CES 10

Monday, August 13th 2012

It was mild, dry and very dark as the bird ringers set out to put up the nets at 0430.  Initially the reserve was quiet, with not a sound to be heard. Even the midges were not biting!  A Tawny Owl shouted, the Wood Pigeons cooed and then the Blackbirds woke up and joined in.  

It is amazing that the tiny juvenile Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs have nearly completed their moult and will set off soon for their long journey to Africa.  Many of them will return to Foxglove next spring.  The resident Blue Tits and Great Tits are still in juvenile plumage - they will probably remain on the reserve all winter.  No Garden Warblers were recorded today, they may already be on their way south.  After many weeks with very few adult or juvenile Bullfinches, several juveniles were noted, presumably they have come to the feeding stations from outside the reserve. Thirty new Bullfinches were ringed and 29 new Willow Warblers.

All the data collected from CES will go to the BTO, they will then be able to analyse the breeding success of both resident and migrant birds. A quick glance at the totals for the year shows we have ringed just over half of the total of new birds we normally process by this time of the year, retraps are about 35% down and over all we are running at about 60% of normal no doubt due to the fickle weather we have experienced.

The nets were taken down after ten and a half hours; 229 birds had been handled during that time.  Many thanks to the bird ringing volunteers who worked hard throughout the day and ensured that everything was checked and tidied before leaving.

The cloudy morning had eventually given way to sunshine and some insects appeared. The nectar of Angelica was providing a food source for this Hoverfly.

Hoverfly on Angelica

Some prefer the Knapweed. (Hardheads)

Hoberfly on Hardheads (Knapweed)

Of course not all insects like the flowers and the Cinnabar Moth caterpillar enjoys the leaves of Ragwort.

Cinnabar Moth caterpillar on Ragwort

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