Sunday, May 01, 2005

Ringing: Ferry Meadows CP

Angry Jay attempts to take a lump out of Daniel's hand!

What a start to the 2005 CES season! We'd arranged to meet at Ferry Meadows at 4am, allowing plenty of time to get the nets up. But at about 3.15am, an almighty thunderstorm kicked off.

It was, without doubt, the biggest, maddest, most intense I've ever encountered. The lightning was almost continuous and the rain torrential. I left the house in the dark at 3.45am and already there were Blackbirds, Robins, Wrens and Song Thrushes singing (woken up by the storm?).

Fortunately, I didn't have very far to drive, but by the time I got onto the parkway, I could barely see where I was going, even with windscreen-wipers on full power! As I drove down Ham Lane, there was a colossal bang just to my right as something got frazzled...

The storm was still going when Chris, Daniel and I met up. Though the rain did stop, the lightning continued, and Chris decided that it would be better if we all sat inside a car to have a chat, rather than going out to put the 14 nets up. Some of the poles are metal...

So, though we were slightly delayed, everything went pretty smoothly and we were ready to go within an hour. First bird for CES 2005 was a Blackcap. So far, so good. The most unexpected bird of the morning was a Jay! We see them flapping across the nature reserve quite often but I never thought we'd get one in a mist-net! The Jay was a big, angry, noisy bird (see pic above)!

We ended up with a total of around 70 birds, including good numbers of Sedge Warblers, three Garden Warblers (one a 'retrap' - a bird ringed here in a previous year), a few Reed Warblers, two Bullfinches, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Whitethroat, Robin, Wrens, Dunnocks, Reed Bunting and... three Kingfishers!

There was a Peterborough Bird Club guided dawn chorus walk and this male (see all-dark bill) elicited lots of 'ooohs' and 'aaaahs'...

A couple of the nets are set over bridges which cross dykes in the willow carr. Later on, we trapped this female, too (orangey bill).

And, late on, another male bird.

Will Bowell joined us this morning and he was able to take lots of nice photos. Click here to see and read all about it.

Thanks to Bob Titman for bringing us the bacon butties!

photos taken with Nikon Coolpix 995

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