Wednesday, 6 May 2015
Ringing on the Marsh 04/05/15
On the walk around to the field, there were Whitethroat & Sedge Warbler singing from everywhere, a group of breeding plumage Dunlin were fast asleep on the shore of the lake and a couple of Mute Swan took off and headed East towards Hayling. The tide was all the way out and the calls of Whimbrel could be heard from out on the mud.
We set the nets in the usual rides and before we had even guyed the poles a Sedge Warbler ploughed into the net! Things were looking good. Our main species for the Point field are Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Sedge Warbler & Whitethroat. All seemed to be in the field in reasonable numbers, although Mipits seem to peak in Autumn. After a couple of net rounds we had ringed a couple of Linnets, a resident male Cetti's and a female with brood patch... already beating the last sessions total.
Bird song is an area of my birding that requires improvement and seeing birds as they sing is useful for me to be able to visualize the species and associate it with the song/call. This year songs and calls have become my focus to get to grips with, although I realise it requires more than self taught and Xeno Canto recordings to nail it in the field.
Another nice surprise of the day was another re-trap Whitethroat, this time an adult female that I had personally rung the year before. It is staggering to think that she has been all the way down to Africa and back again, a feat most humans would fail to achieve under their own steam! She had a well developed brood patch so she was processed, photographed and released close to where she was found in order to return to her nest asap. She was a very good weight possibly pointing to the possibility of still carrying an egg. Its nice to see returning birds to the marsh, it means the habitat is still viable and hopefully this year they will have a good breeding season here after last seasons wet start.
The Marsh itself is looking great at the moment, the Gorse is just giving over to seed, the vegetation is all flourishing and there are birds literally everywhere. With the vegetation all growing up, some of the rides are overgrowing slightly within a week of us using them so needed some attention. A Stoat proved a distraction for a few moments when I saw it crossing the path in front of us in the distance. Stoats are a very rare occurrence on the reserve so nice to see other wildlife eking out a living as well as the birds!
The session continued with more Linnet, a male and a female trapped together. These were processed and released together as were evidently a pair, a retrap Sedge and a retrap Whitethroat, then a Mipit hit the net. A nice new bird for Duncans study of Meadow Pipits on the reserve. The bird was aged as a 4 meaning it hatched before the current calendar year but its exact age is unknown. Close attention was paid the greater coverts for contrast. After deliberation and processing the bird posed briefly for some photographs and was then released back onto the reserve.
As we were packing down all the kit and packing our bags to head home a Small Copper Butterfly dropped in below us. This is the first of this year for me and first on the reserve of the year too. Peacocks have been very evident the last two sessions so refreshing to see something a little different.
A cracking session and nice to have some migrants back!