Dragonfly


Dark Green Fritillary

Final and last visit was to Paices Wood, which oddly I had forgotten I had visited before, but was surprised to see along with some common species, in excess of 40+ White-legged Damselflies.

Red-eyed Damselfly

White-legged Damselflies