Sunday, 8 July 2012

Burning the candle at both ends....

Saturday 7th July is not a memorable date for me but it was the date that we decided we were going to start our autumn ringing at Titchfield Haven. We were not expecting to catch much, as the session was more about trimming net rides, setting nets and just making sure the electrics were working, nonetheless, we were there so we opened the nets. The overnight rain had passed and the strong winds died down so a 4 o'clock start was planned.

The wet weather this year has meant that the ringing area was flooded, to the point that I have never seen it before, well maybe once in mid November...but this is early July! This is not a major issue except for the fact that it meant that we could not set our nets to the ground, as we usually do for Grasshopper Warblers.

The session was slow and we began with a tailless Robin and a Blackbird, before catching our first Reed Warbler of the autumn. In total we caught four Reed Warblers, two adults and two juveniles and all local breeders. Apparently this species has had a terrible breeding season at the haven with numbers well down and nests failing, so it was good to see at least two young had fledged.

Adult Reed Warbler

Our next round produced two Song Thrush, a Blue Tit and the first of three Cetti's Warblers. All of the Cetti's were adults and were extremely tatty birds; they have not finished breeding yet and subsequently had not undergone their post breeding moult, and the female still had a very prominent brood patch.

Tatty Cetti's Warbler

Two Common Whitethroats and a Great Tit later we caught a few Chiffchaffs, these again were local breeders and extremely tatty and again have not undergone their post breeding moult and were still singing, so must be having another attempt at breeding.

Tatty Chiffchaff

It was a steady session with 20 birds captured and then the rain arrived, and did it rain! From 7 o'clock in the morning until just after 7 o'clock in the evening, 12 hours of torrential rain it was dreadful. 

Feeling like a caged lion after being confined to the house all day, I decided on a late evening visit to Botley Wood for a nocturnal ringing session. Everywhere was soaked, but at least the sodden grass would keep the ticks at bay, well hopefully.

Almost immediately on arrival at my chosen ringing site I heard a brief bust of a Nightjar, and so set a net and waited. Whilst waiting patiently a lone Woodcock was roding overhead and Song Thrush song filled the air. Once dark enough I began the session, a male nightjar performed really well, and flew around the net churring and wing clapping, but unfortunately managed to avoid going in it. So after the early start and the now late finish, it was time to call it a day, lets hope that the weather is better tomorrow.

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