Sunday, July 11, 2004

Ringing

Another CES ringing session at Ferry Meadows. Didn't take any photos this time - too busy! About 115 birds were trapped today - about 25 of those were retraps. I extracted about 20 birds again - the number only limited by my slowness...! But there's no point rushing - just keep going, learn the ropes: practice makes perfect.

It was looking like being a slow morning to start with; it was very overcast and the sun never came out. But the catch was boosted by 30 birds all flying into one net - mainly juvenile Great and Blue Tits, with the odd Sedge Warbler thrown in. Ringers love Blue and Great Tits... they take every opportunity to peck and nip you, which I suppose is only fair. It can virtually be guaranteed that we won't retrap any of them, but unless you try...

Apart from the juvenile Reed Buntings (scarce on the site, as far as ringing's concerned), the best bird was an adult male Sedge Warbler. Not very exciting, you might think, but this individual has been trapped at FM every year since 1997! It's an amazing feat of site fidelity, and just think how many hundreds of miles those wings have done...

Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers were notable by their relative absence, the same as last time. There were a few unringed adult Reed Warblers on the site - perhaps birds whose breeding attempt has failed during the past week's bad weather.

Incidentally, conditions underfoot were tough - about a foot of water in places, on top of the usual squelchy mud. I slipped over on my arse once, though the only thing hurt was my backside. Again, the growth of willow and other vegetation over the past two weeks was immense. Good job it was only about 18° C. The mosquitos weren't as active as usual, which was a blessing.

What's in my CD player: Nixon - Lambchop