Sunday, 11 September 2011

Titchfield Haven Bird Ringing - Early September Update

Well, after a record breaking month for some species during August, we were anticipating the continuation of large numbers of birds during September....and then.......the rain and wind arrived!!! Despite the onset of strong winds and heavy rain, to date we have still managed five morning sessions and one evening session, and amassed a total of 495 birds of 17 species. As expected, Blackcap numbers increased with a healthy 100 new birds captured, 40 on 1st was the peak day, which coincidentally was the peak day for Grasshopper Warblers also, with 40 new birds also. Subsequently, however the numbers of birds moving has dropped off considerably, Blackcaps have struggled to a peak of 22 on 4th, whilst Sedge and Reed Warblers only managed peaks of 23 and 24, respectively, with the monthly totals equaling 61 and 55, respectively.

Juvenile Blackcap Head

I mentioned in the end of August update, that we had caught our first Lesser Whitethroat of the year in the beginning of September, well we only had to wait until 4th September to catch our second. Whitethroat numbers have also continued to build, with 22 new birds captured during September to date,  142 in total for the year,  an excellent, and record, annual total for the site. Garden Warbler numbers began to tail off, with only seven new birds captured during September to date, but a record 82 for the year, and Willow Warbler numbers also tailed off as expected, with only five new birds captured during September so far, and a total for the year of 122.

Juvenile Lesser Whitethroat

The Grasshopper Warbler has proven to be the second most numerous species captured during September and the year to date, with 96 new birds captured during September, and an amazing total of 867 for the year. Greedily, we were hoping to reach the magic 1000 new birds for the year, but given the appalling weather during the early part of September, that is now looking unlikely!!!!

Juvenile Barn Swallow

Our evening ringing session was carried out on 2nd September, it was a glorious evening, no wind, clear skies and an amazing sunset, and so at short notice, we opted to have a go at capturing the hirundines roosting within the reedbed, and it was worth the effort!!! In total we captured 98 new birds, 84 Barn Swallows, 12 Sand Martins, a Yellow Wagtail and the first of the aforementioned Lesser Whitethroats. 

Daubenton's Bat

During our ringing activities, we regularly catch bats in our mist nets, with a majority of those captured being bats of the pipistrelle species Pipistrellus sp. Being the experienced, and licenced bat worker it is usually my responsibility to extract them, so on 3rd September, when we caught a Daubenton's bat, it was left to me to extract it. This species has been known to carry rabies so I took particular care whilst extracting it to ensure I was not bitten!!

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