First CES and Bluebells
Monday, May 5th 2014
Today was the first CES (Constant Effort Site) ringing day for 2014 so the bird ringers arrived for 0530 and the nets were up for ten and a half hours. Birds processed included Great Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Jay, Bullfinch, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff. Most of the birds handled were males as the females are sitting on their nests. One of our bird ringers who rings on Salisbury Plain, reported nests with young Dunnock, Robin and Linnets. He had also ringed his first juvenile Long tailed Tits today.
It was a day for some older birds. Two four year old Coal Tits were retrapped. There was a Chaffinch which was hatched in 2009 and a Great Tit ringed as a chick in a nest box in June 2006. However, we thought the winner must be a Willow Warbler hatched at Foxglove in 2009, which has returned yet again. This tiny bird, weighing less than 10g, has made 10 migration flights to and from Africa.
The first Blackcap arrived in the ringing room. They have been heard around the reserve for the last week.
There were several 'firsts' over the last few days. A Cuckoo was heard calling yesterday and again early this morning. A Large Red Damselfly was seen on Friday. Yesterday, bird ringers out checking one of the new owl boxes with a lovely comfortable layer of sawdust in the bottom, had a surprise: a Robin had rearranged the sawdust in a corner and then built its nest on top inside the owl box!. As yet there are no eggs in the nest!
The bird ringers commented on the beautiful show of Bluebells as they were out on their net rounds.
Warm sunshine over the last week has encouraged the Bluebells to open their buds.
Spring flowers, like Bluebells must flower and set seed before the canopy thickens with leaves. You can see below that there are trees not yet in leaf, making this area into a sunny glade. Flowers are blooming and insects including bees and butterflies are making the most of the food the flowers provide.
Volunteers worked hard to complete the coppicing of the Hazel along Risedale Beck. The photograph belows shows two very old stools that have been coppiced several times over many years. Bluebells are covering the bank side.
Bluebells in close up.
Visitors to the ringing room, including children, were able to see birds close up and admire their markings and colours. Some of the children, under supervision, were able to release the birds. Something they are unlikely to forget.
As always on a ringing day, but more especially on a long CES day, the back up team are really appreciated. They provide tea, wash up, check bird bags and help to tidy up at the end of the day. Thank you to everyone who helped.