Saturday, 2 June 2012

Une surprise française!

Last night me and Moxey headed out to check a few nest boxes, picking Chris up along the way via a brief stop at Gorse Hill NR. First stop was to check on a Kestrel nest, as I put my hand into the box I felt something sharp digging into my hand...ending up with the female Kestrel being ringed and a brood of five to come back to. A good start. We headed on to check a Buzzards nest, this involved me heading up to the full extent of the ladder and then wriggling a little higher, poking my head through the canopy to reveal eggs - another to come back to. A couple of quick stops on the way home for a brood of Blue Tit and three Blackbird pulli.

Kestrel -   1
Blackbird -   3
Blue Tit -   8


With only three and a half hours sleep, I headed off to Hightown this morning to have a session in the willow carr by the railway. Arriving just before 4am, it didn't take me too long to get everything set up and I didn't really stop after that. The first net round brought a handful of Blackcap, a pair of Whitethroat and a couple of 3J Robins as well as a 3J Blackbird - pretty standard stuff. The first Blackcap was a retrap of mine from Brook Vale, ringed by Charlie on 2nd September 2011 and indicating the importance of Rimrose Valley for these birds before they start to head south.

The second net round produced the bird of the day, in the form of a French-ringed Sedge Warbler. I've caught quite a lot of foreign ringed birds before now, plenty of French, Belgian, Dutch, Spanish and BTO birds, but they've all been in Portugal during the return migration. This French-ringed Sedge Warbler is the first foreign control that I have caught in the UK - pretty exciting. It's not the first time that a foreign-ringed schoenobaenus has been caught in this dune system however, Ian has had some in the past.

 MUSEUM PARIS - 6485365

Following the excitement of the Sedge, it was upto three Grasshopper Warblers, a bird we don't catch many of, to raise the standard of the day once more, in time for Moxey's arrival. This image of the undertail of the Grasshopper Warbler shows one of the distinguishing characteristics of the Locustella warblers - the length of the undertail coverts exceed the length of the shortest tail feather.

The undertail of Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia)

Grasshopper Warbler (Locustella naevia

By 9:30 am, the wind had started to get up and we decided to call it a morning. Overall, it was a really positive session with a good return of warblers, all of which were adult birds. It would seem that we are yet to have any broods fledge but this should change within the next week or so.

Wren -   (1)
Willow Warbler -   4   (1)
Chiffchaff -   (2)
Robin -   3
Blackcap -   7   (1)
Whitethroat -   6
Sedge Warbler -   3   (1)
Blue Tit -   2
Great Tit -   2
Grasshopper Warbler -   3
Chaffinch -  1
Dunnock -   2
Blackbird -   1

TOTAL:   34   (4)

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